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Gardening

Trellises, trellises, trellises!

by Mireille Bourgeois

I told myself I’d write about trellises this year. It not too late in the season (it’s just beginning!) to set up your trellises if you think you could do better. Let me put it simply: I love trellises. They are important, they not only support your delicate plants, but they can allow you to save precious gardening space. Vertical gardening is where it’s at.

If you don’t have proper trellises, plants stems can sometimes compensate by building a type of scar stem that grows over the stressed portion and though I’m not sure how this affects the plant overall (They have grown in the “wild” after all) I prefer to make sure they have the support they need in my garden 😉 Also, they can just plain break off (totally happened a million times to me… sigh).

Last year I had terrible trellises and some of my plants like sweet peas for example even refused to grow (I’m not growing that shit???!!!), when I presented them with a bit of weak string to climb…. Poor things.

This year I am dying for peas and beans so I made three different types of trellises. The first is a filing cabinet project I had some fun with. Tutorial coming later. In it I chose cilantro up front because it seems to need a solid ecosystem to survive, with moisture (from the other veggies), shade (from the tall plants around it) and shielded from wind (on my patio). I’m probably just over protective though but it’s only because I’m obsessed with cilantro. To the right I have a brandy wine tomato on the right and in the back there’s a french dwarf bean, a purple queen bean and a scarlet runner. I chose to weave pieces of wicker into my balcony fence and added a little trellises on top for good measure.

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We decided to be a bit daring this year with a grape vine. We got a hardy variety that could sustain the fierce weather patterns of Nova Scotia. Even so, I wanted it to grow in the southern sun, and be protected from the wind. The soil is a bit clayish so I dug a gigantic hole and filled it with nice loose soil before planting the vine. It seems to be liking it. A decent rod iron or steel trellis that the grape vines will mature with over the years is best. This way, I can also add a trellis on either side if necessary.
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This is my favourite fun trellis. I wanted to find a better way to grow squash and cucumbers. Last year nothing grew, my squash and cucumbers got the damn powdery mildew and I got a single runty fruit of each. This year I will make sure I use my whey spray to keep the mildew away and I put this beautiful found ladder in both my garden boxes for them to climb on. This way, I preserve almost my entire garden bed for other lovely veggies. Of course I’ll have to tie the stems to the ladder, but hey, at least the base will be sturdy. I expect this ladder to be overflowing with squash and cucumbers. I’ll probably have to reinforce it at some point and maybe extended it somehow.

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The bottom two are more typical (not just the obvious tomato cage), I made some wooden stick trellises for beans and peas. For the first one below however (sorry, you can’t see from this picture), I bought a stair-three-tier plant holder from a thrift store. I then flipped up the tiers so that they created a slanted pyramid… Doesn’t make sense? sorry. Anyhoo, so by using an existing and creative structure and reinforcing it, I made a super duper trellis.

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So there are a few ideas for trellises. Hope you find some inspiration in your yard work this week 😉 Building the structure for your garden can be really difficult and is a lot of work, but now I feel more garden confident.

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