Gardening on a small plot often means getting inventive. Even if you want nothing but a few tomato plants and some green beans, you find yourself running out of room. The trick to growing your own fresh veggies is to use the vertical space as well as the horizontal: make yourself a trellis.
If you’re sneaky, you don’t even need to build a trellis. No metal or wood crossbars needed, all you do is buy some Dalen Gardeneer Trellis Netting. While it’s still in the bag, trellis netting looks like a pile of yarn after the household cat got hold it it. When you spread it out, you find lightweight braided polyester string woven in a network of squares five inches on a side. Packages vary in size from four to six feet wide and up to thirty feet long, but the opening is a standard size.
It’s easy to cut the string with regular scissors; then melt the cut ends with a match or soldering iron to keep them from unraveling. Stretch the netting over a frame and tie it or attach with cable ties, and you’re all set.
Our trellis netting stayed in place in our Houston garden for five years – the winters may be mild, but the summer sun can be brutal. Not one thread unraveled and not a single square was broken when we finally took down the trellises to move. Each supported several years of pole beans, some peas, and the occasional volunteer indeterminate tomato plant. Dalen says they can support melons, squash and eggplants, but I’d be cautious… The braided polyester is soft enough to prevent damage to fruits and veggies and the growing tendrils. That five-inch opening is big enough to reach through, so you can harvest from either side of the trellis as needed.
I’ll admit that the cost looks outrageous for what amounts to a bag of string, but our nets have held up much longer that I expected, and in reality it’s cheaper than the wood laths or pipes needed to build a “permanent” trellis. If you have limited space and not much in the way of carpentry skills, Gardeneer Trellis Netting is durable and easy to use.