June 25, 2017

Building a Garden Trellis with PVC

In both raised bed and square foot gardening, trellises are used to grow vertical instead of horizontal. This provides for maximum growing space in the smallest footprint.

The All New Square Foot Gardening, Second Edition book lists rebar, electrical conduit and trellis netting, for the supplies to make a trellis. I looked at that option and didn’t care for the trellis netting so I came up with what I think is a better solution.

It includes green vinyl coated garden fence, ½ inch PVC, some PVC elbows, a few long threaded rods, zip ties and green spray paint. For tools you’ll need a hack saw to cut the threaded rods, a hack saw or PVC Pipe Cutter to cut the PVC, a hammer to pound the threaded rods and a wire snips to trim the zip ties.

I wish I could give you a video or step by step pictures, but the only ones I have are with the trellises completely done and in place. If this article doesn’t make sense I’ll make a video this spring.

  1. Measure the length of the box and cut a piece of PVC to that length as well as two vertical pieces the same length as each other, I made them around four feet.
  2.  Put the three pieces together with two PVC elbows.
  3. Unroll the green fencing and cut a length the same length and width as your PVC frame. You’ll want it off the soil, but only a couple of inches. Lay the PVC over the frame and attached it with some zip ties, every foot or so.
  4. Cut the threaded rod into two 4 foot sections and placed them in the ground, the width of the PVC frame apart from each other. Pound each piece two feet deep and slide the PVC over the threaded rods. Voila, trellis!

We left the PVC white the first year and it was UGLY. We took them to the garage and spray painted them with some green outdoor spray paint at the beginning of our second year.

(click the picture to get a better view)

After harvest, just pull the vegetation from the trellis and throw it in the composter. Put the trellis in the shed for next year.

We used the same green vinyl coated fencing with garden zone utility fencing to surround our garden. The young rabbits were still able to fit through, so we added chicken wire to the bottom two feet. This completely stopped them.

I made a PVC square the size of the entry for a “gate”. I used PVC elbows on the top and PVC “T’s” on the bottom. I used a 3’ section of threaded rod on one side and a 1’ section of threaded rod on the other. We used the longer side as the stationary side, lifting the smaller side off the threaded rod to pivot the “gate” open.

Here is a trellis I came up with for pole green beans, its six feet tall, but they would have kept going. I put the trellises this direction to make it easier to reach the beans, as it’s in the corner of the garden with fence on two sides. I also didn’t put them in very tight, this way I could slide them side to side a little to make more room.

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  1. Pretty neat !! We NEED a garden.

  2. One piece of advice: Don’t leave them outside in a heavy snowstorm, or you may have broken pieces of PVC pipe instead of a trellis. The netting and dead leaves caught enough snow to completely crush the arbor that I made out of PVC. It was a large storm, but not unprecedented, and certainly not biblical. The horizontal part of the arbor was maybe 4×4 feet, and could not hold up to the snow load.

    I upgraded to 3/4 inch copper pipe, and it has outlasted the PVC by many years, and looks nice if you like the patina of old copper. Same geometry, same angles for fittings, but much stronger, and stronger still because it is soldered.

    I also left off the horizontal netting to leave the top more open and allow the snow to fall through. The only vine support I provide is vertical.

    • Excellent point, I would advise to put the trellis’ in the shed during the winter.

      • These are really good ideas. I’ve been trying to figure out a a fence and gate solution for my garden and this is a great help. I live in a snowy area so I’ll keep slick’s idea in mind! I’m not a prepper, but I do like fresh vegetables. This should work for Hindus too–and Norwegians and Swedes alike!

        (I don’t recall ever reading much about biblical blizzards, mostly earthquakes and fires.)

        • Chris Ray says:

          I’m glad you like the idea. The nice thing about PVC is that you can make it any size you need.

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