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Trellis Help

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Trellis Help

Post  a0628h0427 on 3/6/2011, 10:04 pm

Hello everyone,

I've been square foot gardening for about 2 years now, but I'm new to these forums, so please forgive if this is a question that's been posted before.

My mother has asked me to help get her started with SFG. Her yard has about 4 inches of topsoil on top of a very hard, rocky caliche substrate. I'm concerned that I won't be able to drive rebar far enough into the ground to provide stability for a trellis system.

Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions? Any alternate and inexpensive ways of constructing a trellis?

Thanks in advance for your help.

Cody Gregg

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Re: Trellis Help

Post  boffer on 3/6/2011, 10:22 pm

Hi and welcome to the forum. I had to look at the map; you can't get much farther south in Texas than where you are!

I would fasten vertical 2×2's to the box as tall as you want the trellis; then a horizontal piece connecting the two at the top. I would put a brace, about 24 inches long, at a 45* angle between the vertical and the box.




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Re: Trellis Help

Post  Blackrose on 3/6/2011, 10:37 pm

Hi Cody and to the forum!

My suggestion would be to drive the rebar as far into the ground as you can and then attach the trellis to the raised bed with a pipe strap. I found them on homedepot.ca as EMT Straps: http://www.homedepot.ca/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CatalogSearchResultView?D=909988&Ntt=909988&catalogId=10051&langId=-15&storeId=10051&Dx=mode+matchallpartial&Ntx=mode+matchall&N=0&Ntk=P_PartNumber

I hope this helps.

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Re: Trellis Help

Post  a0628h0427 on 3/6/2011, 10:51 pm

Thanks, Boffer. That's a good idea. If she decides to use wood to frame the box, I think I'll do something like this. If she decides to use brick, though.... I'm kind of stuck on that one... :?:

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Re: Trellis Help

Post  a0628h0427 on 3/6/2011, 10:54 pm

Thank you, Blackrose. I'm sure I'll be posting many more questions!!!!

I think that will work if I can get the rebar at least a foot or two down... I found those at Home Depot and am using them right now on a trellis I built in the corner of my yard using the fence frame as support.

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Re: Trellis Help

Post  quiltbea on 3/6/2011, 11:31 pm

You could screw pipeclamps into the sides of the raised bed and fit the trellis piping/bars down thru the clamp into the ground. Tighten and it'll be solid.

Like they do for the hoop houses.

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Re: Trellis Help

Post  elliephant on 3/6/2011, 11:53 pm

Almost all of my boxes are 2 by Xs along the fence and I just have my rebar pounded in about a foot (actually, just pushed by hand through the sand, lol) and I have the trellis poles (PVC for most of mine) tied with yarn to the fence behind them. I just replace the yarn every few months to be safe but I've actually never had any of it break! Laughing

Here's what did happen last summer. I had 6 tomato plants in this 2 by 8 box. Here it is in mid May before we went on vacation.



Now, here's about 2 weeks later, when we came back. I had a friend come over and water it while we were gone, but that's all she did (only picked one tomato...they were falling off and rotting on the ground!).



As you can see, it's the trellis netting that broke, but even though the 10 foot PVC pipe span at the top bent, it didn't break. The vertical supports did just fine...you can see the yarn holding them to the fence in the second pic.

Hmmm....looking at these pictures reminds me that I really need to stay on top of the pruning this year...tomato plants look so cute and harmless when they are putting out their first flowering branches like mine are right now. Add to that the vining squash...shoot, I think may have overfilled my boxes again!

to the forum! It's great to have someone else who knows that Texas goes ALLLLLLLLL the way down here!

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Re: Trellis Help

Post  a0628h0427 on 3/7/2011, 12:09 am

Did you actually get any tomatoes last year after about May? It got so hot that mine simply stopped setting fruit. Maybe it was the variety..... I think I bought them at Waugh's.

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Re: Trellis Help

Post  elliephant on 3/7/2011, 12:18 am

I ripped them out shortly after that, but took cuttings from 2 plants that I rooted indoors and babied in pots over the summer, then replanted in August for early fall tomatoes. One of them was Juliet, which I think would have produced most of the summer, given how it did in the heat we had this past September and October. Last year I just picked random plants from the big box stores...this year I've picked specific varieties that I started from seed around the first of the year...we'll see if I have any better luck. Southern Exposure Seed Exchange can be quite persuasive (seductive) in their "thrives in the summer heat" claims...I've got 13 varieties planted Rolling Eyes this year.

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Re: Trellis Help

Post  Odd Duck on 3/7/2011, 2:39 pm

I think if you can get the rebar in the ground at all, you're good. Hard ground should hold very well if you can get the rebar in place. Soft ground is far more likely to tip over and you have to get your rebar much deeper in softer ground. If in doubt, use the pipe straps up higher and the rebar will stabilize the bottom end. I, personally, like 1/2" electrical conduit and did some end supports because I'm pushing the pipe (no rebar, just the pipe) straight into very soft soil mix.

Here's my pictures:
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t5254p45-hoop-house-issuehow-to-solve-please

You could do an angle brace if you don't feel the rebar/pipe trellis is strong/stable enough after you build it. You don't need to be able to hang from it (I nearly can on mine Cool ), but it needs to be strong enough for whatever you might rotate into that spot. For instance, tomatoes really don't need conduit strength, but melons or squash will, so I overbuilt a bit on each so I don't have to move trellises, anymore.

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Re: Trellis Help

Post  camprn on 3/7/2011, 5:02 pm

Wire Trellis

Previous thread about trellis


in the previous thread I describe what I came up with as I have a similar situation as your Mother does with the ground. The U fence post and conduit worked fine!

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Re: Trellis Help

Post  madnicmom on 3/8/2011, 12:43 pm

Thanks for this thread. I too have hard ground, if you want to call it that. I had my house built on an old corn field, they removed the topsoil bofore spraying grass seed. I tried "row gardening" and needless to say, that is why I'm a raised garden person now. The boulder's we found with the tiller were monsterous. I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to get the rebar in the ground either. I was thinking about getting some sort of bracket to screw into the frame at the top of the bed and midway down to give it some support. We don't get alot of high winds around here. What do you all think?

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Re: Trellis Help

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 3/8/2011, 12:56 pm

I would suggest some form of A-frame with a third support leg. There is a pic of one in camprn's link. At first, you would think it would take up more space, but there's nothing requiring all legs of the A-frame to be inside the bed. Seems to me there would be no pounding required and you wouldn't need deep soil, either.

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Re: Trellis Help

Post  Lavender Debs on 3/8/2011, 1:22 pm


I have not read this whole thread yet. Maybe you already have got an idea that will work for you. I saw something like this on the board last year, my husband made two of them for me. The upright boards are 2"x4"x6'. They are bolted to the box with two lag bolts each. He predrilled matching holes for the tubing (aluminum conduit, I think it is 3/4"x8'...cut in half for this box.) The conduit just slides through the holes and rests where we leave it. I had him make the top tube longer so I could hang a pot from it.

It held 4 heavy 6'+ tomatoes and the pot without complaint or movement. No rebar involved. Foliage gets very heavy with rain water in the PNW. This year I have peas planted where the tomatoes were last year. I plan to run jute from the gird to the top tube and back down to the base for the peas to grow up. (Thank you Camprn) I am confident that it will not sag.

Ray has told me that he can move it to another box if I want or he can make more. They are rather inexpensive as far as SFG stuff goes and apparently will be easy to undo and put back up again.

When I am working under the trellis in Spring I slide the bottom rung out so it isn't in my way than put it back when I'm done.

Good hunting as you look for something that will work for you.

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