All Things Gardening forum: Trellis Construction Questions

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Orange County, CA (Zone 10a)
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maxcaviar
Jan 19, 2016 11:32 AM CST
i want to train some melons (crenshaw, hale's best) onto a trellis. my understanding is that using electrical conduit to build the outer frame is well received by many gardeners, but i have some questions about doing it this way...

1) how is the conduit secured to the ground? should i merely bury it very deep, or must it be additionally secured to the wall that it will be placed next to? (brick wall)

2) i've read that fencing can be secured within the conduit frame to act as the actual trellis - - but what type of fencing is best for melons? things like chicken wire seem so thin that they might cut into the plants once the weight from the fruit increases. also, some of the fencing which i've considered is made of metal and is already showing rust while sitting at the store (home depot). i was concerned that the rust might adversely affect the plant/fruit in some way. it would be nice if that wasn't the case because it is certainly strong enough.

3) lastly, since the wall this is going next to is brick, i am able to drill holes into the wall with masonry bits, screw in eye hooks and suspend the trellis rather than support it from below. if i did this using a metal screen as the trellis, it would not need the conduit frame as i see it. any thoughts appreciated.

thanks!
Name: Tom Cagle
SE-OH (Zone 6a)
Old, fat, and gardening in OH
Coppice
Jan 19, 2016 1:44 PM CST
I used a bender and two connections to make a rectangle out of conduit, that I lashed hog-fencing to (hog fence has 4" X 6" spacing on wires). Fruit much heavier than tomato, will need a net bag to nest in. Onion bags will work. With the bag tied onto fencing.

Those panels I lashed onto poles. Two 10 foot conduit makes a roughly 3 foot by 7 foot rectangle, and can weight 75 pounds when fully loaded. Just sticking conduit into soil, is not adequate to your need.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
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Weedwhacker
Jan 19, 2016 5:25 PM CST
Max, i built a "hoop trellis" from a steel frame for a hoop house (basically the same as the conduit) covered with "remesh" (concrete reinforcing wire). The remesh is very sturdy and definitely does rust, so that may be what you have seen. I don't think there is any adverse effect to the plants from the rust, although it isn't particularly good for clothing...

In 2014 I grew small gourds on my trellis
Thumb of 2016-01-19/Weedwhacker/28a6fe Thumb of 2016-01-19/Weedwhacker/63ce5a

Since it sounds like you only need half of a hoop (the way I understand your post), or even if you want to do a full hoop, you might want to consider using "cattle panels." Here's a thread with some good info about using them The thread "Cattle Panel Trellis Arch" in Garden Structures forum

Also, I don't think you will need support for heavier melons and such -- in 2015 I grew several types of squash and birdhouse gourds on my trellis, without any of them dropping off.



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Orange County, CA (Zone 10a)
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maxcaviar
Jan 20, 2016 10:42 AM CST
my problem is that i don't have room for the hoop design. sq ft in orange county doesn't come cheap . . . so i'm forced to make this work against a wall in my garden.
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Jan 20, 2016 10:53 AM CST
Perhaps a photo of the area where you want to construct this would help. Shrug!
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
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Weedwhacker
Jan 20, 2016 11:06 AM CST
*Blush* My bad! I re-read your post and you didn't say anything about wanting to bend it ! So, just straight up and down by the wall, then? I think the cattle panel would be ideal for that application -- they don't rust, so it would definitely be better looking that something like the remesh, especially since you want to grow melons on it. I do think you would want to have it spaced a few inches away from the brick, though, for air circulation and to give the vines a little room. You might need to kind of keep an eye on the melons as they start growing, though, so they don't get pinned in between the wall and the trellis, or within the trellis itself; I had one squash get stuck in mine last year that I didn't notice until it was already too big, and ended up having to remove it in pieces). The cattle panels are sturdy enough that I don't think you'd need a frame for it; I would anchor it to the ground in some way, though; maybe just by pounding a couple of short posts or ground anchors near the corners and fastening it to them.
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purslanegarden
Mar 2, 2016 8:14 AM CST

You can use 3/8" rebar. Buy it or cut it into about 2 feet long sections (buying longer and cutting yourself will be cheaper).

Push about 1 foot of the stick (for lack of a better term) into the ground, leaving 1 foot exposed. The electrical conduit or PVC pipe, which should be hollow, can now fit on top of the 1 foot exposed section. Repeat this on the other side of your garden bed or a few feet over, depending on how wide you need your trellis to be.

(This would give you 2 vertical pipes and then connect the horizontal one).

I have also seen people go as much as 4-foot sections, with 2 feet in the ground. That should just give it more stability, depending on your windy/stormy climate or weight of the veggies you plan to support.

Now that you have the basic frame up, just pick the kind of material you want for a trellis "netting" that goes inside the frame.


Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Mar 2, 2016 4:06 PM CST
Great tip, purslanegarden. And welcome to ATP!

What do you cut rebar with? A hacksaw, or angle grinder?

Does it pound into heavy clay easier if you cut the end at an angle?
Name: Paul
Madison, IN (Zone 6a)
delab
Mar 2, 2016 4:27 PM CST
RickCorey said:Great tip, purslanegarden. And welcome to ATP!

What do you cut rebar with? A hacksaw, or angle grinder?

Does it pound into heavy clay easier if you cut the end at an angle?


cuts-all or angle grinder are faster but harder to come by. hacksaws work just fine. I would angle the end, BUT, before pounding it into the ground, Make ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that there are no underground utilities in the area. Punctures of water, gas, sewer or electric conduits can be an expensive, embarrassing mess. Know where they enter/exit the house before you do any poking with sharp objects, it'll save a lot of headaches.

Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Mar 2, 2016 5:13 PM CST
>> BUT, before pounding it into the ground, Make ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that there are no underground utilities in the area.

YES! Call before you dig.
Try "811" and you will probably be connected. They may take 2-3 days to get back to you.

http://call811.com/before-you-dig/how-811-works

Don't think "Maybe there is a telephone trunk line under ground and landline owners might be inconvenienced."

Think: "Maybe there is a 100,000 Volt power line underground and I could be hit by lightning from below!"

Or a gas main waiting for a spark.
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
Rabbit Keeper Critters Allowed Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
Herbs Region: Georgia Region: United States of America Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Composter
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greene
Mar 2, 2016 5:38 PM CST
Whistling ...or a fat, bright orange wire leading to 'who knows what' when you are planting a crab apple tree...yep, I nicked it with a shovel *Blush* because I failed to call 811.

No matter where you live please call 811 before digging or pounding pointy stakes. Thumbs up
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Mar 2, 2016 6:15 PM CST
At least we don't need to worry about un-exploded mines.

But maybe the "811" ads would draw more attention if hey advertised that they would advise people of "telephone lines, gas mains and un-exploded mine fields".


Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
Rabbit Keeper Critters Allowed Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
Herbs Region: Georgia Region: United States of America Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Composter
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greene
Mar 2, 2016 7:19 PM CST
Short-lived British TV series: 'Danger; UXB!
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0078593/

But on a serious note - some of these buried dangers are very near the surface. One neighbor was digging a few post holes to make a temporary carport and managed to damage a natural gas line.

In the next neighborhood it was the Dish Network installation man who did the same and emergency services responded in full force to evacuate the area.

Please call 811 before digging. Thumbs up
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tomato Heads Houseplants Garden Ideas: Level 1 Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Plant Identifier
pirl
Mar 2, 2016 8:11 PM CST
Good information! Thank you. I never thought of it while pounding in rebar!
Name: Paul
Madison, IN (Zone 6a)
delab
Mar 11, 2016 5:41 PM CST
sometimes experience sucks.
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
Rabbit Keeper Critters Allowed Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
Herbs Region: Georgia Region: United States of America Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Composter
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greene
Mar 11, 2016 6:21 PM CST
But less so if we are able to share our experiences and prevent others from making the same errors. Thumbs up
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"

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