Making sure your cucumber vines aren’t spread across the ground can usually spell the difference between having a little or a lot of cucumbers. A sturdy trellis will help keep your cucumbers elevated, where the scourge of diseases and fruit rot are lessened. Yet even though the concept of a trellis is pretty basic, there are still plenty of choices out there, all clamoring for your attention. So, which one is right for you?
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The Basics Behind a Cucumber Trellis
A cucumber trellis may initially catch your eye because it allows you to grow your cucumbers vertically. This is a pretty solid reason to consider one since it saves space, which may be at a premium depending on the size of your garden. Yet it’s far from the only reason you’ll want to dig into the concept.
The Benefits of a Cucumber Trellis
Perhaps the biggest perk of growing your cucumbers vertically is that they’re easier to water at the base. You won’t have to root around the garden base and dig through unruly leaves and vines to find the perfect watering spot. Moreover, this method will help you stem the onslaught of fungal diseases.
A vertical trellis also makes cucumbers easier to harvest. This doesn’t just mean the veggies are easier to spot since they’re not intermixed with the dirt and leaves on the ground. It’s a big deal because it makes it easier to maneuver around the prickly stems that can otherwise scratch up your hands and arms.
A proper trellis will also do wonders to protect the overall integrity of the cucumber. Because your veggie’s contact with the dirt is minimized, your yield will be cleaner, straighter, and more uniform in color compared to cucumbers that are grown on the ground.
How to Use a Trellis
Working with a trellis is a little more complex than sticking it next to your veggies and hoping they get the hint. There is quite a bit of prep work you need to do before and during the growing process to achieve your desired results.
The first essential step happens even before you sink your trellis into the dirt. Cucumbers need to be seeded in warm, fertile soil 36 to 60 inches apart. You’ll want to work compost or composted manure into soil if possible.
Training your cucumbers to climb the trellis is also an essential step. To do so, you’ll need to guide them to wrap around the support. Typically, the vines will cling to the support and continue to grow upward once this has occurred.
If for some reason this doesn’t happen independently, you can always gently tie the vines to the trellis with soft cloth strips. If you do go this route, just make sure that you tie the strips loosely around the vine, giving them at least an inch worth of space in a loop for the stems to grow.
Here’s a great video on pruning and growing cucumbers on a trellis by Lean Organic Gardening:
Can I Make My Own Trellis?
A typical trellis design is going to look a bit rudimentary, to the point where you may think that it can turn into a DIY project. Indeed, there are plenty of creative ideas out there that make it an attractive option. However, looks can be deceiving.
The trick to making a good trellis yourself is making one that is sturdy enough to support the growth of the cucumber as it climbs upward. If the weight of the veggies or the path of the vines causes the trellis to lose its structural integrity, then you’ll be left with more than a failed DIY project. You’ll have cucumbers that won’t be grown to your specifications.
As such, unless you’re really confident in your building skills, it’s wise to leave the trellising up to the pros. While it may cost a little more, the long-term gain of consistently grown veggies is worth the additional price tag.
How Working with a Trellis May Look Like
If you haven’t worked with a trellis before, you can take comfort in knowing that they’re not all that difficult to work with. This video does a good job of guiding you through the process of using a trellis to grow you cucumbers from beginning to end. While it does require you to get a little dirty, that’s hardly a surprise all things considered.
Our Recommendation: Gardener’s Wire A-Frame Trellis
The Gardener’s Wire A-Frame Trellis is a solid product to purchase because it reinforces a lot of the essential elements that you should be looking for when you purchase a trellis for cucumbers. While the trellis touts certain metrics that align itself with convenience, the heavy-duty construction is its main allure.
Remember, cucumbers aren’t light – at least, full-grown ones aren’t. As such, the basic laws of physics dictate that their weight will exert a certain level of force on whatever trellis you purchase. A proper trellis like the Gardener’s Wire A-Frame Trellis provides the sturdy reinforcement needed to withstand the pull and tug of cucumbers as they grow.
A sturdy trellis that can withstand growth is also very important if you plan on growing cucumbers over in the long-term. The new harvest will grow differently than the old one, which will then exert their force of growth in different manners. A heavy-duty trellis will be able to adapt to newer growth patterns without a hiccup.
Another positive that this trellis offers is its ability to fold and store easily. This may be important if you live in a colder climate and would prefer to put your gardening elements away during the off-season. This isn’t a bad idea, of course, since it will add to the longevity of the equipment.
Whatever product you end up purchasing, keep in mind that each product operates under the premise of not only making your life as a gardener easier, but also to make the veggies you’re growing better. At the end of the day, you can’t ask for a better combination than that.