Building a cucumber trellis for your garden is a simple solution to a BIG problem, namely cucumber plants. They take up a ton of space in your garden and if you are trying to maximize what you grow in the space you have available, a trellis is the way to go.
The cool thing about growing your cucumbers on a trellis is that once you have them growing up the trellis, the cucumbers dangle down for easy picking. Because the cucumbers aren’t touching the ground, there is less chance of rot as well. The key is harvesting the cucumbers before they get too heavy and damage the plant. This technique also works for zucchini and possibly even small squashes.
The next part is where you get to maximize your garden space. Because those long cucumber vines with their HUGE leaves are off the ground, you can plant something underneath. This space is perfect for shade-loving greens, like spinach, lettuce or kale, that will bolt when the weather turns hot.
The timing is where it gets a little tricky. You want to your cucumber plants established enough to provide shade for your spinach, kale and lettuce so depending on your weather conditions, you may want to delay planting your shade plants or start your trellis plants indoors and transplant to the garden.
How to Build a Cucumber Trellis for Your Garden
Supplies: half-inch polyethylene tubing (125 psi), wire deer fencing, three-quarter inch, two-hole rigid electrical conduit strap (or steel rebar if building without a raised bed), zip ties
Step 1: Cut the polyethylene tubing into equal lengths to fit your raised bed. The arch should be high enough that you can easily reach the greens underneath, but not so high that the trellis can’t support the weight of the plants.
Step 2: Attach the tubing to the side of your raised bed using the conduit strap. For a 8 foot long raised bed, you will need 5 arches to support the weight of the plants. If building without a raised bed, hammer the rebar into the ground, leaving about a foot to attach the tubing to.
Step 3: Trim the deer fencing to cover the arch and attach using the zip ties. Note: do not try using chicken wire as it is not strong enough to support the plants.
Step 4: Plant your cucumber or zucchini plants on the inside of the trellis, placing branches on the trellis as they grow to encourage the plant to climb the trellis.
Step 5: Sow your salad garden seeds down the middle of the trellis, either at the same time as you plant the cucumber or zucchini plants or a few weeks later, depending on your spring weather conditions and the planting requirements of each.