Figuring Out How To Trellis Vining Vegetables

Posted on Jul 12 2010 - 3:53am by Mike Lieberman

Now that I have three self-watering containers with vining vegetables – one tomato plant and two cucumber seeds – I need to figure out the best way to trellis them.

Since my balcony garden is not huge, I need to utilize the limited space the best way that I can. What I don’t want to happen is the for the plants to grow out of control like my cherry tomatoes did on my balcony last year.

I’ve been starting to look around for items that can be reused to help grow the plants upwards instead of outwards. The railing on the balcony might be a good option to help train the vegetables.

The other day, I came across a shipping palette that I might be able to use either as is or break down the pieces to build something similar to the cucumber trellis that I built last year.

What are some ways that you’ve been able to trellis your vining vegetables with items that are lying around the house?


20 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Sketchkat06 July 12, 2010 at 4:50 pm -

    Hmmm. Well since it looks like a public balcony you're growing on I'm guessing you're a bit restricted in what you can do…

    Well, there are bamboo sticks which are pretty cheap at the big box, or twine. Don't know if you've got anything above the railing to attach to, although that intermediate pretty metal post thingy looks promising. You could winde twine from the rail to that in sort of a diagonal (diamond?) way. If there are any hook above or you can get permission to put some in – then you could do a cool twine netting trellis, even hang the bamboo stick horizontally… uh oh, creativity flowing here o.O.

    Or you could just but and hang up a nylon netting, or look for abandoned metal mesh to stake up. I think you could mount just about anything to the longest of the pallet boards and tie those to the railing to hold it vertical.

    I have the good fortune of a wooden fence I can mutilate. In my dad's garage I found some brackets that are for closet systems to hold up the hanger pole and attach shelves to…I put some up on the fence with other actual hanging pot brackets I found at Goodwill. I have strung actual twine twine and nylon twine I also found in the garage between those brackets, several lines of them. Some of the tomatos are already growing on them, tied to follow it, and I hope my cucs make it that big too. Now that summer's in full swing I also mutilated a bedskirt I found at the SA and tied it as a mini canopy to the trellis to shade my green children. It's not gorgeous, but I like it, you can see pics of it on my blog.

    God Luck! -M

  2. Mike Lieberman July 12, 2010 at 5:46 pm -

    Damned. Thanks for all the ideas.

  3. Sketchkat06 July 12, 2010 at 5:51 pm -

    You're welcome. Let me know if you have any Q's.

  4. Whenuwish1 July 13, 2010 at 2:51 pm -

    I took some scrap wood and made two squares — then I hinged them together at the top and stapled chicken wire to the squares. They are big and tall enough to set over the bucket (resting on the ground — kinda like a tent) and I just train the cucumbers to grow the direction I want.

    ( I know, I know….I've GOT to get pictures…..)

    Next year, I think I'm going to make really big ones that I can fit more than one bucket under…..a portable “cucumber patch”.

  5. Girlarchitect July 13, 2010 at 4:10 pm -

    On my balcony, I use fishing line to trellis peas, beans and nasturiums. I attached eye bolts to the planter box and the ceiling of the balcony directly above where the planters are located – and tied the fishing line between the two. Fishing line works great for lighter plants but you might need a stronger line (rope) to hold up the tomatoes and cucumbers.

  6. Mike Lieberman July 13, 2010 at 4:40 pm -

    Yea pictures please. I'm having trouble with the visual. I think I get it…or not.

  7. Mike Lieberman July 13, 2010 at 4:41 pm -

    I think that's the route that I'm most likely gonna go. Thanks.

  8. Whenuwish1 July 13, 2010 at 8:34 pm -

    Here is a link to the web site where I got the idea — I just made mine two-sided and put the bucket under it. Make sense?

  9. Mike Lieberman July 13, 2010 at 8:46 pm -

    So the cukes are growing under it?

  10. Whenuwish1 July 14, 2010 at 6:32 pm -

    Yep — and they are doing fine. The leaves and vines actually shade the bucket and keep the bucket nice and cool on the really hot days we've been having.

    Next year I'm going bigger with this and will try 4 buckets underneath. I'm also going to try this for my beans and peas. I'll keep you posted!

  11. Mike Lieberman July 14, 2010 at 7:25 pm -

    Hm, I thinks that makes sense to me.

  12. Alison=] July 19, 2010 at 5:21 am -

    Entering contest to win seed packets! Thanks for all your videos!

  13. PenguinQueen July 19, 2010 at 4:29 pm -

    One year we used kitchen string and securred it to the branches of a tree and a length of pipe to allow the peas to climb up. Last year we used a 2×2 fence post as the center of a “May Pole” design for the pole beans.

    As reasonably decent pack rats we can always find something in the garage for the climbing things to climb on. This year it is some metal screen left over from building a trailer that I am encouraging my cucumbers, tomatoes and cantaloupe to climb. The tomatoes are being woven through a large piece of metal fencing that my dh found somewhere. The holes on the fence are 8″x6″ so there is plenty of room to stick my hand through to get at the fruit.

  14. Mike Lieberman July 19, 2010 at 5:06 pm -

    Nice. I'm sure that I'll come up with something.

  15. Chris March 8, 2011 at 10:36 pm -

    i used I-hooks in my balcony ceiling and strands of jute to give my plants something to hold onto and it worked great. eventually i ran second jute strands to the floor above me and i had a 2 story tall cucumber plant and hops plants. (i have access to the balcony above mine so i could grab my cukes). its a very affordable set up. i have enough jute left over for this year and next too. for tomatoes and such i just made loose loops of jute and tied them around my balcony railings to support the plants. hope this helps some folks out there.

  16. Mike Lieberman March 8, 2011 at 11:51 pm -

    Nice. Good stuff and thanks for sharing.

  17. Mart_311 June 2, 2011 at 3:33 am -

    Spare crochet thread tied to the top and bottom of your hand rail about every 2 inches is great for the cukes, peas, beans and other light vines. You could also make a frame out of wood, attach nails or tacks every couple of inches on the top and bottom to attach string. 
    Odds and ends of yarn can tie the tomatoes to a steak or espalier your tomato plants.  If the yarn is synthetic be sure to dispose of it properly at the end of the season. Old bluejeans and t-shirts can be cut into 1/2 inch wide strips and used as ties.  Cotton will break down, synthetics should be collected and disposed properly.

  18. Mike Lieberman June 2, 2011 at 1:35 pm -

    Thanks for tips and advice.

  19. Calogero Mira December 31, 2011 at 3:35 am -

    Thanks a lot for the tips :-).

  20. Mike Lieberman January 3, 2012 at 10:34 am -

    My pleasure. Glad you likes.

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