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metal fencing for vertical growing

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metal fencing for vertical growing

Post  twangster on 1/17/2011, 12:31 pm

I just read the e-book "Cinder Block Gardens" by Lynn Gillepie. She says use metal cow panel type fencing tied to metal posts for vertical growing. It sounds really sturdy. Will the metal burn my tomatoes in the heat of summer? Thanks!

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Re: metal fencing for vertical growing

Post  Selandra on 1/17/2011, 3:09 pm

I found the cattle panel to be an excellent trellis for my veggies. I didn't grow tomatoes up it but I did grow cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, and watermelon. All did great but watermelon, others on here have told me they had the same problem. I'm making a second one for this year. I placed the first trellis in between my cinder block gardens and though the tposts are in I haven't secured them yet. *procrastination rules again* Embarassed



Said trellis being shown off by niece. Pumpkin vine just starting.



Trellis surviving bad storm... pumpkin had no real damage.



Trellis mid summer. Was even more covered by fall. Pumpkin grew down one side and halfway up again before dying. This year I'm trimming once it reaches other side.

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cinder block height

Post  twangster on 1/17/2011, 3:18 pm

I noticed that all of your beds are made with just one block. Does that give enough room for all of the roots? I was thinking I might have to build two high for certain crops like corn and tomatoes.

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Re: metal fencing for vertical growing

Post  Selandra on 1/17/2011, 8:48 pm

One block worked pretty good for most of my crops. My carrots didn't do too well but thats because I didn't have my box completely filled. I will be adding more compost to fill to top. The blocks are about 8in and actually have a bit more as we dug out a bit of the area to pour out the pad for the blocks. The area under the soil is not concreted. I also had him drill holes in the blocks facing inward so I could fill the blocks with flowers and herbs. I didn't have any problems with my peppers, broccoli, or squash even in the high winds. Then went with the flow and popped back up when the storm was over.

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Re: metal fencing for vertical growing

Post  Megan on 1/17/2011, 8:57 pm

@twangster wrote:I noticed that all of your beds are made with just one block. Does that give enough room for all of the roots? I was thinking I might have to build two high for certain crops like corn and tomatoes.
Welcome to the forum, twangster! glad you\'re here

With Square Foot Gardening, you do not need deep soil for your crops, unless you are growing something like potatoes or long carrots/parsnips. You can successfully grow corn and tomatoes in 4 inches of Mel's Mix. Reports from the forum indicate that 6 inches may work better if you are in an extremely hot area.

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Re: metal fencing for vertical growing

Post  quiltbea on 1/17/2011, 11:43 pm

I use 7' metal fence posts in the 2 north corners of most of my raised beds.
To these I can wire poles across the top on which to string twine so my tomatoes can be strung around the twine as the grow taller and I can also string trellis netting between posts when I want to grown peas or pole beans. I just had my son hammer them at the inside corners of my 12" beds as far as they would go down, which was about a foot deep.

Here are some peas growing up the woven netting I tied from post to post in 2010.

Here are a couple of San Marzano Gigante 3 toms that I've twisted around the twine that's held at the top with wired poles.

This is an October view after most things are harvested. See the poles wired across the top of the fence posts? They are tomato stakes I bought at the garden center and fit perfectly across the top.


Last edited by quiltbea on 1/17/2011, 11:43 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling)

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metal fencing

Post  ander217 on 1/18/2011, 7:41 am

Welcome to the forum, Twangster.

My garden is surrounded by 4' hog panels. I made my north side trellises of electrical conduit placed over rebar, with the conduit placed right next to the fence, and we used the fence for the first four feet of climbing area, then tied strings from the top of the fence to the top of the conduit for the high-climbers. It was extremely sturdy. The fencing did not burn the plants, either.

The only thing I plan to change this year is drilling holes in used canning lids and placing over the rebar at ground level before setting the conduit over the rebar. I had one conduit pole push down into the soil with the heavy weight of a bumper crop of tomatoes.

I used this setup for tomatoes, cucumbers, small muskmelons, baby pumpkins, and butternut squash. Most did well and we had heat wave temps of over 110 degrees. The only thing that didn't do well were my cukes, but I doubt if that had anything to do with the fence. On the west side of my garden I used the fence without a trellis as a support for short peas. They did fine, too, until the heat came.

This photo shows my setup with the trellis. You can see the pole starting to sink into the ground. It sunk quite a bit more by the end of the season. I think placing the flat canning lid over the rebar before setting the conduit pole on top should take care of the problem. (Fingers crossed.)



This shows a butternut squash growing on the trellis. I was worried that the squash would be too heavy, but the stems grew about three times thicker than when grown on the ground, and there was no problem with them hanging until harvest time. We grow our large watermelons on the ground, though.






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Re: metal fencing for vertical growing

Post  Selandra on 1/18/2011, 10:30 am

@ander217 wrote:Welcome to the forum, Twangster.

This photo shows my setup with the trellis. (Fingers crossed.)




This is great. I was just thinking I needed to do something different this year for my peas and beans as I didn't have enough space. I have lots of extra panels so I will be trying this set for them.

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Re: metal fencing for vertical growing

Post  Odd Duck on 1/18/2011, 12:32 pm

I've read that the wire can cause problems, but that wasn't until I'd already used wire. I didn't have any problems with it at all. I read later that by the time the weather is hot enough, the vine is grown over the wire shading it enough to not matter. This agrees with my experience, so that's what I'm going to believe. Smile I'm using just fence wire, not the heavy cattle panels, but I think it doesn't matter, use whichever you like and can find for the right price.

I've also used the nylon netting, but it didn't even last a full season in our weather, so I will not be using it again even though I have some leftover.

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Re: metal fencing for vertical growing

Post  Megan on 1/18/2011, 6:25 pm

That's interesting, Odd Duck. Do you think the nylon netting rotted in the sun? I used the netting last year and was grateful I did. I had a bear of a time training some of the plants of the trellis and I was grateful that I was able to bend both the plants AND the netting. Maybe that was just my inexperience.

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Re: metal fencing for vertical growing

Post  Odd Duck on 1/18/2011, 6:49 pm

My whole netting collapsed in a heap because the threads rotted. I'm not sure why they rotted, but that's what happened in my garden. I was so frustrated, it was difficult to tell what was what and I didn't get watermelons worth a darn. I think because they seem to be a little slower growing than the other melons I grew, they got buried under the mass of the other vines.

I AM worried about threading some stuff through the fencing - especially brittle tomato vines. This will be my first time trying it with toms. I've used cages in the past and they're tricky enough to bend a bit of vine back in when I've left it a couple days too long and those are much more "open" than the fence wire.

I've vowed to be more vigilant and dedicated about tending all the vines this year. I'm hoping spreading them out in a line will help make that easier.

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String or netting?

Post  ander217 on 1/18/2011, 7:16 pm

Odd Duck, I tied my tomatoes to the fence until they grew above the top of the panels and then I trained them to the string.

Personally I thought it was easier to train the other plants to the single strands of string than weave them through the panels on the fence. Neither was very difficult, but I expected to have trouble getting the plants to stay on the strings, and nothing was further from the truth. Every few days I just sort of wound the new growth around the string and it worked just as Mel said it would in the book. I don't remember breaking a single tomato limb although I did accidentally snap a squash branch, but I was trying to untangle it.

I don't know how netting would work, but with the huge leaves of butternut squash, I think netting might have proven difficult. My setup worked really well for the squash because I could weave the plants through the fence when small, and by the time the plants were growing their huge leaves, they were above the fence and could be trained to the single strings which were two feet apart on the squash, one foot apart for the tomatoes, and two inches apart for the pole beans.

BTW, I normally prune my tomatoes to keep them within their one-foot areas, but that photo was taken in late summer and many of my tomatoes had already died, so I let the cherry tomato run at will. In no time at all it was devouring the entire trellis. Wish I had some now.

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Re: metal fencing for vertical growing

Post  Megan on 1/18/2011, 7:20 pm

I did learn some valuable tricks about training squash on a trellis. It took a whole bunch of nylon stocking footies and considerable attention, but I did it!...until said plant laughed at me and promptly ate the yard. Smile I had some trouble with tomatoes too. The biggest problem was when I wanted the tomato plant to go THROUGH the trellis. Newbie mistake, I guess (I'm sure Carolyn is laughing by now!)... but I've come to understand that you don't wanna do that. This year, I'll keep the main tomato branches all on the same side of the trellis.

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Re: metal fencing for vertical growing

Post  Odd Duck on 1/18/2011, 7:30 pm

Good info Ander and Megan, thanks!

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Re: metal fencing for vertical growing

Post  miinva on 1/18/2011, 11:21 pm

We used something along the lines of the Florida weave (there's a thread referring to it here). I remember seeing a link to a video about it done by someone at a college, but I can't find the link. If I find it I'll post it Smile I have to say that it was very little work, although I wish we'd been more diligent about pruning them to make harvest easier.

Here's a link to a page that references different ways to trellis tomatoes, and here's another. There's also a bunch of information on GardenWeb about the Florida Weave.

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Re: metal fencing for vertical growing

Post  Smartchick on 3/10/2011, 5:43 pm

My whole netting collapsed in a heap because the threads rotted. I'm not sure why they rotted, but that's what happened in my garden. I was so frustrated, it was difficult to tell what was what and I didn't get watermelons worth a darn. I think because they seem to be a little slower growing than the other melons I grew, they got buried under the mass of the other vines.

I too lost all of my trellises last year (nylon net) so I'm trying to find an alternative. One had cukes covering it and a windstorm took the whole thing down - ripped right throught the nylon and shredded it. The conduit stayed standing but I had a heap of trellis covered cukes! I redid one last year in wire and successfully grew some squash on it in my fall garden but not sure how peas and beans will do on wire. I was considering the concrete mesh stuff I have seen others use but am not a fan of the rusted metal look.

Right now my plan is to do up the other three in wire and see what happens. Any other suggestions?

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Re: metal fencing for vertical growing

Post  quiltbea on 3/10/2011, 6:24 pm

Try concrete reinforcing wire from a building supply store.


I made cucumber towers with that stuff. It came in 8 or 9 ft lengths (can't remember for sure) so I had them cut them in half to fit in my T-bird's trunk. Just barely fit.
I didn't want the diameter circle too narrow so I used garden twine to attach them at the closing end, leaving some space between instead of wiring them shut together. You can just see the twine at the very right of the tower.

It certainly won't rot on you and its sturdy enough to hold melons, I'm sure. You just have to brace it at the bottom.

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Re: metal fencing for vertical growing

Post  camprn on 3/10/2011, 6:24 pm

I use the jute twine and it holds up well until fall (no pun intended). Shocked Very Happy

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trellising

Post  ander217 on 3/11/2011, 8:09 am

We planted vine crops against a wire hog panel fence and set the trellises behind the fence. We tied string from the top of the fence to the top of the trellis. We tied tomatoes to the fence, and then wound them on the strings and they did fine. We also grew peas on the wire fence and had no problems with heat damage from the wire.

Our cucumbers didn't do well on the fence, but I think that was due to an issue with the MM rather than the wire.

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Re: metal fencing for vertical growing

Post  FarmerValerie on 3/11/2011, 8:29 am

We have wire shelves for some of ours at this time, hubby brought them home when he painted a local dollar store.

I used T-Posts behind them, and when they did not extend the whole box I used twine or string to fill in the gap. This is the third year I will be using them, and they still look great. Those will be the last thing to replace, simply because there are other things we need more, and they are doing their job.

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Re: metal fencing for vertical growing

Post  sully on 3/11/2011, 8:34 am

I used cattle panels. Can make a large hoop and walk underneath to harvest.

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Re: metal fencing for vertical growing

Post  Aub on 3/11/2011, 4:33 pm

I'm planning on using Cattle Panels, as well. I'm just hoping they will be tall enough to skip under them to harvest.

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Re: metal fencing for vertical growing

Post  acara on 3/11/2011, 9:32 pm

This has been working pretty well for me ...


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Re: metal fencing for vertical growing

Post  Megan on 3/11/2011, 9:34 pm

Those look short to me... but then my trellises are 78". I am not as good a pruner as you are, I know that for sure! Smile

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Re: metal fencing for vertical growing

Post  acara on 3/11/2011, 9:41 pm

@Megan wrote:Those look short to me... but then my trellises are 78". I am not as good a pruner as you are, I know that for sure! Smile

Yeah ... they are 4 x 8's, but I run lines between the eye hooks on the t-bars, in case I want to let then grow bigger.

The bonsai/topiary-gene in me usually kicks in at/before the 48" mark and I start cutting them.

One of these days I'll resist temptation and let one "sprawl"....... but that day hasn't come yet Embarassed

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Re: metal fencing for vertical growing

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