cucumber-trellis-height

What’s the Right Cucumber Trellis Height?

Growing cucumbers on a trellis offers many advantages over letting them sprawl on the ground. In addition to maximizing your garden space, it eliminates soil-borne diseases and makes watering, pest management and harvesting much easier. But what's the right height for a trellis? It's one that accommodates your fully grown cuke vines while letting you comfortably harvest their topmost cukes.

A One-Size-Fits-All Trellis

Whether you’re planting vigorously climbers or compact bush cukes, and arched trellis will be the perfect height. As complicated as it may sound, building arched trellises is both easy and economical. You’ll need:

  • Four 4-foot galvanized steel fence posts for each trellis
  • 28-inch, 16-gauge galvanized steel wire fencing (sold in 25- or 50-foot rolls)
  • Hammer
  • Measuring tape
  • Wire cutters
  • Plastic-coated wire twist tie (look for a spool with an attached cutting blade)

Expert gardener’s tip: The great thing about building an arched trellis is that you can match its height to you own — low enough that you can reach the highest cukes, but not so low that you must crouch to reach the lowest ones.

Building Your Trellis, Step-by-Step

Always build your trellises before planting. Otherwise, you might disturb your cucumbers’ fragile roots.

  1. Measure and cut your wire fencing to the desired length. A 12-foot length of fencing, for example, makes an arch about 4 and 1/2 feet tall on the ends and about 5 feet at its top. Anything taller will need a center support.
  2. Set two fence post stakes 26 inches apart and hammer them into the ground up to their horizontal markers. They’re the corners for one end of the arch.
  3. Measure 3 feet from these corners and hammer the second pair of posts into the ground as the other corners.
  4. Attach the wire fencing to the notches on one set of posts. Secure it with the wire twist tie.
  5. Pull the fencing up and over toward the other corners, shaping it into an arch.
  6. Attach the other end of the fencing to the second pair of posts.

Training Your Cukes to Climb

When your cuke seedlings are large enough, loop their tendrils around the base of the fencing and tie them in place with stretchy fabric. Allow at least 1 inch of space between the material and the fencing. When they begin climbing on their own, remove the fabric.

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