Maximize your garden potential by growing up and over. Take advantage of spaces that have minimal space for vining plants and direct them up into trellises. Decide what plant you want to grow vertically, and build a structure that will be suitable to its weight or particular behavior. 


Eating up

Kiwis require a substantial trellis or chain-link fence, as well as regular pruning to keep them in check. Note: You need both a female and a male kiwi to get fruit, so your structure needs to be able to support two plants. 

Grapes also need adequate trellising and pruning for increased fruit production. Both can do double-duty to provide shade for a quiet sitting area in your garden. 

We usually think to trellis perennial vines, but don’t forget about sending your annual vegetables up and away. Besides pole beans, there are varieties of cucumbers, squashes and even pumpkins that don’t need to hog your garden real estate. An arbor with small and colorful winter squash hanging through them is a lovely decorative element for any garden.

Instead of stuffing your gangly, indeterminate tomatoes into cages, you can build a fence on which they can climb. Tie strings to the top of the fence, and with minor management, your tomatoes will wind themselves up. This treatment also makes them easy to maintain and to harvest from. 


Creative spaces

Trellises can also be attached to the back of wooden worm bins, put in containers or used to add height to a fence. 

Arbors can provide a welcoming entrance to the garden or mark the beginning of a new “room” in the garden. Add edibles, and you now have structures that serve multiple functions. 

And, of course, don’t forget the traditional bean teepee. Tie three large bamboo poles together at their tips and spread the legs into a tripod shape and anchor them into the soil. Tie strings to hang down in the spaces in between the legs, and the beans will wrap around them and the legs, too. 

While very familiar in the garden landscape, a bean teepee is a great way to grow a bushel of delicious and succulent green beans while also having a playhouse for the kids who share the garden with you. Or for when you need a quiet moment for yourself! 

FALAAH JONES is an environmental educator for the Garden Hotline at Seattle Tilth (