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Cucumber Trellis idea

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Post  fiddleman 3/28/2011, 8:47 pm

I've been growing cucumbers vertically for a couple of years now and have been very pleased with the results... Instead of growing straight up, I put the trellis on a slant and supported it with a couple of braces mid length. The braces are placed on a couple of patio pavers, so as not to sink into the ground. So I have 8 feet of trellis which only goes 6 feet into the air, making it easier to take care of the plant. (I don't have a picture of last years trellis as I had lengthened it a bit, but the idea was the same.) As a bonus, I feed all of the cucumbers through the garden fencing so they are suspended underneath making it easy to spot and keep an eye on the cucumbers for which ones are ready to pick.

The trellis is made out of 1 x 3 lumber and large opening garden wire fencing. It has been more than strong enough to hold up all of the cucumbers and plants with nary a wimper.

Here is a picture from the side (sort of) Sorry about the quality, through a cheap phone camera.
[img]Cucumber Trellis idea 08-06-11[/img]

And here is a picture of the trellis from the north side- if you look close, you can see the cucumbers hanging down.

[img]Cucumber Trellis idea 08-06-10[/img]

As you can see by the number of flowers, there were TONS of cucumbers that year, this was on the 6th of August, and we had more than our family, my in-laws, our neighbors, and the folks at work could eat. All out of 3 cucumber plants.

Anyway, I hope maybe some others would enjoy the idea.

Mark
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Post  Megan 3/28/2011, 8:56 pm

Great trellis idea and cukes, Mark! (Handsome cabbage there, too.)
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Post  Furbalsmom 3/28/2011, 10:09 pm

Mark, those are great cucumber trellises. Of course you could grow other things on them too. Looks pretty substantial to me. Good Job!
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Post  westie42 3/29/2011, 2:34 am

Nifty idea of letting gravity reveal your fruits, a simple but brilliant idea. In my pre SFG garden I used cages for my tomatoes made from 4x4 concrete mesh and one much bigger one for a cucumber tower. Do you think I can reuse that one to make one like yours Mark.
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Post  jayjaym 3/29/2011, 5:46 am

Excellent idea. I'm going to see if I can work this into my garden this year.
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Post  bettyd_z7_va 3/29/2011, 8:34 am

Thanks for posting these pictures.

I've been thinkin' and thinkin' on how to trellis my cukes and squash!

This will work nicely.

I'll be showing Hubby as soon as he gets home and placing my order with him!!

Betty
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Post  BackyardBirdGardner 3/29/2011, 8:55 am

Great idea! This is an outstanding twist on a trellis.
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Post  Blackrose 3/29/2011, 10:31 am

@westie42 wrote:Nifty idea of letting gravity reveal your fruits, a simple but brilliant idea. In my pre SFG garden I used cages for my tomatoes made from 4x4 concrete mesh and one much bigger one for a cucumber tower. Do you think I can reuse that one to make one like yours Mark.

Concrete mesh sounds like a good idea. Would it rust though?
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Post  yosoypanadero 3/29/2011, 10:47 am

I like the angled trellis that you have going on. To go along with that same idea, I was looking through a catologue that was trying to sell some trellis units that were similar to yours, but with one twist. If you take that angled trellis and put it so it hangs OVER the SFG from the front to back (south facing) then you will have a shade barrier over the 4x4 SFG wherein which you can plant your lettuce (supposedly) during the summer. The cucumbers or watermelon or whatever you are vertically growing on the trellis over the garden will provide ample shade over your garden for those long summer days when growing small greens seems impossible. Just thought I would pass this info along....
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Post  Blackrose 3/29/2011, 10:51 am

@yosoypanadero wrote:I like the angled trellis that you have going on. To go along with that same idea, I was looking through a catologue that was trying to sell some trellis units that were similar to yours, but with one twist. If you take that angled trellis and put it so it hangs OVER the SFG from the front to back (south facing) then you will have a shade barrier over the 4x4 SFG wherein which you can plant your lettuce (supposedly) during the summer. The cucumbers or watermelon or whatever you are vertically growing on the trellis over the garden will provide ample shade over your garden for those long summer days when growing small greens seems impossible. Just thought I would pass this info along....

I had the exact same thought! That's why I was interested if the concrete mesh would rust. My DH is going to make me one of these with a PVC frame and we're trying to figure out what the best material for the trellis part would be:
http://www.veseys.com/ca/en/store/tools/plantsupports/wirecucumber
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Post  westie42 3/29/2011, 12:25 pm

BlackRose It rusts and rusts and rusts some more so bad that my wife drug all mine once to the curb for trash pickup saying they were horrible looking things. Getting po'd was a gross understatement. Rust is iron oxide (FeO2 I think) what more could one wish to have the tomatoes playing on, they are a tomato playground of the healthiest kind supplying all kinds of iron plus oxygen, The rust washes into the soil, yum yum. The concrete mesh is about 3/16" inch thick so will almost never rust through very tuff stuff. I could be way off base but seems that is an ideal material. Mine are probably 10 years old and mostly doing very well. A bit pricy what isn't when it works in the garden. My biggest concern was is the 4" grid possibly kinda big for the cukes. Last year a cantaloupe grew up a neighboring tomato cage and grew one that was stuck exactly half way in that 4x4 opening. When it was ripe I cut it in half still on the vine but did still get it harvested. I love concrete mesh especially for its rusting. Iowa gardens are full of those towers and cages. I can't afford a Mersades Benz so this is my status symbol the Cadillac of tomato cages. At least to us poor old...... gardeners.



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Post  Blackrose 3/29/2011, 12:46 pm

Thank you westie. That is good information. My original plan was to use trellis netting, but my DH is concerned that it won't hold up to the weight of the plants if it's placed on a 45 degree angle as opposed to straight up and down as in Mel's Tomato Trellis.
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Post  boffer 3/29/2011, 12:50 pm

@westie42 wrote:I love concrete mesh especially for its rusting.

You and me both, westie. Or am I just to cheap and lazy to paint it! rofl
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Post  westie42 3/29/2011, 2:00 pm

Boffer you are just to wise to paint or do anything else that mite inhibit the bare iron mesh from contributing elemental supplements to your food.
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Post  westie42 3/29/2011, 2:10 pm

oh Black Rose an second thought I mite go about half way up the slope and put in a wooden or pipe cross piece then tie it to the mesh for support. Cant imagine the cukes and vines are real heavy but that would insure sufficient support. A full grocery sack of cukes is a strain on the sack and all this stuff will hang there thru growing season.
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Post  fiddleman 3/29/2011, 8:12 pm

@yosoypanadero wrote:I like the angled trellis that you have going on. To go along with that same idea, I was looking through a catologue that was trying to sell some trellis units that were similar to yours, but with one twist. If you take that angled trellis and put it so it hangs OVER the SFG from the front to back (south facing) then you will have a shade barrier over the 4x4 SFG wherein which you can plant your lettuce (supposedly) during the summer. The cucumbers or watermelon or whatever you are vertically growing on the trellis over the garden will provide ample shade over your garden for those long summer days when growing small greens seems impossible. Just thought I would pass this info along....

If I was going to put a trellis over a square foot garden I would go straight up at least a few feet then angle the trellis at that point back over the garden on a slight upward gradient...

My reasoning is the center of the square is going to get pretty difficult to get into with apex of the trellising heading up from ground level so to speak. By training the cucumbers or whatever on the outside of the trellis, then back across the top, you should have enough room for the fruit to hang down and yet not so much as to keep banging you in the head while you do your watering/weeding/harvesting affraid

Of course the opposite end will need to be braced appropriately, but it should work okay. For me in this part of the country the sun doesn't get high enough in the sky to really be a problem... and the temps only get above 90 for (usually) maybe a week at most. The Great Lakes have a moderating influence on the climate in this part of the state.

The garden fencing hasn't rusted for 5 years; it was re-used from another project!

All the best,
Mark
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