How to Grow Vegetables on a Picket Fence


Training vegetables to grow vertically saves space in the garden bed. Tomatoes, squash and beans are just a few of the the vegetables that have vine-like growth habits. Instead of installing a new trellis in the garden, make use of your existing picket fences. Most vegetables require full sunlight and well-drained soil. Build garden beds near fences in areas that offer these conditions in order to grow the plants successfully. The height of the picket fence is also important, as indeterminate tomatoes and beans may reach up to 6 feet or more, while squash and determinate tomatoes require less height.

Step 1

Prepare the fence for trellising. Leave the fence as it is for tomatoes and other large vine crops. Stretch a length of bean netting along the front of the fence and secure it with garden ties to the picket slats for beans and other narrow vine crops.

Step 2

Sow the seeds along the base of the fence, planting at the depth and spacing recommended on the seed packets. Plant vegetable seedlings at the spacing recommended and at the same depth they were growing at in their nursery pots.

Step 3

Guide beans and small, self-climbing vines onto the mesh. Wrap the growing tip around the mesh one to two times clockwise. These plants then climb the mesh on their own.

Step 4

Tie the main stem of tomatoes, squash and other large vines to the picket slat. Wrap the garden tie around the slat and vine and tie it loosely. Space ties every 6 to 8 inches along the stem, placing the ties right above lateral stems so that the tie does not strip off the leaves and developing fruits if the plant sags.

Tips and Warnings

  • Vegetables, particularly squashes, may grow through the picket slats and emerge from the back of the fence or become wedged between slats. Check for this occurrence regularly and push developing vegetables back through to the proper side of the fence; otherwise, they may damage the slats as they reach maturity.

Things You'll Need

  • Plant ties


  • University of Minnesota Extension: Trellises and Cages To Support Garden Vegetables
Keywords: picket fence trellis, trellising vegetable plants, fence grown vegetables

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.