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vertical gardening structures

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vertical gardening structures

Post  Feistywidget on 11/3/2011, 7:17 pm

All of the methods/blueprints/designs I've seen for supports for stuff that vines and sprawls (melons, cukes, zucchini, any type of winter squash) are very complicated with their construction and getting the materials to make them, the materials are very difficult to find where I live. Normally I'd have to order the materials online.



I'm not a do it yourself person; not good w/constructing things. So if you give me a design/method that is complicated and hard to build, it's just going to make something that is already hard and difficult for me, MORE complicated, confusing, and difficult.



Any links, or blueprints/designs you've used would be much appreciated; please post them here. With anything posted, please give dimensions for the structure (length, width, height)



The only real requirements I have for making vertical structures are these….



*That the finished structure will be durable and made to last (as in for years; I don’t mind if the initial cost is expensive if it will last for awhile)

*The instructions with how to design are easy to follow and clear.



*It is easy to make, put up and assemble. As I said before, I’m not a do-it-yourself person; lousy with constructing things. The simpler, the better. NOTE: If it’s not originally designed to be made for container gardening/SFG that it can be modified to use with SFG without a lot of complication involved modifying it.

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Re: vertical gardening structures

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 11/3/2011, 11:29 pm

1- Read the book.

2- Follow the steps to build an electical conduit trellis.

3- Use cattle panel/concrete reinforcment grid for your "netting."

4- Enjoy!

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Re: vertical gardening structures

Post  floyd1440 on 11/4/2011, 5:52 am

I tried something a little different from the book since my garden is 4x8

1 For the vertical posts I used 1/2"x 6' rebar every 4 feets, that gave me three legs as two are on the corners of the boxes and one in the middle.

2 The horizontal frame was made up of two 4' pieces, a tee, and a 6 foot rebar inside

3 I used schedule 40 PVC pipe and hope this works this summer...time will tell

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Re: vertical gardening structures

Post  staf74 on 11/4/2011, 9:19 am

The trellis in the book is step by step and super easy. No need for long winded regurgitation here. Nylon works just great for holding up the plants.

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Re: vertical gardening structures

Post  sherryeo on 11/4/2011, 12:14 pm

Feistywidget, The electrical conduit trellis in The All New Square Foot Gardening Book by Mel Bartholomew is truly super super simple. My husband and I have to be among the least handy people on the planet, but found this trellis to be easy and, because you pound rebar into the ground to hold the conduit, it is super strong, too.

I really believe it is the easiest and probably most cost effective way to go. Mel has step by step instructions in his book. Best wishes with your sfg!

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Re: vertical gardening structures

Post  floyd1440 on 11/4/2011, 1:18 pm

sherry



My problem with using the electric conduit is I could not find any T's as my 8 foot span was to long. I did see some copper piping but it was VERY expensive, so I went with plastic this year.

If it fails I could use the diagram he used in the book for a longer span, but it requires 2 center vertical supports study

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Re: vertical gardening structures

Post  sherryeo on 11/4/2011, 1:30 pm

Ok, Floyd, remember you're talking to one of the least handy people in the world here! Very Happy It would take somebody more knowledgeable than me to weigh in on the possibilities to solve that problem - probably somebody will be along to do just that! Is your solution working out well for you?

My boxes are 4X4, so I didn't have that particular issue. I kinda wish I did have some longer beds, though! Why is it we always want more, more, more sfg beds!

I did use the nylon netting, not the cattle panel like BBG did. I like that idea, though. Where do you find cattle panels, BBG, and how do you attach it to the conduit? Thanks!

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Re: vertical gardening structures

Post  southern gardener on 11/4/2011, 2:17 pm

my husband made ours of of 1/2" pipe, the kind used for water lines. The 90 fittings are easy to find, so are the "t's". He used rebar to hammer in the ground and then put the pipe structure over them. We then used "tomato guard wire" for the netting. The wire is basically 4x4 inch wide openings. He made ours well over 10 years ago, and it's still standing. Our structure is 25' long with two supports in the middle--about every 8'. This may work if you're having problems finding the conduit fittings. If i can figure out how to post a pic, I will.

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Re: vertical gardening structures

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 11/4/2011, 2:34 pm

Floyd, my trellis....es are on a 2x8 garden built specifically for vertical growing. I couldn't find a "T connector" either for conduit, so I just built two trellises per the books directions. My only deviation was the cattle panel instead of nylon netting.

My local box stores didn't readily carry nylon net. I didn't want to absorb the shipping costs, either. So, I bought the metal panels thinking they would outlast the netting anyway. I had also heard the netting breaks down over time and I had heard one complaint that things got too heavy for the nylon (which was a shocker because Mel expressed complete confidence in nylon, as did several YouTube vids).

I used VERY thin-gauge wire to tie the panels in place. I have been more than satisfied with 6 tomato plants over 8 feet tall, 4 varieties of SuperSteak tomatoes loaded with fruit still, and 6 cucumber plants all climbing the trellises. It is more than strong enough.

Here is an example of one tomato out of another 24 just like it....


IMG_5631 by chipnjo1999, on Flickr

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Re: vertical gardening structures

Post  floyd1440 on 11/4/2011, 2:44 pm

I could not find any nylon netting either. Would have been sweet if they carried some. I thought I read a post were the entire trellis fell over, with wind and loaded with plants. That is why I went deeper with my rebar and used a 6 foot piece on each leg.

Now I did find the 7x7 nylon netting on our website or Johnny's seeds website.

Let me know what you think :arrow:

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Re: vertical gardening structures

Post  Furbalsmom on 11/4/2011, 5:41 pm

floyd1440

I have searched many vendors and was unable to obtain T's for metal conduit. The best explaination I found was that the metal conduit is for electrical service and T's are not used in that application.

My personal opinion is that it is better to set up 2 - 4 ft spans to cover an 8 ft bed. 8 feet is really too long a span for a vertical trellis as the weight of your produce may be too much, plus the metal conduit needs support to avoid a droop in the middle of that long span. Don't forget to use rebar pounded into the ground and then the metal conduit placed over the rebar.



I was able to obtain the nylon trellis netting with 7 X 7 inch holes. I found it worked really well supporting, but not damaging the produce. I have used the same nylon trellis netting for two years now and it is still very strong.



I have used PVC (water) pipes succesfully to create hoops over the SFG, but have not used it to support a trellis.



I still want to try the cattle panels to create a self supporting trellis with an arch that I can walk thru.

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Re: vertical gardening structures

Post  Feistywidget on 11/5/2011, 7:04 pm

Um okay very confused. I get the basic gardening method, but how long should the trellis be for vertical gardening for one 4 x 4 SFG box?

Also what are 't-squares' and how do I find them? People who were discussing this said they had a hard time finding 't-squares' that are used with electrical conduit wire. Also what are cattle panels? Would you use cattle panels as one of the materials for building the trellis as instructed in the New SFG book, or would this just be for the self-supporting trellis?

An extremely stupid question, but does the trellis described in Mel's book for vertical gardening with the SFG boxes, does it require supports, or is it self-supporting trellis?

Is there anyway you could adapt the idea of a self-supporting trellis to Mel's basic trellis for vertical gardening if it's not self-supporting? If so, how?

Also I had one other question about the trellis with vertical gardening. I had two ideas in mind with how to do it. One was just to put a trellis on each side of the SFG, so that it's essentially a trellis on each side, that forms a square.

The other would be to put a trellis for vertical gardening at the back of the SFG box, in the middle of the SFG box, and at the end of the SFG box. Basically there would be three supports; one at the back of it, one at the middle of it, and one at the end of it.

I'm just trying to figure out, which design would be the best to support the plants vines and their fruit.

I've heard for fruits that have larger fruits in weight, such as melons and cantaloupes, and that bare lots of the fruit, to put a sling under the fruit so the vines don't break under the weight? Alternatively you could use a pair of old nylon nettings to fit around the fruit. If you have to do this, this would be used in combination in with the trellis as described in the SFG book. However, I don't know if this would be necessary or not, that's why I'm asking. Could use clarification regarding this please.

Or if you're using the trellis in Mel's SFG book, would this not be necessary?

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Re: vertical gardening structures

Post  floyd1440 on 11/5/2011, 7:38 pm

Feisty.

You have some interseting questions and ideas on vertical trellises. I am new to this too but it is best to stick as close to the book as possible.

You mentioned putting vertical trellises on both side but this would take light away from from the other side of the garden.

I only deviated from Mel's vertical plan due to the size of my garden, but I would have used conduit if I had a 4x4 box.

Re-read his book; I still find things in there that help along with suggestions from others in this forum.... study

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Re: vertical gardening structures

Post  Lindacol on 11/5/2011, 9:50 pm

Also what are 't-squares' and how do I find them? People who were discussing this said they had a hard time finding 't-squares' that are used with electrical conduit wire.

They are not T squared but T shaped connectors used to put a support in the middle. Mostly you need elbow shaped connectors for the corners.

Also what are cattle panels? Would you use cattle panels as one of the materials for building the trellis as instructed in the New SFG book, or would this just be for the self-supporting trellis?

I use cattle panels, also called hog or stock panels depending on the height and opening size. Do a search of this forum for hog panel trellis and you will find lots of info. I use the panels with no frame, just the panels, with T posts pounded into the ground & attached to the ends of the panels. Here are a couple of examples of using hog panels in gardens:
http://www.fyall.net/greenhouse2.htm

http://foodgardenkitchen.wordpress.com/2010/03/21/the-perils-of-trellising/

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Re: vertical gardening structures

Post  floyd1440 on 11/6/2011, 5:01 am

Linda

I haven't purchased the nylon netting and the hog panels look very nice. Have built the frames for the trellis so need to look at some in the future, perhaps at Tractor supply or Agway.

What are the size of the opennings in the panels? They look square and at least 6x6?

Could you use this for a compost bin or is it too rigid to bend?

Floyd

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Re: vertical gardening structures

Post  Lindacol on 11/6/2011, 11:07 am

@floyd1440 wrote:Linda

I haven't purchased the nylon netting and the hog panels look very nice. Have built the frames for the trellis so need to look at some in the future, perhaps at Tractor supply or Agway.

What are the size of the opennings in the panels? They look square and at least 6x6?

Could you use this for a compost bin or is it too rigid to bend?

Floyd



The opening vary. Some panels have smaller openings at the bottom, then alrger ones nearer the top. Some are all large openings. The largest are about 6 x 6. The smaller ones are about 2 x 4.

It would be hard to bend into a circle or square for a compost bin. It could be done but the openings would bee large enough that it would not contain the finer stuff.

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Re: vertical gardening structures

Post  PNG_Grandma on 11/6/2011, 12:23 pm

@Furbalsmom wrote:floyd1440
I was able to obtain the nylon trellis netting with 7 X 7 inch holes. I found it worked really well supporting, but not damaging the produce. I have used the same nylon trellis netting for two years now and it is still very strong.

Here are a couple of pics taken yesterday of my butternut and spaghetti squash growing on nylon trellis netting. This is two year old netting and seems to have held up well through 2 summers and a winter. We built the wood frame last year and I had it on the south side of the box. This year I was smarter and put it on the north side so the squash plants didn't shade all my other stuff! Rolling Eyes
I haven't harvested the squash yet but will this week. The plant is still putting out blossoms so I think I'll just let it keep on doing it's thing...there are a few small squash growing towards the ends of the plants...it's just fun to see how long they'll grow.





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Re: vertical gardening structures

Post  floyd1440 on 11/6/2011, 1:16 pm

Although the cattle fence looks very sturdy, I am leaning toward the nylon netting. Since I am new at SFG it may be best to follow things as close to the book as possible. So I will put on nylon netting next spring and see how it holds. Am actually concerned about the constuction of my trellis as it is not conduit but PVC so I will go with the netting.

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Re: vertical gardening structures

Post  PNG_Grandma on 11/6/2011, 1:30 pm

I forgot to mention in my post that I bought the netting at OSH, because I couldn't find it at HD or Lowe's. I think it was about $7 for a package that stretches across the 8' side of the garden box. We attached it at the top of 6' by tying it around the 2x2 wood crossbar. We also tied it down the sides and just hooked it on a few screws at the bottom edge. I didn't know if I'd have to get into that area during the growing time so I didn't want the netting latched down solidly. The slack hasn't seemed to have caused any problems for the weight of the squash. We've eaten a couple of these and of course they're much tastier than those we've bought in the stores! My fellow gardeners here in the Apollo Garden thought I would need slings but Nature has a way of adapting...the heavier the squash grew the thicker the stem grew...pretty amazing!

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Re: vertical gardening structures

Post  floyd1440 on 11/6/2011, 2:40 pm

What is OSH? Never heard of that store and I am not sure we have any in Pa. But we do have a Tractor supply and Agway however I have not gone down to these stores personally to see if they have any cattle gates yet. I do like the concept though and they look very sturdy if you have to cut them with bolt cutters.

To make them fit on my frame I would have to cut them and piece them together so I will have to get the dimentions to see what width they come in. :?:

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Re: vertical gardening structures

Post  PNG_Grandma on 11/6/2011, 3:35 pm

Ooops, sometimes I forget that not everyone shops where I do! OSH is Orchard Supply Hardware. You can see their site here http://www.osh.com/

You could tie two of the netting panels together...there are loose strings on each side, so just tie each line to the same line on the second panel and you'll have a good strong LONG version of the same thing! If you need to cut one just be sure to leave the string so you can still use the piece cut off. Hmmm, does this make sense? thinking

It does to me! Laughing

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Re: vertical gardening structures

Post  janezee on 11/6/2011, 3:39 pm

@floyd1440 wrote: To make them fit on my frame I would have to cut them and piece them together so I will have to get the dimentions to see what width they come in. :?:

If you look at the really fine, informative links that Lindacol provided, you'll find out what you need to know. Very Happy

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Re: vertical gardening structures

Post  Feistywidget on 11/9/2011, 7:34 pm

If you can't use T's for electrical conduit, then what can you use as a substitute?

According to the book this is what he lists as the materials for building a vertical garden frame.....

Legs:

One 10' length 1/2" steel electrical conduit

Top:

One 4' length 1/2" steel electrical conduit

Ground Rods:

Two 24" long 1/2" reinforcing bar

Connectors:

Two 90 degree elbows

Netting:

Nylon trellis netting 7" x 7" Openings 4' wide and 5' tall

Like I asked above, since trying to find T squares for electrical conduit is like finding a needle in a haystack, what's a suitable substitute? Can you order the T squares for electrical conduit on the internet?


Also the 10' length of steel conduit, can you just find it at hardware stores? If it's not labeled as that, is there another name for it that it goes by?

Where exactly does the cattle panel come into play? Is it what you use for the frame, or the netting? If for the netting, is it a substitute for the nylon netting?

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Re: vertical gardening structures

Post  southern gardener on 11/9/2011, 7:44 pm

My husband used galvanized "T's" for our trellis. We weren't able to screw in the pipe, since it wasn't threaded, but the "T's" worked just fine. My husband used 1/2" rigid conduit...AKA water pipe?? maybe that will help you...

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Re: vertical gardening structures

Post  camprn on 11/9/2011, 7:57 pm

I used the L (90*)connectors. I believe the electrical conduit is quite sturdy and will be fine for at least a 6 foot horizontal length at the top of the trellis, that is if the vertical side conduit pieces are well secured. They just do not make the metal electrical conduit connectors in a T, so it cannot be bought online. If you really needed a T connection you may be able to find one in PVC that is 1/2 inch. Or you may find something in the plumbing section of the store.
You should be able to get the metal electrical conduit at a Hardware store and it is usually sold by the ten foot length. It is easy to cut to the desired length with a hacksaw. I do not know if it is called by another name.

See below for a few examples:
A cattle panel trellis.


The cattle panel is semi flexible so it can be arched but needs to be well secured.


Here is one type of 90* connector.


Here is another. this is the type I used.


If you really needed a T type connection you could use a junction box.

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