Growing Vegetables & Fruit on a Trellis

Growing vining vegetables and fruits on garden trellises and arbors uses less ground space—and increases your yield per square foot because you can fit more plants into your garden area using the vertical surfaces. Saving space is only one great reason to grow your vegetables and fruit on trellises—here are some other advantages:

Monitoring and controlling pests is easier because they're right at eyelevel. Harvesting is also easier and less physically demanding, as there is less stooping or bending over. No more waste due to overripe fruits that are hidden under lush growth—you have a much better view of all of the ripening fruits and vegetables. Vertical gardens increase accessibility for gardeners with disabilities because they can easily tend the plants and pick from a chair or garden seat.

The benefits of trellises are clear, but before you begin, keep in mind these two important points:

  • Locate trellises along the north side of your garden to prevent shading other plants.
  • Anchor your trellises to protect them from the wind and to handle the weight of the plants by sinking trellis posts 24 inches deep.

What can you grow vertically on a garden trellis?

  • Tomatoes
    Trellis nonbush or indeterminate types, which keep growing and producing fruits until frost.
  • Peas, Cucumbers
    Grow nonbush varieties on trellises. Bush types don't need trellising; their vines reach only 4 to 6 feet long.
  • Pole Beans, Gourds, Melons
    As a general rule, any variety that produces fruit smaller than a volleyball can be trellised. Vines will grow strong enough to hold the weight of the fruit, so there's no need to support fruits with individual hammocks.
  • Squash, Pumpkin
    Small-fruited and nonbush types such as miniature pumpkins, acorn and buttercup squash are suitable for trellising.