Build A Heavy Duty Trellis for Cucumbers, Peas and Other Vining Crops

Some vegetable crops like peas and non-bush type cucumbers, small melons, and gourds need supports to grow.  They don’t need something as large as the supports I use for winter squash, but I wanted something that was rugged and quick to set up.  I was very happy with the rugged tomato cages I made with concrete reinforcing web, and thought I could do the same for a cucumber support.

Concrete reinforcing web can be purchased at the larger home remodeling stores.  If you know someone in the construction business you might be able to get short roll end pieces that are not worth messing with for the construction people, but plenty large for your needs. 

The roll of reinforcing web I have is 60” tall. The wire is about 1/8” diameter steel. The squares are 6” which is large enough to easily put your hand through for harvesting. Roll out a length of about 4’ or whatever length you want.  Be careful as it will want to snap back on you. 

Drawing of the home made cucumber trellis.

CAUTION!

Working with concrete reinforcing web can be dangerous! Wear gloves and safety glasses!

The wires are hard to cut. You can use a bolt cutter if you have one. Otherwise you can cut about half way through the wire with a hack saw. Then use pliers to bend the wire back and forth at the cut until the wire breaks.  

Flatten the mesh out. Use a wire brush to remove any surface rust.  Paint the mesh with rust inhibiting paint. I got a can of dark green that looks good in the garden.

The vertical supports poles are made of 1” diameter steel electrical conduit. This stuff is pretty cheap and lasts forever.  Make the lengths about 2’ longer than the height of the mesh. You can paint them as well if you want to, but I didn’t bother.

When the paint on the mesh has dried, alternately bend the horizontal wires on the ends in and out. This lets the vertical support poles slide into the mesh.

The cucumber trellis is ready to use.  Just pound the stakes into the ground and you are ready to go. Pull the stakes out at the end of the season.  I don’t bother to even remove the stakes from the web. I just lean the whole thing up against a wall in my shed for the winter.

These supports will easily handle the most fruit laden cucumber vines.They are easy to build and I expect will last a lifetime. The fruits are clean, have no yellow spots, and are easy to pick. According to a study by North Carolina State University, cucumber plants grown on a trellis are 2-3 times more productive than those grown on the ground.

You can also make lighter weight versions of this. I have a couple made from garden fencing that was left over from rabbit proofing the vegetable garden. It has openings about 2" X 2".  Tomato stakes are used instead of conduit for the poles.  It is not strong enough for melons and larger cucumbers, but is great for peas and pickling cucumbers. 

Cucumber growing on trellis

Cucumbers grow well formed on a trellis.

A lighter weight trellis made of garden fencing. It is great for peas and smaller vining crops.

© 2009 - 2016 Gary C. Sutcliffe

  

  

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