5 Everyday Items That Make Great Trellises

Many things that can be found around your home actually double as great trellises for vining crops.

by Jessica Walliser
PHOTO: iStock/Thinkstock

Building or purchasing a trellis or arbor to support vining plants can be expensive. Why not try one of these awesome upcycled garden trellis ideas instead? Each breathes new life into a household item that may otherwise be discarded. If you don’t happen to have any on hand, you can easily find them on the cheap at flea markets, thrift stores, garage sales and community swap meets.

1. Bean Ladder

ladder trellis
Jessica Walliser

An old wooden or aluminum ladder is perfect for supporting climbing pole or runner bean tendrils. Simply open the ladder in the garden and plant seeds at its base. To expedite climbing, you can also run lengths of twine from the top rung to the bottom to give the plants a little extra something to grip.

2. Umbrella Tepee

umbrella trellis
Jessica Walliser

This unique trellis is the perfect way to support snap peas, cucumbers or gourds—and it’s oh so easy to install! Take an old wooden or metal patio umbrella and cut away the fabric. Sink the center pole into the garden and open the ribs of the umbrella just enough to fill the area. Plant seeds of vining plants where each rib meets the soil and train the seedlings to climb up the umbrella.

3. Closet Organizer Trellis

closet organizer trellis
Jessica Walliser

I have two of these trellises in my vegetable garden, and I absolutely love them! They’re made from old metal closet organizers my family no longer needed. I took the frame out of the closet, removed the wire drawers, and spray painted them. Then, I hammered metal T-bar stakes into the ground and secured the closet organizer to the stakes with zip ties to keep it from blowing away. To grow pole beans, I ran four lengths of jute twine from the top of the frame down to the ground on each side. The pole beans climb up the twine, as well as the metal frame. To grow cucumbers, I covered the frame with nylon garden netting to give the cuke’s tendrils plenty of places to grab hold.

4. Conduit Tepee

conduit trellis
Jessica Walliser

Aluminum conduit is useful for so many things in the garden. If you have a friend who’s an electrician, ask them to save any leftover pieces. If you don’t have an electrician for a friend or don’t have any lying around, it’s inexpensive to buy at the hardware store. To make this tepee, I took three 4-foot-long pieces and secured them at the top with aluminum wire. Then, I took the wire and spiraled it down the conduit to make a tepee in one of my containers to grow a few scarlet runner beans.

5. Inner-Spring Trellis

inner box spring trellis
Jessica Walliser

Anyone who has an old inner spring mattress sitting around might consider turning the spring frame into a bean trellis. I found this one in a local community garden. The spring frame was attached between two wooden 4-by-4s and smothered with vining pole beans. The beans can be easily harvested from both sides of the metal frame. The frame could also be used to grow cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, cherry tomatoes or any other vining crops.

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