My kitchen garden is small—just under 200 square feet—but I managed to cram a ton of vegetables into it by growing summer and winter squash, cucumbers, beans, tomatoes, and peas up trellises. Growing these crops up instead of out frees up a bunch of real estate in our raised beds for beets, carrots, salad greens, flowers, and herbs.
We install a lot of freestanding trellises made out of bamboo and cedar, but last summer we decided to convert our west-facing, 6-foot tall fence into a growing space by installing panels of welded wire mesh on it. The mesh is sold at hardware stores for concrete reinforcing. We bought mesh with four-inch square holes and each 4-foot by 6-foot piece cost less than five dollars. The grand total for this super functional trellis? Fifteen bucks.
Jon installed the panels on the fence by stapling them to the horizontal and vertical fence posts with sturdy ½ inch staples. It took him less than half an hour and was totally worth the time. I planted pole beans underneath each horizontalvertical wire and it was the perfect spacing. The beans filled in quickly—disguising our boring fence—and they loved soaking up all the hot afternoon sun. We also inadvertently grew a butternut squash up the trellis because it jumped off its teepee, scrambled up the wire, and eventually grew over the fence and onto our front lawn!
This weekend, I’m going to plant English peas up the fence trellis. When the peas finish producing in June, I’ll yank them out and grow ‘Satsuki Madori’ cucumbers in their place. Yum!