I love to have some structures in the garden. Not only are they handy to use but they add interest and character to the look of your garden.
Cucumbers are one of those garden plants that really begs for a trellis! Many plants will grow on a trellis but in my opinion cucumbers need a trellis to reach their full production potential. A big sprawl of cucumber vines with the fruit growing on the grown will never be as productive as vines growing vertically.
A simple cucumber trellis need to be sturdy and move-able. You shouldn’t grow cucumbers in the same spot year after year, to help prevent pest and disease problems you need to put them in a different spot each year. So a few years back I came up with this simple, cheap trellis.
Here’s all you need to build a simple cucumber trellis:
18 feet of 2 x 2 lumber
4 heavy deck screws 2 1/2 inches long
12 to 20 – 1 1/8 inch eye hooks
Some garden twine (or in my case baling twine)
The lumber is the cost variable on this project. If you use redwood or cedar it will last longer but cost a lot more. Pine or fir will be 1/4 the cost but may not last as many years. Also you can by 2 x 2’s in pine but if you want to use any other type of lumber you will most likely buy 2 x 4’s and have to rip them on a table saw.
We chose to use Douglas Fir 2 x 4’s which we quickly ripped in half on the table saw. We then cut 3 of the resulting 2 x 2’s to 6 feet in length and cut a 45 degree angle on the bottom of 2 of the boards. The Douglas Fir should easily last 6 years, more likely 8.
These eye hooks are simple to use and should outlive the lumber and can be reused if you ever have to rebuild.
Drill a small pilot hole and then screw in the hooks by hand. We chose to put hooks on the sides of the trellis every 10 inches and along the top rail as well.
Now head out to the garden with your drill and deck screws. Drive the two side posts into the ground about 1 foot deep. We were lucky to have a post driver to do this, but if you don’t have a post driver you can use a heavy mallet or even a hammer.
Once the side posts are in, place your top rail on the posts and secure with a couple of deck screws on each side.
Now simply string your twine between the hooks in what ever pattern you like.
I have found that cucumbers need a little extra support at the bottom so I wrap an extra piece of twine around the posts at about 12 inches. This gives a spot for the cucumbers to climb through when they are still small. They don’t really start putting out runners and “grabbing” onto the twine with tendrils until they are about 12 inches tall. If you give them this first row to go through the plants are supported on both sides at the bottom.
When the season is over you can just cut off the twine (that brown garden twine usually only lasts 1 season). Then back out the screws at the top, pull the side posts out of the ground and bring the whole thing indoors to your garage or garden shed for the winter (this will help the wood last longer).
And there you go! A simple, sturdy trellis for your cucumbers (of course you can use this trellis for just about any climbing veggie or melon). The trellis keeps the fruit out of the dirt, the leaves and vines have much better air circulation and it’s easier for you to find the fruit and the bee’s to find the flowers.
What other simple garden structures do you use in your garden?