How to Build a Tomato Box Trellis


A tomato trellis is a must for keeping tomato plants off the ground and improving air circulation around the stems and leaves. While there is a variety of tomato cages and trellis systems available at an even larger range of prices, you can make your own for less in an afternoon. By building a tomato box trellis you can grow tomatoes wherever you want and still give them the support they need.

Step 1

Arrange two 4-foot 2-by-12 boards, and two 2-foot 2-by-12 boards to form a rectangle with each board resting on its 2-inch side. Align the boards so the ends of the 2-foot boards butt up against the sides of the 4-foot boards.

Step 2

Screw three evenly spaced galvanized screws through the 4-foot boards and into the ends of the 2-foot boards to connect the box. Set your plywood over the rectangle to close the box and screw through the plywood and into the boards every 6 inches to attach. Flip the box over and set aside.

Step 3

Lay the 5-foot long 2-inch boards on the ground running vertically. Space the two outermost boards 40 inches apart. Adjust the two middle boards to be evenly spaced between the outer boards about 1 foot apart.

Step 4

Set the 44-inch boards horizontally over the vertical boards. Align one board along the top ends of the vertical boards. Space the three remaining boards a foot apart from the top downward. Screw these boards together with one screw at each intersection or use twine to tie the boards together.

Step 5

Stand up the trellis with the unconnected ends of the vertical boards pointing down. Put the trellis inside the box you built in Steps 1 and 2.

Step 6

Align the trellis along one of the 4-foot boards of the box to be the back of the tomato box. Screw three screws through the 4-foot board and into each of the four legs of the trellis.

Step 7

Fill the box with potting soil up to 1 inch from the top. Plant two tomato seedlings into the box, 3 feet apart and 6 inches in front of the trellis. As the tomatoes reach each new rung of the trellis, use plant ties to attach the main stem to the support.

Things You'll Need

  • Two 2-by-12 boards, 4 feet long
  • Two 2-by-12 boards, 2 feet long
  • Drill
  • Galvanized screws
  • Plywood, 1-inch thick, 28 by 48 inches
  • Four 2-by-2 inch boards, 5 feet long
  • Four 2-by-2 inch boards, 44 inches long
  • Twine, if desired
  • Potting soil
  • Tomato seedlings
  • Plant ties


  • "Vegetable Gardening: Your Ultimate Guide"; Robert J. Dolezal; 2000
  • "Trellises and Arbors"; Scott Atkinson, Phillip Edinger; 1999
Keywords: tomato trellis, tomato box trellis, planter trellis

About this Author

Margaret Telsch-Williams is a freelance, fiction, and poetry writer from the Blue Ridge mountains. When not writing articles for Demand Studios, she works for as a contributor and podcast co-host.