It feels so good to be back in the field, fingers in the soil and feet in garden boots. We had such an awful weather in the past few weeks that it was impossible to work on the farm. Snow storms in the South is nothing fun. You get 2 minutes of fluffy snow and a week of ice. Not to mention the whole state shuts down because of an inch of snow on the ground.
As some of you know, this is my fist year as a market farmer. I am trying not to freak out here. Those two weeks of so-called snow storms, not only destroyed my PVC Greenhouse (will show you the disaster next week), but also set me three weeks behind. I guess such is the life of a farmer… I used to not care about the forecast; now I look at it fourteen times a day.
Anyway, as soon as the sun came out for more than a minute and I could walk in the field without sinking a foot down in the mud, I was out there.
First thing, I finished my pea trellis (I started working on it before the bad weather). You see, here in the South (zone 7b), we can start sowing peas after Valentine’s day. We can still sow until the end of March, so even though I am a bit late I’m still well within the recommended sowing dates.
My garden beds are 30” x 30′. I have six beds that will need two trellises each, for a total of 12 trellises. Two of those beds are for beans, peas and cucumbers that will need to be able to climb. The other four are for peppers and tomatoes, which I will have to tie.
I was looking for a trellis system that I can install rather quickly. That will be affordable, can be taken down easily, and that is made of materials I can reuse for many years. Of course, it has to be strong enough to support the plants (you can’t believe how heavy they get…).
I researched many kinds of trellises but finally settled on this design. After building this trellis, I feel pretty good about it, it cost me some money but it was easy to install and seems pretty strong.
- Seven 7′ T-posts at $4.25 each from my local farm supply store,
- Three 10′ rebars from Lowe’s at $5.20 each,
- Seven 1 1/4” dia PVC 90 degree tees from Lowe’s at $1.28 each,
- And Hortonova net for climbing vegetables from Johnny’s Selected Seeds. I purchased this 6 1/2′ x 250′ feet roll for $43 (about $5 for 30′), but they also have a much shorter length on this page.
Total cost per trellis is $59.31 before tax. Not that bad considering I can use all the materials except the net for many years.
I drove the T-posts one foot into the ground every 5 feet down the bed, so I have 6′ above the ground, which is the minimum, I think, for climbing plants. If you can afford the 8′ T-posts and drive them 1.5 feet in the ground, I think it will be better. Probably much stronger.
Then, I cut the net to the length of the bed and wove it down the posts.
Next, I placed the PVC tees on the posts, and lastly, wove each of the rebars through the net and placed them inside the tees.
This soil is plowed and tilled, but since we had so much rain and snow/ice, it formed a crust that I wanted to break. I should have done this after I placed the posts and before I installed the net, but I didn’t. Anyway, it wasn’t too hard even with the net in the way.
Next, I applied Espoma organic soil supplements. This is the time to add some compost as well.
Each square of the net is 5” wide (even though they say it’s 6”…). Peas need to be planted 4”-6” apart, so my little 2.5 years old farm hand planted one pea in the center of each square (5” apart). We planted 64 peas down one side of the bed. The other side is going to be the same kind of trellis for beans. I will also use this trellis for cucumbers and climbing squash.
Next year I can either leave the trellis in place and plant something else in the same spot or take it down and move it to a different bed. Make sure to check out my post about the right way to clean after peas and beans. You don’t want to pull those plants out of the ground like we do with most of the other crops in the garden. Read why here.
I hope my peas will be happy with this trellis. I will post a picture here once they started climbing.
Tell me about your pea trellis. Do you have a successful trellis design you’ve been using?
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