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Training Vining Plants And Tomatoes Up String Frames...

Monkeyfister's picture

In response to requests for pictures and more information in FeralLib's most recent gardening post, I've posted a bunch of pics to my place. You can find them HERE.

Every vining plant that you can grow vertically will save you at least a square yard, of space that you can use to plant something else, AND you're simplifying the process of caring for those plants. Squash Beetles are VERY easy to catch and kill, and you don't have to worry about treading on foliage to harvest. No ground rot, no missing that one Cuke that goes to seed, and ends the vine's setting fruit early.

Each 10' x 5' tall frame will cost less than $10. 1/2" x 10' thinwall conduit is ~2.50 per piece. Each elbow costs about the same as the conduit for some reason.

More information on this method can be found at .


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Submitted by hipparchia on

i made the mistake once -- just once -- of training my cucumber vines to use the chain link fence that ran along one side of the garden as their trellis.

every time i wanted to harvest a cucumber or two, i had to take a paring knife out to the garden and cut the darn things into chunks to get them out of the fence.

Monkeyfister's picture
Submitted by Monkeyfister on

Easy access, compostable, easy to harvest, easy to see the fruits, all the way 'round, this is a good thing.

Can't grow Pumpkins or Watermelons with this plan without massive support, but, perhaps someone will prove me wrong.

Anyway, wire cages are so yesterday. If you've already got cages, certainly don't throw them away. The day may come when twine is hard to find.


From High Atop The Mighty Corrente Building... Comes Wisdom.

caseyOR's picture
Submitted by caseyOR on

But when I look at your photos the structure looks 2 sided. Am i misunderstanding? Is it a pole on each side and a pole across the top? And do you just push the poles into the ground? Do they need any other support to keep from falling over? I am very interested in your structures, so any help very appreciated.

Monkeyfister's picture
Submitted by Monkeyfister on

I make wood frames for my garden beds, and for a bit of extra support, I use some "plumber's strap" and screw into the wood to help support them, but only because my soil is hardpan clay, and even using a heavy hammer, I can't drive them in. So, I am basically growing above the ground in a soil mix that I made myself from composts, peat, vermiculite, and manures from local farmers.

I bought the materials to make more permanent and attractive versions of this concept, but that will have to wait until we get some rain, and the clay softens up enough to dig.

But, if your soil is less hard, then you should be able to push the frame in, and just the soil should hold the frames just fine. I've done this now for 8 different gardens over 10 years.


From High Atop The Mighty Corrente Building... Comes Wisdom.

jackyt's picture
Submitted by jackyt on

I read your instructions and ran up to the building center. It took longer to shop for the materials than it did to install them! I did one frame for tomatoes (if they all produce, I'll have enough to feed the whole township), and one for the lemon cucumbers and pattison squash. Thanks for the info!

Monkeyfister's picture
Submitted by Monkeyfister on

The space savings, and ease of harvest will really impress you-- I hope!

BTW-- I've had no problems with Squash of any sort with this system. Hubbard Squash, Butternut... All grow just fine, with no vine damage.

But, DO keep an eye out for Squash Beetles and Vine Borers. A great trick for ALL Cucurbits (Melons, Pumpkins, Cukes, Squash) is to plant some Radishes at the base of the plants, and let them grow and go to seed. The damaging bugs HATE Radishes, and will typically stay away. Not 100%, so you still need to be vigilant against them, as it only takes a few to do real damage.

And let me recommend Neem Oil Spray for a host of 6-legged bugs, such as aphids, Squash Beetles, Bean Beetles, Potatoe Beetles, and the like. It's people-friendly, even edible for humans, but, disrupts the reproductive cycle of bugs. Spray only AFTER Honey Bees have gone to hive in the evening. We don't want to fuck with the Honey Bees-- they are having a hard enough time of it. Once the Neem Oil dries, it is harmless to them.


From High Atop The Mighty Corrente Building... Comes Wisdom.