How to Grow Vegetables on a Trellis

Overview

Trellis gardening is an efficient way to grow vegetables in a compact environment. Trellis gardening also leads to healthier produce. Carleen Madigan, author of "The Backyard Homestead," points out that there is less damage as a result of rotting, insects and slugs when trellis gardening. Vegetables that readily accept trellis gardening include tomatoes, cucumbers, legumes such as beans and peas, melons and squashes. Eggplant and peppers can also be grown on a trellis. Pumpkins and watermelon, however, should be left to grow on the ground. Whether you are urban gardening and have minimal room to grow vegetables or own a multiple-acre garden with room for plants to sprawl, growing vegetables on a trellis makes sense.

Step 1

Buy or make appropriate trellising. Simple stakes, such as a metal fence post or a bamboo cane, can support peas and beans. A downed branch from a tree can also serve as a trellis. For tomatoes and peppers, use a cage or fence trellis. Tepee trellises are needed for larger vegetables such as melons and squash.

Step 2

Amend garden soil and prepare it for planting. Draw a diagram of the garden area, plotting out location of trellising. Plan to space trellises far enough apart to ensure that plants get light and air circulation.

Step 3

Install trellising in a well-drained, sunny location. Sink the trellis poles, using a mallet, 1 to 2 feet into the soil.

Step 4

Plant seeds or transplant seedlings. For cage trellises, plant one vegetable in the interior of the trellis. For fence trellises, space seedlings according to growing directions. Tepee trellises can have either one to two seedlings or six to eight seeds planted at the base of each pole. If planting seeds, thin seedlings to one to two per pole.

Step 5

Train around trellis as the plants grow. Legumes such as peas and beans are natural climbers, but tomatoes and other vegetables require training and monitoring.

Step 6

Examine plants on a biweekly basis. Adjust vines and branches so the growing fruit is hanging free.

Step 7

Create a sling for fruit on squash, melons or eggplant when the fruit reaches one-quarter to one-half its maturity size, as the weight of these fruit can break the branches of the plant. Cut a section of pantyhose or an old T-shirt to create a sling. Place the newly forming vegetable inside the sling. Tie to the trellis with a length of gardening twine.

Tips and Warnings

  • Wind and the weight of the vegetables can knock over trellises. Always sink trellis poles deep into the ground or provide other means of support.

Things You'll Need

  • Gardening area or containers
  • Trellis (cage, single stake or tepee)
  • Mallet
  • Gardening twine
  • Pantyhose or old T-shirt

References

  • Trellising
  • Trellises and Cages to Support Garden Vegetables

Who Can Help

  • Planting a Home Vegetable Garden
Keywords: growing vegetables, vegetables on a trellis, trellis gardening, trellising vegetables, urban gardening

About this Author

Rochelle French has been a writer and editor since 1994, providing services for businesses, novelists, and publishers. Her articles can be found on eHow.com and GardenGuides.com. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from University of California, Davis and is a published author of six pseudonymous novels.