Go Vertical!

As anyone tight on garden space knows, going up rather than out can make the most of a small space. You can grow nearly anything in a container provided you have the right support system in place. You can make a simple trellis out of anything, from twine and a few screws to more elaborately constructed pyramids or cages.

If you’re placing your pots or garden beds against a wall or fence, the simplest (and probably the cheapest method) of creating a trellis is to string twine or wire from screws. Affix one end of the twine to the pot or bed, and one end to the wall or fence, leaving at least a quarter inch of space from the wall, so that your plant has room to grow upward.

Pyramid cages are also easy and inexpensive to construct. Bamboo poles are attractive and affordable, and a trio tied at the top and sunk into a pot is easy to put together. You can also fashion this type of trellis from PVC or metal pipe, or scrap lumber or plastic. Architectural salvage yards are a goldmine of materials as well – small balusters, old table legs, wrought iron rods, barrel staves, rebar – anything that’s relatively rigid and in the length you require. For small pots, you can use bamboo skewers, chopsticks, old rulers, etc.

And speaking of architectural salvage, pyramid cages aren’t the only trellis options. What about an old chair back for your beans to climb up? A metal garden gate, a wrought iron headboard or even an old metal bedspring could act as a trellis in a larger planting bed.

I love gardens that have themes, and I’m very excited about doing a wine-themed garden area when I have a little more space. I’d like to have large half-barrels and wine boxes as planters, with small barrel staves as trellising, and corks for pot drainage (which I already use in my indoor planters – works great). Paired with a terra-cotta “Plant Nannies” you can also turn your upended wine bottles into an extended watering system in your garden.