Trellising Tips

Homemade tomato trellises.
We've all seen tomato cages before, but there are much cheaper, more common-sense ways to trellis your fruits and veggies using discarded items you can find around your house.

Tomato Trellis: The "Stake-A-Cage"
The Old World Garden Farms' website has a great set of comprehensive instructions for building a tomato "Stake-A-Cage" trellis system for tomatoes and peppers. The simple plans involve nothing more than chicken wire, wooden stakes, and fencing nails. Each trellis will run you about $2 if you have to buy materials—but at Better Farm we had no problem tracking down some chicken wire and wood scraps to make the whole thing. Click here for full instructions. Here are a few shots of our finished Stake-A-Cages:

Other Simple Trellis Ideas
The basic premis of trellises couldn't be simpler: give viney, climbing plants something to grow onto. That can mean old dog gates, bed frames, ladders, poles, fencing, chicken wire, and many other items fair game for upcycling into trellises. Here are a few we're employing at Better Farm:
Asparagus beans climb a baby gate turned sideways.

A kiwi vine climbs the garden fence at Better Farm.
Loofah sponges make their way across a raised bed and up a wooden post.

Pole beans make their way along a bunk bed frame.
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Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.