JayPoc
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Trellis material

The last couple of years, I've had wonderful, free trellises at my disposal. When we bought our current place, the windows and french doors all had either wooden or wood grained plastic inserts that simulated "panes" on an otherwise full sized window. We much preferred the look with no panes, so we threw those grids in the shed. Turns out, they make fantastic trellises. The long one from the french door was perfect rigged into an "A" frame between my two cherry tomatoes in containers. The others used either vertically or horizontally were perfect for peas, cukes, etc. Anyway, most of that stuff had begun to degrade by the end of last season, so I need some new trellises. I haven't been able to find the same type of material either on line or in stores, and my guess is that they probably wouldn't be cost effective anyway.

So where do I turn. I'm looking for sturdy, CHEAP, trellises. I'm a big fan of re-purposing other materials, especially when I can do it on the cheap.

Advise?

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jal_ut
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What I do here is go up along the river and cut willow shoots. These are about 6 feet long and big around as my finger. Then I can push some in the ground and tie on others and build whatever I need. For climbing beans a simple tee pee works nice.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

imafan26
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Pallets are often thrown out by business afterwards. They can be rebuilt and used for compost bin sides, fences, or trellises.

The willow sticks are a good idea. Use whatever is available. I use bamboo. I drive 4 ft rebar into the ground for support and drive the bamboo over the rebar. I lash a horizontal bamboo pole accross the top to keep the poles straight. I can create a trellis by stringing nylon strings or fish net between the poles. I have also created a lattice by driving additional bamboo poles about 2 ft apart between the outer poles and lashing bamboo horizontally. It is a very strong trellis and lasts for years.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

SOB
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I am trying an old wood ladder for the firs time this year...

Though not exactly cheap (not real expensive either) I like the PVC pipe and chicken wire trellis I made for my cukes.

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applestar
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I'm back to wanting to grow some bamboo....
(DH is adamantly against it -- he's seen too many overgrown bamboo that started out as "just a little bit -- I can keep it within bounds!" He says he won't have anything to do with it, and he doesn't think I can manage it on my own. :oops: )

Dillbert
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he has a point.

vacant lot near here - probably 3/4 acre - solid bamboo. falling down around the edges.... it's a weird sight - snowplow trundling down the road with bamboo canes sticking out at odd angles...

I think there was a house there, the bamboo ate the house I suppose.....

imafan26
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Bamboo is invasive for sure. Giant bamboos tend to be clumpers and miniature bamboos are runners. It is still a very good and strong building material and definitely renewable.

I use bamboo because it is relatively easy to get. I would not grow it in the ground. They do have root barriers for bamboo which will contain them for awhile, but they break out of that eventually. They are almost impossible to dig up and you would have to keep cutting off the shoots.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

veggiedan
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I'll second the PVC and chicken wire. If you want to do it right, use schedule 120, and I guess you could trellis pumpkins! Not free, but not hugely expensive. A trellis made out of PVC will pretty much last forever, including the section that you bury in the ground. PVC is easily drillable for anchoring stuff, though it threads very nicely and securely through chicken wire. Right angle joints make assembly a snap. I just leave them in place and turn the soil around them. No trouble if the shovel blade hits the posts.

In fact, if you want to use schedule 40, you can put some rebar inside of it to make it less bendable.

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Royiah
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I use chain link fencing and metal poles with concrete. (Was lucky enough to have 4 poles and a roll at my house. So I didn't have to buy it!) Its really sturdy and works really well with cucumbers and beans. Haven't tried anything else with it though. I just set it up like a fence along my bed except the fence is about a foot above the bed for access into the bed.

FriedGreenTomatoes
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There is a dollar store near me that sells bundles of bamboo poles. I think there is about ten per bundle which is a deal! Maybe check into that.

I recently built a trellis for my cups out of an old baby gate. The bar that holds it tight snapped in half.( It was a wooden gate) I cleaned up the ends of it so it sits flush, and used the broken bar to hold them together. I did have to add an extra board for support, but I thought it was a success!
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mattie g
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applestar wrote:I'm back to wanting to grow some bamboo....
(DH is adamantly against it -- he's seen too many overgrown bamboo that started out as "just a little bit -- I can keep it within bounds!" He says he won't have anything to do with it, and he doesn't think I can manage it on my own. :oops: )
There are a few bamboo clumps in my area, one of which is about 1/2 mile away near a creek that runs through the neighborhood on public property. The last two springs I've taken some shears and cut down a load of 10' bamboo "poles" to use as tomato stakes. I think a lot of other people do the same because each year I've been noticing a little more bamboo being cut from that area. I also see some of the local East Asian immigrants picking the shoots here and there. Of course it grows back really quickly and strongly, so it's a great natural, renewable resource.

My only concern is making sure to cut the bamboo high enough up the stalk so as not to turn the stumps into punji sticks!

The only trouble I have with using the bamboo is that by the end of the season the stakes start to bend under the weight of my tomatoes and cracking from the raining/drying out process over the course of the summer. Otherwise, it’s great because free and really effective.

FriedGreenTomatoes
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I wonder if you cured the bamboo if it would last longer? Slow roast over a fire maybe....
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imafan26
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One way to cure bamboo is to soak it in salt water and dry cure it. It actually lasts a long time if the post hole borers can be kept out. The borers will turn bamboo to dust. I use the 3 inch or larger culms for posts, they are thicker and last longer.

Smoking or boiling bamboo is another way to cure it.

The natural color will fade over time, but curing will minimize the cracking. Bamboo shrinks as it dries.

https://www.ehow.com/how_4812295_cure-bamboo.html
https://www.chalet-bamboo.com/treatment.html
Last edited by imafan26 on Thu Mar 28, 2013 4:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

gumbo2176
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Like jal-ut, I once used willow branches cut from trees along the Mississippi River. They work fine, are easy to attain, but don't last more than a year or so. In my climate I can plant pole beans, cucumbers, etc. twice a year.

They do give the garden a bit of a rustic look but several years ago I decided to make something more permanent. I built two trellises, one 24 ft. long and one 12 ft. long with both being just over 6 ft. tall.

I used treated 2x4's for all the framework and covered it with heavy duty hog wire with openings about 3x5 inches. The larger openings offer lots of places for vines to climb on and make it a bit easier to remove the vines at the end of the season as opposed to chain link fencing or chicken wire.

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tomf
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When it comes to what to use, I say use what is available. If you want a long lasting reusable one then the PVC pipe will work, get it a little thicker than thiner as it warps.
I mostly use brushy little trees that I thin out of areas I am cleaning up.

imafan26
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PVC pipe works for light trellises. I used tent poles and fittings to make a trellis. the 1/2 tubing bent from the weight of the squash vines.

Next regular fence posts were used instead of the tent posts and conduit was used to form the roof with CRW used as a covering between the conduit on the roof. The tent trellis is permanent over the garden bed.

The cost was minimal considering the tent has been around over 15 years now.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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tomf
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!/2 inch pvc is not strong, try 3/4 or 1 inch.

mattie g
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imafan26 wrote:One way to cure bamboo is to soak it in salt water and dry cure it. It actually lasts a long time if the post hole borers can be kept out. The borers will turn bamboo to dust. I use the 3 inch or larger culms for posts, they are thicker and last longer.

Smoking or boiling bamboo is another way to cure it.

The natural color will fade over time, but curing will minimize the cracking. Bamboo shrinks as it dries.

https://www.ehow.com/how_4812295_cure-bamboo.html
https://www.chalet-bamboo.com/treatment.html
Interesting - thanks for the low-down!

I suppose if I want to keep the bamboo for a long time I could go this route, but with a fairly small garden it's not too hard to go cut some new stuff down each year. I wish it would last the whole season without cracking, but it's really only about the last few weeks that it starts to fail on me. But by that time I'm already thinking about pulling my tomatoes and moving on to fall planting.

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jal_ut
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You can get concrete reinforcing wire that has squares six inches and comes in rolls of six feet, or stock fencing that is 3 ft high by 16 feet long and six inch squares. The stock fencing is heavier and galvanized. Steel posts to hold it up. Just some thoughts if you want to go for something quite durable.

Lumber yard. Farm supply store.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

imafan26
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I like concrete reinforcing wire and rebar myself for trellisses, not free, but they last a long time.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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