It may be cold out there, but since there aren’t many garden tasks for January, this is a great time to bundle up and get to work. I like to use these winter months to take inventory of what I have, make lists of what I need, and plan structures for summer planting.
Many veggies require some kind of support. Cucumbers, pole beans, and winter squash require some kind of structure for vertical growing. As you create your garden plan, remember to keep this in mind and plan accordingly.
There are a number of options for garden structures and they don’t have to cost a fortune. Perhaps one of the most flexible and useful items in the garden is a cattle panel, available at most farm stores (like Tractor Supply) for around $20. A simple trellis can be made by using a cattle panel, 4 t-posts, and wire.
Drive two posts into the ground 3 feet apart. This will secure one side of the cattle panel.
- Drive the other two posts into the ground to secure the other side of the trellis. The sides should be about 5 feet apart but can vary from about 3-6 feet depending on your needs.
- With the assistance of a friend, carefully bend the cattle panel to fit within the fence posts, creating an arch.
- Secure the panel to the fence posts with wire about 1 foot from the bottom and 1 foot from the top on all four corners. (Additional instructions and photos can be found here)
In my garden, this trellis covers the entrance. In early spring it will be covered in English peas, then later in the year, it will support summer squash. I’m not concerned about the lack of design in this trellis, it is meant to support and highlight the beauty of my plants. Once the large blooms of the Tatume squash emerge, no one will notice the metal, all they will see is the breathtaking beauty of nature.
Tiffany Selvey is a Master Gardener who writes about her passion for growing, cooking, and living naturally at www.Songbird-Gardens.com. When she’s not elbow deep in soil, she enjoys raising a very active son, laughing with her husband, and wrangling their five pets. Follow Tiffany’s gardening adventures on facebook and on twitter.