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Help with sturdy trellis

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Help with sturdy trellis

Post  dmeintl on 4/2/2011, 12:56 pm

We want to build a strong trellis for cantaloupes and baby watermelons. We were trying to fing the "steel fence posts" described in Mel's book, but could only find them in 5'6" and taller. HomeDepot and Lowes both said they couldnt cut them. These heights would be taller than our trellis frame (5ft) so my husband said it wouldn't sit flush and work with the elbow joints.

What have you done to make the trellis super strong for watermelons and cantaloupe? I need suggestions.

Thanks
Lori

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Re: Help with sturdy trellis

Post  pattipan on 4/2/2011, 1:58 pm

My hubby made two ladder type trellises out of scrap lumber for my winter squashes (spaghetti squash and buttercup squash). Two legs set in the box and two outside. One side was made narrower so that it fits snug inside the other. We still wired/staked them to the ground with rebar. They worked great! They were easy to take down and store for the winter too.

Here's one set in the box in June just when the plants sending out tendrils. I used jute to train them up the trellis.


Here's a view on August 3, 2011 where you can see both trellises with the squash up and over the ladder. You would not believe the people that would stop by just to see and ask what we were growing on those ladders! Seems like everyday I had to tie on some more jute, but the growth did slow down in August.


Notice the powdery mildew setting in on my spaghetti squash (lower left corner). Despite that, the squash matured -- and I still have about four left to eat!

Edit: Meant to tell you that there are just 3 plants on each trellis. Started with five, kept only the healthiest ones. They are sharing four squares with nasturtiums at the end of a 2 x 6 box.

pattipan


Last edited by pattipan on 4/2/2011, 2:05 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : additional info)

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Re: Help with sturdy trellis

Post  Lindacol on 4/2/2011, 6:50 pm

@dmeintl wrote:We want to build a strong trellis for cantaloupes and baby watermelons. We were trying to fing the "steel fence posts" described in Mel's book, but could only find them in 5'6" and taller. HomeDepot and Lowes both said they couldnt cut them. These heights would be taller than our trellis frame (5ft) so my husband said it wouldn't sit flush and work with the elbow joints.

What have you done to make the trellis super strong for watermelons and cantaloupe? I need suggestions.

Thanks
Lori

Just pound them into the ground deeper or raise your trellis up higher by wiring the trellis up on the T post. They won't interfer with your elbows either if you put them in front of or behind the trellis uprights, instead of inside them.

Also find out if length qouted is the above ground length or the total length.

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Re: Help with sturdy trellis

Post  dmeintl on 4/2/2011, 9:07 pm

@Lindacol wrote:Also find out if length qouted is the above ground length or the total length.

Lindacol - you are awesome! we are totally not mechanically inclined or good at home projects. We didn't even think about the fact that we were going to be putting it way into the ground! duh! The whole length was 5ft6 so my hubby will just put it 8-10 inches into the ground. Problem solved!

Pattipan - your trellis and garden is gorgeous!

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Re: Help with sturdy trellis

Post  Lindacol on 4/2/2011, 9:30 pm

Lindacol - you are awesome! we are totally not mechanically inclined or good at home projects. We didn't even think about the fact that we were going to be putting it way into the ground! duh! The whole length was 5ft6 so my hubby will just put it 8-10 inches into the ground. Problem solved!


In that case you may need the next longer ones - you need to look at where the cross piece on the post is that is meant to go in the ground to help steady the post. I think it is 12 or more inches from the bottom. And they are easier to pound into the ground if you have a post driver. Otherwise you will need a ladder and a sledge hammer.

I use them for nearly all my goat fences, along with stock panels which also make good trellises.

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Re: Help with sturdy trellis

Post  Glendale-gardener on 4/2/2011, 9:33 pm

Pattipan, those trellis ladders are awesome! I think that's just the thing I need to do my son's bed with because it's all heavy stuff:watermelon, 2 kinds of pumpkin and cantaloupe. Do you think I could do all of them on one trellis?, like 2 on each side?

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Re: Help with sturdy trellis

Post  pattipan on 4/2/2011, 9:55 pm

@Glendale-gardener wrote:Pattipan, those trellis ladders are awesome! I think that's just the thing I need to do my son's bed with because it's all heavy stuff:watermelon, 2 kinds of pumpkin and cantaloupe. Do you think I could do all of them on one trellis?, like 2 on each side?

My ladders are only 2 feet wide, made to fit in/out of box. My spaghetti squash reached the top and went over and through that trellis, with my help in training and tying it. I ended up trimming off some of the vines too, because they were going to take over the tomato in the same box. The buttercup squash (called Bonbon) had shorter vines, so it was easier to contain.

I think your son would need at least something 4-ft wide for four heavy-fruiting vines. You could build it probably with three or four upright boards (mine have two). Watermelon and pumpkins are notorious viners. I'm not sure I'd want them all growing next to each other either...but maybe someone else has tried and can give you some advice.

Also, try doing an Google image search for SFG pumpkin or watermelon trellis. That's how I got the idea for mine. The hubby came up with the idea of making the two sides fit together like that. He was thinking ahead about having to take them down for the winter!

pattipan

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Re: Help with sturdy trellis

Post  Glendale-gardener on 4/2/2011, 9:58 pm

Maybe do 2 separate ones , the 2 pumpkin on one and the 2 melons on the other?

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Re: Help with sturdy trellis

Post  pattipan on 4/2/2011, 10:25 pm

@Glendale-gardener wrote:Maybe do 2 separate ones , the 2 pumpkin on one and the 2 melons on the other?

That might work better, you will need to get a roll of jute/twine and tie like crazy, though! If you discover that the vines are taking over, trim the weak trailers and leave the strong.

I wasn't sure my trellises would work until we tried them. Sometimes ya just gotta try and see what works. I didn't realize how much twine I had wound around, through and tied onto my trellises until the vines started dying back.

pattipan

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Re: Help with sturdy trellis

Post  walshevak on 4/2/2011, 10:36 pm

Question here - Is the electrical conduit rebar method not strong enough to support melons? That's what I bought for trellis for beans, squash, tomatos, sugar baby melons and cantaloupe. Planned to use some sort of fencing zip tied to the conduit for the melons to climb on. I expected jute would not be sturdy enough for the them. Also planned to use old pantyhose as cradles/slings.

Kay

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Re: Help with sturdy trellis

Post  Furbalsmom on 4/2/2011, 10:48 pm

Walshevak

Mel's book indicates the electrical conduit should support melons and cantelope. I have not tried it myself, but plan to grow some substantial winter squash and will be using the 1/2 inch electrical conduit with the nylon netting that has 7 inch holes. I used the same netting last year for beans, cucumbers and peas and it held up really well.

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Re: Help with sturdy trellis

Post  pattipan on 4/2/2011, 11:00 pm

@walshevak wrote:Question here - Is the electrical conduit rebar method not strong enough to support melons? That's what I bought for trellis for beans, squash, tomatos, sugar baby melons and cantaloupe. Planned to use some sort of fencing zip tied to the conduit for the melons to climb on. I expected jute would not be sturdy enough for the them. Also planned to use old pantyhose as cradles/slings.
Kay


Yes, it's strong enough...but the hub likes to build things and didn't want to buy more conduit. Here's the way it went...

She meekly said, "I need more conduit for the winter squash trellises."

He answered, "We're not buying anymore conduit, we've already kept the hardware store in business all by ourselves this spring."

She said, "Maybe you can build something out of that scrap wood you scrounged from the bathroom remodeling?"

He said, "If you can find me the idea, I'll build it."


So with the help of Google and CorelDRAW, I handed him the plans the next morning. I had designed it as sort of an A-frame ladder trellis. He came up with the better idea of two H-style ladders that fit together and were easy to take down. Who am I to argue??

It adds a new dimension to our SFG, yes?? Plus we had good opportunities to promote SFG'ing when folks asked about them! Wink

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Re: Help with sturdy trellis

Post  FarmerValerie on 4/3/2011, 8:48 am

@pattipan wrote:
It adds a new dimension to our SFG, yes?? Plus we had good opportunities to promote SFG'ing when folks asked about them! Wink

pattipan

Not to mention a place for littles to hide and "read" a book.

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Re: Help with sturdy trellis

Post  Furbalsmom on 4/3/2011, 12:13 pm

@Pattipan wrote:She meekly said, "I need more conduit for the winter squash trellises."

He answered, "We're not buying anymore conduit, we've already kept the hardware store in business all by ourselves this spring."

She said, "Maybe you can build something out of that scrap wood you scrounged from the bathroom remodeling?"

He said, "If you can find me the idea, I'll build it."


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