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Height of trellis for different plants?

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Height of trellis for different plants?

Post  j-bo on 4/6/2014, 7:27 pm

Newbie gardener here....

I did a search on trellis height and didn't really come to any conclusions.

I am seeking how tall, well.. I suppose how wide also, to make my emt/nylon twine trellises.

I built one just "to see". I made it 10' x 10'.. for pole beans (blue lake). I haven't got it all strung together yet though.

I am doing the following and would like to know the optimum sizes to make it. Mostly height as width I would suppose would only depend on how many plants one would desire to have and make it that width.. although.. I could see where if weight was an issue, a less wider trellis would make sense.

Also, I'd hate to have a trellis too high where a smaller height was more suitable as in.. a plant will only reach such and such height and a ______ height is suitable over a taller height. I hate to waste materials and space too. Plus, wouldn't mind not climbing to harvest and take care of plants either.

Are there other issues with tall trellises besides using a ladder to harvest?

These are what I plan to plant this coming week, but need sizes to make and maybe which to plant with which on either side or next to each other, etc.

Cantaloupe
Cucumbers
Ice Box Sugar Baby watermelon
Crooked necked squash
Spaghetti squash
Butternut squash
Zucchini...although I think I may not trellis as some say it does well and some say it doesn't.
Peas..sugar snap and probably some type of cowpeas for the summer.
Peppers...green peppers, mammoth jalapeno.
Tomatoes..indeterminate...I'll probably also make 10' tall..not sure to make them 10' wide though and may do 2 5x10', or ??

And.. with that.. I also have a few other questions..mainly.

1. Can I put a squash plant (or any plants I suppose) on each side of the trellis?  I'd like to put a large squash on one side, smaller on the other.

2. How close can I put trellises that won't affect other trellised plants? Such as.. if I leave a space between them and put up another trellis with different plantings, what can or will happen? Say.. I have my 10x10 trellis for pole beans, leave a space and put another 10x10 trellis and grow..say cucumber or some of the other above plants on it?  Or should I stagger and space them a little bit?

Glad I found this site, LOADS of info to read!

Thanks.

j-bo

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Re: Height of trellis for different plants?

Post  AtlantaMarie on 4/6/2014, 8:23 pm

Hi J-Bo.  Welcome to the party!  You're right - lots of good info here!

Our trellises are 8 ft high for everything.  I'm sure that some of my plant babies will overgrow it, but...

Not sure I'd try to grow on both sides.  They'd probly get tangled up.  But what do I know?  I've never tried it.
    Anyone???  Anyone???

My trellises are all hooked together - all 35' of them.  And I'm expecting them to be covered!

I'm sure you'll get better info than I can give you.  But wanted to say hi.

Have fun! 

Marie

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Re: Height of trellis for different plants?

Post  Marc Iverson on 4/6/2014, 8:23 pm

Plants too close together have restricted air circulation. That tends to increase humidity, which some plants (like peppers) like, but close spacing also favors the growth and spread of bacteria and viruses.

If you do wind up planting trellised crops like tomatoes especially close together, you might want to consider snipping off some of their lowest leaves once the plants are well-established and have plenty of top growth. This will improve air circulation. Some plants, like tomatoes and zucchini, can spread pretty broadly, too, so if put together too closely, their leaves may touch and tangle together. That not only encourages disease, but can make it trickier to harvest without excessively handling the leaves and stems, which tomatoes don't like too much, or even starting to accidentally break some off.

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Re: Height of trellis for different plants?

Post  sanderson on 4/7/2014, 12:54 am

J-bo, Welcome to the Forum!  glad you\'re here 

From some things that you said in your post, I'm guessing that your garden is not a Square Foot Garden (SFG). ?? Do you have a copy of All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew?

As far as trellis height: The "standard" SFG EMT/nylon netting is 5' H and as wide as the box. The "standard" box is 4' x 4'. So, a trellis for that box would be 5' H x 4' W. I found that most things that I trellised grew taller than 5'. So I bought the 10 foot length of EMT and realized that I could not reach above 7' so DH cut them to 8'. Just perfect with a stable foot stool. Remember, you will have to reach through the netting to tend to the plants as they grow in and out of it. None of my boxes are wider than 4 feet so I did not have to deal with long spans of trellis and netting.

For long trellises, vertical supports along the way are necessary. Maybe someone can tell you the maximum distance between supports, especially for watermelon, winter squashes and cantaloups. 'Tee' connectors are used to connect the junctions.

I've only gardened for 1 year. I experimented a lot but this is what I concluded: Use the nylon net trellis for only one row of squares. Plant tomatoes 1 1/2 feet apart. Winter Squash, petite watermelons and cantaloupes 1 per square. Per Mel's book, 2 cucumbers or 8 peas or 8 beans per square. Per experience, 1 zucchini or yellow squash per corner square or any square if it is staked to grow vertically. But you have to learn how to grow them vertically and stay on it religiously. Be careful how close each row of trellises are to the others. The higher the trellises, the further apart they need to be so that the sun can reach all the plants. And, yes, sufficient air circulation.

Peppers don't need trellises necessarily. Sometimes a cage or a stake for support. They would be fine in front of the tomato squares.

Please tell us a little bit more about your gardening experience and whether you are using the SFG method. Again, welcome to the Forum.

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Re: Height of trellis for different plants?

Post  AtlantaMarie on 4/7/2014, 9:31 am

We have 10 feet between poles for the netting.

Sanderson, you always have some great info to share!

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Re: Height of trellis for different plants?

Post  sanderson on 4/7/2014, 2:09 pm

Marie,  Any info that I have, I mostly learned from the folks on this Forum and then tried itt for myself.   Very Happy

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Re: Height of trellis for different plants?

Post  j-bo on 4/7/2014, 3:48 pm

Thank you for the welcomes!

This is my first time gardening.. I had already made my boxes prior to doing my researching beforehand. They are 12x18'..Live and learn.

I've only skimmed over the sfg basics so far. But it is quite interesting to me and will probably be the way I'll do things. I just don't want to dig up the boxes I've made already. But after reading the book and doing more research, sounds like I'll be digging them up for next year.

I did read that if you had the room, that any box length would work, but to keep it 4' wide. That was from "What is SFG" I read here: oops.. can't post links yet.. anyway.. it's on mel's site.

I def. need to get the book and read more on this. Like "mels mix", etc. etc. that I've been reading on here too. Try to find the reasoning on a 4x4 box too. I understand the width part, so you can reach all of it without stepping in it, but I can reach middle of a 6' box so wonder if that is acceptable. Less boxes I make the better.

I have a houseful of folks here and am planting a lot.. probably the worst thing to do for my first garden. I'm a gambler though.  Very Happy 

So... I'll be keeping the plantings to only one side of the trellis it seems. Making them 8' tall, except the one that's 10' already for pole beans, maybe 10' for tomatoes too? Think I'll keep them at 5' widths (easier to just cut emt in half) and probably more rigid for the melons too,  and if planting the same plant will just put them next to each other. If planting other plants, then I suppose I should have at least 3' between trellises and plantings as that is what an aisle size would be if my boxes were 4x4' right?

Atlanta... so I'm understanding..  your trellises are all tied together 35'....if you keep 3' between each 4x4 box.. then you have 4 boxes? Do you have separate plants in each box too?

Sanderson.. awesome info.. thank you!  

Marc good info thanks. What do you recommend for widths and spread, are my thoughts above correct?

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Re: Height of trellis for different plants?

Post  sanderson on 4/7/2014, 4:44 pm

J-bo,  Are your boxes 12 feet by 18 feet or 12 inches by 18 feet?  I think a lot of folks have 4 feet by 8 feet or even 10 feet boxes.  Since 2" x 4" studs come in 8' lengths, is easiest to make 4' x 4' or 4' x 8' boxes.

Definitely get the book [All New Square Foot Gardening, 1st or 2nd Ed], either new at a book store or gently used / new on Amazon or eBay. As a one year veteran (or is that a quasi-Newbie?), I can't emphasize enough to have the book and stay active on this Forum.  Knowing WHY is just as important as the what.

If you haven't planted anything, this is the perfect time to rebuild your boxes and make real Mel's Mix.  Once the hard work is done, it's easy.

Trellis heights:  When beans or tomatoes, etc. reach the top of the trellis, they will just fall over and keep growing crazy at the top.  [I found that the bluejays and mocking birds would eat the horned tomato worms up that high so it was great pest control.]  That also creates a shade canopy underneath, so you don't want trellis stacked together too close.

Get the book!   Very Happy

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Re: Height of trellis for different plants?

Post  AtlantaMarie on 4/7/2014, 7:09 pm

Here's a pic of the trellis work.  This is from the SE corner of my plot.



The total garden plot is 25 ft x 35 ft.

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Re: Height of trellis for different plants?

Post  AtlantaMarie on 4/7/2014, 7:13 pm

In answer to you question about depth, etc., most people can only reach in comfortably about 2 feet.  And once things start growing...  You don't want to be falling into your plants, lol!

Everything we've got right now is 2 ft deep because it's along the fence line.  Once we're ready to put boxes in the middle, they'll be 4 ft x 14 or 15 ft.

I'm going to put a bunch of pix in the gallery shortly now that I know how to post them.

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Re: Height of trellis for different plants?

Post  j-bo on 4/7/2014, 7:27 pm

My boxes are 12'x18'.. made out of 1x6x6, double stacked so it's about 11" deep. I had no idea sfg existed.

I can't afford the mels mix at $110 per box or so at this time, thus, need to wait....and.. I'll have to find what to do with the dirt I have in them already. 

Just watched the youtube video and that answered a lot of my questions and the reasoning's for doing this how its done too.

Thanks for the height and width suggestions and everything else. Off to more reading and youtubing! 

 

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Re: Height of trellis for different plants?

Post  Marc Iverson on 4/7/2014, 7:53 pm

Whatever you do, j-bo -- and this has to do with aisle width and spacing too -- don't walk on any part of the garden that you plan on growing stuff in, ever. That compacts the soil, which may not just be hard on existing plants whose roots have spread over to where you're walking, but it can be hard on plants you intend to grow wherever you have walked later. It compacts the soil, making it harder for water, air, and nutrients to get through to the plants, as well as making it tougher for roots to grow and encouraging roots to stop at wherever the soil transitions too abruptly.

Six feet long is fine, but six feet wide is pretty wide, all right. I'm over six feet tall myself, and think trying to lean over to prune and harvest, say, tomatoes would be pretty difficult, as sometimes that can be delicate work and the fresh green stems you'd want to train to a trellis can be so fragile. Sometimes the work takes a while and you don't want to rush it. But when I lean way over for long, my balance starts to decay a bit as I tire, and it's hard on my back, which makes me grumpy and uncomfortable. That makes it harder to be attentive. I get clumsy and accidents start to happen. Leaning three feet over to tend to and harvest bean plants sounds all but impossible. They tend to be planted close together, so they tangle with and grow into each other. Beans can be so hard to pick out of the foliage that even right up close, you can look right past them sometimes. And you need to keep them picked or they stop producing. It takes me a good while to check my beans; way longer than I think most people would want to be leaning into them from three feet away.

Additionally, is anyone ever going to be harvesting or tending the garden but yourself? If anyone shorter is involved, they'll have trouble getting in far enough.

I'd encourage you to start a compost pile immediately -- TODAY! -- if you haven't already. Mel's Mix isn't cheap, but in a pinch you can make do with compost, and compost can be created in as few as 18 days with the UC Berkeley method. The main thing is that you don't want to use just regular garden soil if you can avoid it. It rarely has anything like the looseness, nutrition, and water capabilities, all in one, that Mel's Mix has. But good compost can be a healthy substitute, especially if you're just starting off and the sky is not the limit when it comes to spending. You can always amend good compost later, but SFG doesn't advise amending ordinary garden soil; it recommends leaving the problems of the soil behind -- including toxins, roots and weed seeds, and inadequate soil structure and nutrition -- and giving plants something better.

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Re: Height of trellis for different plants?

Post  has55 on 4/9/2014, 2:01 am

I just got my trellis pole up on a 12 ft long x 3 ft wide bed. Waiting for my bird netting to come in. I put my poles in 2 feet in the ground and 8 ft above the ground. 7 ft probably is easier. I found i can do eight ft and only have to wrap the vine over the top to the bottom 1/12 times before it finish producing, ex-watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumber. Now that was last year, I had trouble with heated soil and holding water, which I believe affected the total growth. My soil has aged and holds water much better this year so my growth may be more this time. I hope so.




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Re: Height of trellis for different plants?

Post  AtlantaMarie on 4/9/2014, 7:24 am

Looks great!

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Re: Height of trellis for different plants?

Post  sanderson on 4/9/2014, 3:03 pm

Has,  You has have  Embarassed such a nice big garden!!  I'm jealous.  Very Happy   Ten foot lengths buried 2' down sounds secure to me.


Last edited by sanderson on 4/9/2014, 9:30 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Grammar police)

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Re: Height of trellis for different plants?

Post  sfg4uKim on 4/9/2014, 8:31 pm

I do my vertical supports with 5' electrical conduit. If a plant gets taller than that, which they often do, I just gently bend it over the horizontal bar and weave it back down.

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