Hello! Training naturally climbing vegetables up supports yields rich rewards. By lifting vegetables off the ground and up towards the sun, you can enjoy bigger harvests from a relatively small patch of ground. Climbing vegetables are easier to pick, they require less weeding, and they can provide a leafy backdrop or windbreak for your plot. As well as many off-the-shelf supports such as arbors, arches and pergolas, there are plenty of homespun alternatives that will save you money. A trip to any home improvement store will supply you with all you need to inexpensively make your own supports in no time at all. Cloaked in lush foliage, your homemade supports will become a handsome and productive centerpiece to your garden. The very simplest supports include sturdy stakes, poles, and trusty bamboo canes.
Pushed securely into the ground at the base of plants, they offer an immediate vertical hook for vining vegetables to grip hold of. Some young plants may at first need tying in to their supports to encourage growth up in the right direction. Canes or poles can be arranged in traditional rows with a horizontal cane linking the tops to create a rigid structure. Tie in the canes where they cross with string, twine or wire. Alternatively, create an attractive wigwam or tepee. Space 4-8 canes or poles at equal intervals around a circle marked out in the ground.
A traditional trash can lid can be used as a template. Tie the canes together about a foot (30cm) from the top using string, strips of cloth or wire. Bamboo and willow wigwams are perfect for climbing peas and beans, while taller, sturdier wigwams made of thicker poles are recommended for heavier climbers such as squashes and melons. Poles can also be arranged in a square layout. Wind round parallel rows of string between the poles if additional support is needed.
Natural poles, such as those made from hazel or willow, give a lovely rustic look. Trellises are an easy and flexible way to provide instant support for your vertically vining vegetables. Trellis panels can be screwed to walls and fences or left freestanding by attaching to upright posts. Use them for growing beans, peas, squashes and more. For a contemporary look, secure sheets of thick-gauge galvanised wire mesh between two frames made from wooden batons. Finish with a coat of paint. Make your own mini-trellis by securely trying lengths of cane together using wire or string – just the job for individual squash or marrow plants. Many of these supports can be included in your garden planning. Our online Garden Planner incorporates a selection of structures from arches and arbors to willow wigwams. To drop one onto your plan, simply click once to select, move the mouse to where you want to position it, then click and drag to place.
The corner handles can be used to expand the structure to the correct area. Fancy a go at making your own bean frame? This easy-to-make frame offers the ultimate solution, with bamboo canes positioned in such a way that the pods hang outwards away from the frame, making them much easier to spot and pick. The stems are also less likely to grow into a thick, tangled mess. To make the bean frame you’ll need the following materials and tools: For the top of the frame, two short lengths of 2×2 inch (50x50mm) timber at 32 inch (80cm) long.
Also, two medium lengths of 1×2 inch (20x 50mm) timber at 5ft (150cm) long. For the uprights of the frame, use two lengths of 2×2 inch (50x50mm) timber at a length of 7ft 4in (220cm). To screw the timber together you’ll need two 4in (100mm) long screws, four 2.5in (60mm) long screws and a screwdriver. You’ll also need a drill with drill bit, sandpaper, a pencil, measuring tape or tape measure, and 12 or 14 bamboo canes that are at least 7ft (2m) long.
Plus some garden wire or string to tie them onto the frame. this list here summarizes everything you’ll need for the job. Start by sanding down any rough edges to the timber using the sandpaper. Now put together the top of the frame using the short and medium length sections. To prevent the wood from spitting, drill pilot holes 1in (25mm) in from both ends of the two medium length sections. Screw these to the ends of the short lengths using the 2.5in (60mm) screws. The top is now ready to screw to the long uprights.
Measure and mark halfway along the two shorter sides of the top section. Drill pilot holes through these two points. Screw the top section of your frame to the uprights using the two 4in (100mm) screws. Now position the frame. Dig two holes to accommodate the uprights, then lift the frame into position. The holes should be at least a foot (30cm) deep. Backfill the holes, then firm in with your boot to get a good, tight finish. Positioning and lifting the frame is a lot easier with an extra pair of helping hands! The frame is now ready for the bamboo canes.
Set the canes at equal distances along both sides of the frame. Push them into the ground so that they line up evenly along the top of the frame. Tie them in with wire, twine or string. The canes will give further rigidity to the bean frame. Now plant your beans. It won’t take long for the stems to latch onto the canes and pull themselves up. In a few months you’ll be picking pods aplenty! Climbing vegetables are simply a must for any gardener looking to pack more into their plot. Give them the support they need and they’ll thrive, offering you a vertical wall of vegetables to be proud of. If you’ve got any ideas for home-made supports, please do share them by dropping us a comment below, and why not subscribe for more great gardening advice and know-how. .