Trellises and cages to support garden vegetables

Trellises and cages are common plant supports used in vegetable gardens. Many varieties of peas and beans need something to climb. Vine crops such as squash, melons and cucumbers can produce straighter, cleaner fruit if grown on a trellis.

Trellis with horizontal and diagonal wooden poles supporting a vining green vegetable crop

Many tomato varieties are “indeterminate,” or vining, which means they will continue to grow all season long. They will sprawl along the ground unless you support and contain them. Even determinate varieties, which reach a certain height and stop growing, benefit from stakes and cages. Their fruits will be cleaner and less likely to rot or become food for slugs. Trellises also help prevent disease.

Trellises for vine crops

Gardeners with small garden plots may bypass crops that need lots of space by planting short-vined or "bush” varieties of melons, squash and cucumbers. You can grow many long-vined varieties successfully in small spaces if you train them to grow on trellises. Varieties with fruit weighing up to three pounds and no larger than a cucumber, small melon or small winter squash, work best.

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Supporting tomato plants

When using any of these techniques, check the plants frequently and guide their growth so that they get the most support.

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Jill MacKenzie

Reviewed in 2018

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