Vertical Gardening: Teepee Trellis

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I learned in the 1980s when I first started vegetable gardening in small spaces that it was absolutely necessary to grow some vegetables on trellises, and I learned last year when I grew my first indeterminate tomatoes, that they must be staked. I had a massive jungle and few tomatoes. I did, however, have small trellises for my snow peas and cucumbers that were made from wooden stakes and chicken wire on the ends of my raised beds.

Last year's backyard garden: tomatoes, basil, cucumbers (left), lettuce, spinach, garlic, carrots, herbs, snow peas (right)

Last year’s backyard garden: tomatoes, basil, cucumbers (left), lettuce, spinach, garlic, carrots, herbs, snow peas (right)

What I did this past spring was make two different types of structures from saplings and branches that I pruned or cut from trees on my property. Both turned out to be perfect for the jobs they were assigned.

Bean Teepee (or in my case, Cucumber)

I cut or used recently cut saplings that were at least eight feet long, tied them at the top with paracord (wish I had used vines) and buried them in the ground in a circle. I then dug the ground around and a little inside the teepee.

Teepee trellis

Teepee trellis

I added organic matter and planted bean and cucumber seeds along with some dill. I ran twine all around the saplings leaving an opening on the shady side for entrance into the teepee.

Pickling cucumbers and dill

Pickling cucumbers and dill

The result has been astounding with an abundant harvest of cucumbers so far. Not one bean, though.

Romano beans (left side) and cucumbers (remaining three sides)

Romano beans (left side) and cucumbers (remaining three sides)

Teepee trellis July 9, 2013

Teepee trellis July 9, 2013

Lots of Suyo Long cucumbers

Lots of Suyo Long cucumbers. July 15, 2013

Teepee trellis, July 29, 2013

Teepee trellis, July 29, 2013

Next year I will probably plant black beans or snow peas around this trellis and build a second teepee trellis for cucumbers since I rotate crops (do not plant the same thing in the same place two years in a row to prevent insect and disease damage).

Additional ideas and links:

I have always wanted a wattle fence. There is just something amazingly beautiful about such a fence, made from branches and saplings. Mother Earth News has a great article on using twigs and branches to make beautiful garden structures.

Another excellent article entitled, Arbors, Trellises, and the Edible Garden.

BHG article with downloadable instructions on building a Willow Arbor.

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One response »

  1. Pingback: Fruits and Vegetables Plant in Your School Garden – Gardening with Miss Pestorius

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