Tuesday, July 16, 2019

DIY Cucumber Trellis from PVC Pipe

My poor garden. It's been a bit neglected since I've been spending so much time working at the community garden.

One day I looked and my cucumber plants had grown about 2 feet! And I still didn't have anything for them to climb! It was time to remedy that.

A neighbor moved recently and was giving things away out of their garage. I picked up a bunch of lumber for the community garden, but also snagged lots of 1/2" PVC pipes. They were about to be put to good use.

My cucumber plants are all in planters at the base of my deck. I knew I couldn't sink the pipes into the planter dirt because it was too shallow and wouldn't be able to support the weight of the plants. I opted to make a "tent" of sorts with a rectangular base for stability and the trellis posts coming up from that.

I had plenty of 1/2" PVC...much more than I needed. I chose 3 long pieces and cut them to the same length. Then I chose 2 more pieces for the upright supports and made sure they were cut to the same length (I used a hacksaw to make the cuts...it was quick and easy).

My upright pieces were about 4 feet long.
My three cross pieces were about 5 feet long.
I also cut 4 shorter lengths to 11". These would form the short sides of the rectangular base (2 on each side).

Of course, if you decide to make this, your dimensions will probably be different depending on the space you're making it for.

I picked up connector pieces and poly string at the hardware store. The 90° elbow connectors were only about 39 cents each. The Tee connectors were $1.50 each. For both of these, be sure to get the kind that is NOT threaded. And the poly string (twisted mason line #36) was just of $5. I probably used about half of this 230 ft roll. You can, of course, opt for a natural fiber twine. This was not an ideal choice for my climate.

My poor zucchini is wilting in the sun!
Once all the lengths of PVC are cut and the connectors purchased, it's just a matter of fitting everything together. I didn't glue them together because I wanted to be able to easily take it apart for storage. If you choose not to glue it, be sure you press the pieces together tightly to make sure they are securely attached. You don't want your trellis falling apart when you try to move it.

Adding the string:

I pulled out my stash of eye screws and cup hooks to try to determine the best way to add string to my trellis. I wound up using eye screws along both sides of the bottom support...10 on one side and 9 on the other, spaced evenly.

If you have trouble screwing the eye screws in, a handy tip is to use a screwdriver.

I also placed 2 cup hooks on either end of the top piece to secure my string. Thread the entire piece and tie it off before cutting it loose from the string roll. This way, you wind up with one long piece of string. I made sure to leave enough on the end to be able to tie it off on the two cup hooks.

And that's it! Now, I just needed to place around my cucumber planters.

I still have the shade cloth draped over everything to protect from the harsh sun and possible hail (It works well for smaller pea to dime sized hail but not anything larger).

Mr. LH wanted to grow corn this year so that's what we have on the deck in our Earthboxes.

Now my cucumbers can grow up the trellis instead of in tangled clumps near the ground. I may need to adjust the trellis if I find the weight of the plants requires more support but that would just require a few more connectors and a couple more pvc pipes to create another upright section in the middle.

I'm thinking I may need to make several similar contraptions to help cover & protect plants in the raised beds of the community garden...

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