There are some advantages to growing your garden up instead of out. Trellises are a fun way to add a second dimension to your vegetable garden.
The trellis of my choosing is the standard cattle or hog panel that can be purchased at our local farm stores. They come in sixteen-foot lengths. Cattle panels are typically 52” tall while hog panels are 34” tall. Put one on top of the other with a small amount of space and you can make an 8-foot fence. This is the only 100% certain way to keep deer out of a garden. The panels can be hung on two 12-foot posts with eight lag screws to create an easily removable fence. A 24-foot section of cattle/hog panel can be made by fastening together one and one-half panels with cable clamps; however, these are heavy and awkward to handle.
If the deer have stopped being a problem as they have in my garden, you can make an awesome trellis for your pole beans or squash to grow on. My pole beans reach the top and appear to be screaming for four more feet of trellis. Those beans at the top are hard to pick so I leave them for later. An eight-foot wall of green beans is an awesome sight.
Indeterminate Sweet 100 and Sun Sugar tomatoes can reach the top of on 8-foot high cattle panel. Place two half cattle panels at an angle to each other and stabilize them with metal fence posts. Determinant (ones that stop growing at a shorter height) varieties of tomatoes can be stabilized on a panel which will keep the air moving through the plants and reduce the virus and wilt problems that tomatoes have.
Sugar Snap peas grow to five feet tall on a cattle panel where they are very productive and easy to pick. I grow them in between the rows of squash. The peas are planted early and the squash is planted late. By the time the squash starts to grow out, the peas are done and can be removed. This year I plan to plant peas just north of the corn and I expect the peas to be harvested before the corn makes too much shade.
Growing cucumbers on trellises makes them cleaner and easier to pick while making it harder for the slugs to rasp their way into the fruits. Small to mid-sized squash also look good on a trellis. Zucchetta squash can dominate an 8-foot trellis and make an awesome display while growing straighter fruits.
Getting cattle panels home can be a problem due to the awkward 16-foot length. You may want to send the nephews fishing on a nearby lake and then take your empty boat trailer to pick them up. Be sure to securely tie and tape the panels to the trailer. A long trailer would be better if you can find one to borrow. You only have to buy the panels once. They last forever and you can pass them on to your children and grandchildren.
The shade from trellised crops can be seen as a problem but can actually be benefit. Leafy crops like spinach, lettuce, and kale can use this cooler space to produce later into the hot summer. Root crops like carrots, beets, and turnips can also tolerate more shade. Avoid planting fruit crops like eggplant, tomatoes, and peppers in shaded areas.
Click on “Yard and Garden” at the University of Minnesota Extension website for gardening information. Local Master Gardeners will now respond to your questions via Voice Mai. Call 218-444-7916, leaving your name, number and question. Our Facebook page may also be of help to you: https://www.facebook.com/Beltramicountymastergardeners/