I want to share with you my plans for making a homemade trellis. I have talked a lot on my blog about my cucumber trellis and my squash taking over the cucumber trellis. I have given a little information, here and there, but not enough to fully understand what I did. Here is a great picture showing how I start off. I am using tomato ladders purchased from Gardeners Supply. They are stacked three sections high reaching approximately six feet high. They come in red and green. You can see from the picture that I mixed the colors when I attached them together. They have the shape of a triangle with an open end, three vertical rods joined with horizontal cross-supports.
Making a Homemade Trellis from Tomato Ladders
I like these tomato ladders because they are made out of strong metal. They have three prongs that go into the ground giving them a lot of stability. I place several tall tomato ladders somewhat close together with their opening in the triangle pointing in different directions. Sometimes I include some that are stacked only 2 high to provide more growing area as the plants are beginning to grow. Then I put growing stakes across the cross supports of the tomato ladders. These are for the plants to attach to creating a wonderful homemade trellis. In this picture I used wooden stakes and also the green plastic-covered metal stakes. You can see the stakes sitting horizontally on the cross supports of the ladders.
Then I plant lots of cucumber seeds around the bottom of these tomato ladders. As they grow I encourage them to grow up the trellis. This means that I move the plants onto the trellis and eventually they attach on and grow up the trellis. The cucumber plants look like a cucumber tree! This year I am going to create several of these homemade trellises in my garden. They will be used for the Tahitian Melon Squash because they are so vigorous and productive. This will provide some vertical growing space. This is so they will grow up instead of out of my garden and all over the yard!
Below is a picture of tomato ladders being used for tomatoes which I don’t advocate. I use them to create trellises. For more information or to order click on the picture.
I have this squash that grew on my tomato ladder trellis at the end of the season. See the tan orb on the right side of the picture. I have three pictures in this post to show winter squash growing in a unique way! These tomato ladders, when grouped together, make great trellises. As you can see from the pictures the tomato ladder is supporting the squash quite nicely. I get the tomato ladders from Gardeners Supply. They are very strong and come in red or green. I stack three together so they are very tall.
It is time to pick it before the first frost. The squash can be damaged by the frost depending on the temperature and how long it stays at that temperature during the night. I have a few more squash to harvest—I have been harvesting them gradually since the summer. You need a sharp knife to harvest the winter squash because the stem is very hard and strong. It needs to be– to hold up the squash that grow off the ground.
Here is another picture of the squash that grew suspended about 4 feet off the ground, seemingly in mid-air.
I used tomato ladders to create a cucumber trellis. And then the squash vines which were growing crazy wild took over the cucumber trellis. After a while I noticed a squash growing about 4 feet off the ground. It was supported by a tomato ladder and a wooden stake. I had placed some wooden stakes across some of the tomato ladders to provide more growing area. I don’t recommend them for tomatoes but they are great for creating trellises for cucumbers and squash.
You can’t see the wooden stake so well in this picture. Basically I placed them through the tomato ladders, horizontal to them. I was trying to provide more support and growing area for the vines to attach to.
Tomato Ladder Trellis Close-up
In this picture you can see very close up that the squash is very conveniently resting on one of the crossbars of the tomato ladder and the wooden stake. You can also see from the picture that this squash is very large and heavy! It was supported nicely right up until the time of harvest. So I discovered how great the tomato ladders are for growing these heavy squash quite by accident. Because this squash happened to grow this way. It was a valuable lesson for me because next year I am going to create a few trellises in my garden for the squash to grow on to save space.
Here are some more links to my blog posts about my adventures this year growing these huge winter squashes:
Winter Squash Growing Great
Tahitian Melon Winter Squash
Better Than Butternut Squash