Vegetable garden trellis can literally be built in a couple hours; all you need is access to bamboo and a pair of heavy duty shears.
I've built four of these in the last week; the first two, like the one above, are about 20 feet in length. The last two are more than 50 feet. Practice makes perfect; the last two giants still took less than two hours.
This page was last updated by Bernard Preston on 9th July, 2019.
We put in a vegetable garden fence, actually half a dozen of them, many years ago with a plan to have support every year for climbing plants like pole beans, limas and green peas; tomatoes, a granadilla vine or even butternut.
It was great for a few years but then it became apparent no matter how much humus we used that disease was increasing and the yield decreasing.
Crop rotation is a vital part of backyard permaculture; and planting legumes in the same place each year soon proved counter to the wisdom of the ages. Follow your summer beans with tall kale plants that also need support, for example, but not with green peas.
So now we grow a host of different vegetables on those fixed, steel garden fences; and the pole beans only every third or fourth year.
Legumes provide wonderful nitrogen fixation for the next crop, but beans followed by peas, and then limas proved to be less than successful; enter a mobile vegetable garden trellis.
Countering invasive aliens can be very frustrating, but eventually we accepted that short of bringing in agent orange, we might as well accept that they were here to stay, and make use of them where possible. Bamboo can be very useful in the garden for building a shield against hot sun, or our bees, and for growing a crop that needs staking and support.
The beauty of using bamboo is that whilst cutting back the invasive canes you can simultaneously put them to good use. And that can apply in one way or another to many of the unwanted aliens in your garden with a little imaginative thinking.
Your vegetable garden trellis need not cost a cent if you have access to some bamboo. It's perfect for crop rotation of climbing beans for example.
You will need a pair of strong shears. I cut the stakes to about 10 feet as they need to be sunk into the ground, and beans can grow quite tall given the space.
Make your trellis as long as you like. That shown in the graphic above is about 20 feet long, but I have another twice that length. When it's covered with leaves and fruit, it's prone to get blown over, so you can see two short lengths used to anchor the ends and in the graphic above I've also tied it to the boundary fence.
So, cut about 12 lengths for example for the teepee, two shorter pieces for the stabilization, and two longer lengths, one to sit above in the V, and another below.
Press the stakes as deeply into the ground as possible; at least 18". If the earth is compacted you will have to loosen it with a pick so that you can sink your bamboo adequately. Mark I that I built some five years ago was in fact blown over in a strong wind. Let them cross about five feet above ground, forming a teepee.
Now force the two short lengths into the ground so they lie along the line of the structure, preventing movement. Using some strong, but biodegradable twine, tie the ends securely.
Now cut two long lengths, placing one above the V, the other below, and bind them strongly with the twine.
Plant your seeds.
Really, cutting the bamboo, trimming the stakes to length, forcing them into the ground and tying the whole vegetable garden trellis took me less than two hours.
The beauty of pole beans is that they go on bearing for several months, and will keep you in vegetable protein every day. Obviously a shovelful of compost, perhaps mixed with well rotted chicken manure around each stake will improve your crop no end.
Once the beans are well established, we'll use worm wee to supplement the feed for our plants; for young, sensitive seedlings it must be well diluted.
If you've never considered the wonder of worm farms, then it's time to go the next step into organic gardening. They will clean up all your kitchen waste, and a whole lot more and turn it in weeks into beautiful compost for your veggies.
I'll be adding photos as the beans grow; come back every few weeks to watch the progress of our plants.
You could use this just as easily for tomatoes, vines such as butternut or gem squash and a host of other tall vegetables.
I would leave this garden trellis in place for two or perhaps three years, and then discard it and start anew in a new location.
The first beans are already over a metre tall in just a couple weeks. Soon Jack will have something to climb!
It's now two months and we are enjoying a handful of beans every night; the plants have nowhere to go, so I've placed some cross bracing between the two trellis' for support and more room for them to expand. That will also provide more cover to shade out the weeds that are proliferating in the compost and worm wee.
There's nothing to cooking green beans.
A garden like this will produce three of the four vitamins necessary to prevent the onset and rapid progression of frailty syndrome. Do you know what they are and which one is missing? Researchers found they were far more effective from your food than in supplements.
I'm a retired chiropractor; the closer you get to seventy, the more passionate you get about enjoying a long and full life. One small but important discipline for the gardener is two or three minutes of lower back exercises done every morning before getting out of bed.
Otherwise you'll be consulting a chiropractor before long Take my word for it; prevention always did make more sense than a cure, and nowhere is it more true than in the garden.
Even so, I still need an adjustment every month or two; with the best will in the world, with heavy turning of the compost pile, or sleeping upright in a plane, most of us need regular chiropractic. Aim for at least half a dozen treatments every year, but more if you've had serious injuries to your spine obviously.
I once needed 18 treatments in a month when I injured my lower back lifting a heavy patient. Follow this slipped disc diary for more about that.
But if it seems like you will need to mortgage your house to pay for all that treatment, then move on to another chiropractor; greed I confess has invaded our profession too.
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"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you ever need."
- Marcus Cicero, Roman politician, lawyer and orator
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