9 Easy Ways to Trellis Cucumbers For a Better Harvest
Growing your own cucumbers is a wonderful way to provide yourself with an endless bounty of fresh, delicious pickles – or to simply fill up your lunchtime salads with extra crunch and fiber!
If you’ve ever grown cucumbers before, you probably know how important a good trellis is. Not only will it make picking and harvesting your cucumbers a lot easier, but it will help protect the cucumbers from rot, pests, and other damages.
9 Ways to Trellis Cucumbers
There are all kinds of options you can consider when it comes to building or buying a trellis for your cucumbers. Here are some of the best ways to trellis cucumbers – experiment to find the ones that work best for you! Of course, you can also check out these fun ways to trellis gardens that are both functional and beautiful for your garden.
1. Make a Tent-Shaped Trellis
One of the easiest ways to build a trellis for your cucumbers is to do so in the shape of a tent. When you do this, you won’t have to spend a lot of money – you’ll buy just one steel utility panel that costs about $25, and this will build up to three trellises for you.
Choose one that is about 16 feet long and two or three feet wide (depending on the store, it might be called a steel utility panel, a hog panel, or a cattle panel). If you can’t find one of these panels, you could also use some concrete reinforcement wire.
Wearing gloves, use a pair of heavy-duty bolt cutters to cut the panel into thirds. Bend each piece into thirds to make a tent shape. You might need a partner to do this, as the material can be tough to bend.
Then, use bolt cutters to snip off the ends of one side, which will create stakes that you can press into the ground. Set the trellis into the ground and secure the ends. Plant your cucumbers beneath the trellis. As they grow, they will wind up and over the trellises.
2. Bamboo Trellis
You can also make a cucumber trellis out of bamboo poles. The benefit of using bamboo poles is that they are lightweight and strong. They’re also easy to work with. Bamboo poles can be somewhat of a challenge to find, but if you are lucky enough to have some on hand, this is an idea that can work well for you.
3. String and Wood Trellis
This is a simple idea that requires very few materials – and those that it does are easy to find in most places. You’ll use 1×2 lengths of wood and basic garden twine to create “strands” that your cucumbers can grow up and over. The strings (consider buying high-quality string or jute twine for this to prevent the strings from snapping) will run through eye-hooks and support the hefty vines of the cucumbers.
If you don’t want an upright, totally vertical trellis, you can also use your wood posts to make a teepee shape. Teepee trellises are easy to build and perfect for both small and large gardens alike – you can grow ten plants or more around one teepee!
4. DIY Pallet Cucumber Trellis
Who doesn’t love pallets? These handy leftovers can be used to make just about anything. If you have some on hand, all you need to do is prop them up with a few wood posts. Your trellis is ready to go!
5. A-Frame Cucumber Trellis
A-frames are not only sturdy in their construction, but they can also be stored flat when they aren’t in use. This can be done with any kind of material, including strings, bamboo poles, or pieces of hog panels. Whatever you choose, you’ll be able to use this trellis for all kinds of crops, including cucumbers, peas, tomatoes, and beans.
6. Netting Trellises
Rather than using strings, you may also want to use nylon or plastic netting. This can be hung between metal or wooden supports, secured to fences, or tied to the side of a house or similar structure. You will only want to use netting or chicken wire that has openings that are large enough for you to reach your hand through. If you don’t, the fruits might get trapped in the openings as they get larger.
7. Closet Organizer Cucumber Trellis
Don’t be afraid of upcycling some of the items you might already have lying around the house! One cool idea is to use an old closet organizer to keep your cucumbers in line. Simply remove the drawers, add some strings to support your cucumbers as they climb, and install it in your garden.
There are, of course, other items you can upcycle to make cool cucumber trellises. You might use an old patio umbrella to make a teepee trellis or even use stakes you have lying around from other projects. I also recommend checking out this list of ordinary things to recycle in your garden for more inspiration. They are both functional and beautiful!
8. Metal Mesh Trellis
You can easily use a bit of metal mesh or chicken wire to make a simple DIY trellis. Simple zip tie 4×8 sheets of metal mesh over 3×6 pieces of untreated lumber and attach them to the back of your raised beds. Easy as that! You can add a few wooden or metal stakes to secure the trellises even more, which might be necessary if you are gardening in a windy area or as the fruits of your cucumber plants begin to grow heavy and weigh down the structure.
9. Buy a Cucumber Trellis or Cage
If you’re not feeling particularly crafty or motivated to use the items you have lying around to build your own cucumber trellis, feel free to head to the garden center to buy one. There are plenty of different styles and types of cucumber cages and trellises you can purchase that are ready to go as soon as you place them in the garden.
Cages are often a good choice, as they are strong enough to hold your hefty vines. Not only that, but the fruits will position themselves on these cages in an ideal manner so you can pick them easily and without any kind of bending or stooping required.
There are even premade, store-bought wire a-frame cucumber trellises you can buy to shade space. The benefit of using this kind of trellis is that your cucumbers will grow up tall onto the trellises and produce shade underneath – you can then plant shade-loving crops like leafy greens down below!
Tips for Training Cucumbers to Grow Up a Trellis
You can grow just about any kind of cucumber with the help of a trellis, but the ones that are best-suited for trellising are those that grow like vines. Some of the best types are heirlooms, including Lemon, Marketmore 76, Diva, and Armenian cucumbers.
When you are considering using trellises in your cucumber patch, be sure to install them before you have already planted them. Cucumbers should be direct seeded in the late spring, ideally after the last frost has passed. You don’t want to start them from seed indoors first, as their fragile roots make them poor candidates for transplanting in the garden.
Install the trellis before you sow your seeds so you don’t damage these fragile roots. Sow six inches apart (you’ll eventually thin them to one foot apart). As your cucumbers develop, they will produce long, skinny tendrils that will wrap around the trellis as they grow. You can then gently position the plant through the trellis, but avoid shoving or bending the plant too much, as this can damage the shoots.
Once your plants have become established, they’ll grow up the trellis on their own – you won’t need to do anything at all except water, fertilize, and inspect your plants on a regular basis. Remember, when you water, be sure to do so right at the soil level so you don’t wet the foliage – your cucumbers will be much more productive when you irrigate in this manner (and less prone to diseases and pests, too).
Why You Should Use a Cucumber Trellis
Using a cucumber trellis presents several benefits, particularly if you are growing vining cucumber varieties.
These are the most common types of cucumbers, growing up to six feet in length and producing a bountiful harvest of cukes. These are the cucumbers that you must grow on a trellis – if you’re growing a bush cucumber variety, you can get away with not using a trellis, since they grow in a more compact fashion.
When you grow cucumbers on a trellis, the leaves will have better access to sunlight, helping to improve your fruit production. You don’t have to worry about the foliage getting as wet, which can spread disease. You’ll save space and it’s also easier to keep an eye out for pests.
Plus, vertically-grown plants produce fewer misshapen fruits – a plus for those Instagram-worthy shots!
Cucumbers love being grown in the heat, so for best results, you should grow your cucumbers in a sunny spot of the garden that receives about six hours of sunlight (or more) per day – and on a trellis.
There is no shortage of trellis options available. Consider these nine ways to trellis cucumbers – there is an idea out there for everyone!