Grow Vertically: Make an Easy Trellis

Pennie Haase (bed #26) writes: This year I wanted to get the most out of my new garden bed, so I decided to grow up. Online I found lots of trellis ideas on square foot gardening websites. A quick trip to Lowes and $14 later I had everything I needed:

Materials for trellis

After measuring the bed, I had my husband cut the one piece of conduit, then laid everything out on the garage floor to see if in fact it would work.  A few minutes later we headed down to the garden and quickly assembled the trellis.   He pounded the rebar, tightened the screws and I tied.  My peas are just starting to grow, so we’ll see how well it works.

My Trellis at the Community Garden:

Pennie's Trellis

Pennie’s Trellis

Materials: (Lowes in Easton):3 – 5’ lengths ½” EMT Conduit ($1.65 each – aisle 14); 2 – ½” EMT to EMT pull elbows ($2.71 each – aisle 14); 2 – rebar pins ½” x 4’ (2.98 each – aisle 53 );1 – trellis netting 5’ x 15’ ($4.97 – outside garden area)

Optional Materials: 1 – 4’ stake for bottom; 2 – tie down stakes/irrigation stakes or cut coat hangers

Tools: Hacksaw, Hammer, Screwdriver, Tape measure, Scissors, Use hacksaw to cut off 13 1/2″ conduit from one 5’ section – this will be the top.

Note – measure your bed to ensure that it is 48″ on the interior

How To: Attach elbows to top of other two 5’ sections – these will be the sides.

Unroll trellis and measure out 6’ length x 5’ width, thread one side conduit down 6’ length alternating the conduit in and out of the squares, measure over 4’ and thread the other side section. Attach top by threading through alternating squares. Cut netting to fit, allowing extra for tying.

Pound rebar inside the corners 2’, don’t mash down top of rebar or it will not slide inside the conduit. Slide the conduit over the rebar, square it up, push conduit into ground to stabilize and tighten screws on the elbows.

Tie off the squares of netting to top and sides or use wire ties.

Optional: Pennie added a stabilizing stake to the bottom, threading it through alternating squares and securing it to the ground with irrigation stakes.

Info from Square Foot Gardening – also on the web:


We Went to a Garden Party

Today was the second Garden Party for the St. Michaels Community Garden. It was just a year ago that the garden was completed and beds planted. Today was sunny with a chilly breeze, but we gathered inside the St. Michaels Library for refreshments and conversation before going outside to take a look at the garden.

garden party 4

Most beds have been turned over, and many have been planted. Our cool spring has put us behind last year, but seeds are sprouting and so far the squirrels and deer are not a problem. It wasn’t long before people who had not planned to work on their beds were pulling weeds and planting lettuces grown and donated by a smiling Carol Bean.

Carol Bean and lettuce starts

Reverend Emmanuel Johnson spoke about the garden as a gift to the community. He said the garden’s effects are rippling out in ways we don’t know. For many of us the friendships we are making while we tend our garden beds has been the unexpected harvest.

A History of the Garden

In October of 2011, Lisa Sylvestri, a representative from the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy met with a group of local gardeners, several Talbot County Master Gardeners and Trish Payne, Director of the St. Michaels Community Center to discuss the idea of creating a community garden in St. Michaels.  There was a very positive reaction to this suggestion, and a vision of a community garden in St.Michaels took form.  Ms. Sylvestri recommended a source on community gardening from the University of Missouri that became the guide for the garden’s structure and organization.

The first steps were to find a spot for the garden and to establish a mission statement and guidelines.  The town commissioners graciously agreed to lease a town-owned vacant lot between Conner and Fremont Streets for five years.  The second step was to establish the following mission statement: The objectives of the St. Michaels Community Center Garden are to give residents access to fresh produce, educate children and adults in good gardening practices and turn a vacant lot into a vital and appealing space where people may gather, work together and socialize in a space that builds community.

Landscaper Roger Galvin, who created the historic gardens at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, designed a garden plan, and community activist Laurie Pratt became the driving force in getting it built. Thanks to start-up grants from The Rotary Club of St. Michaels and Christmas in St. Michaels, the vision began to become a reality. The garden structure itself was created through in-kind donations from Shannahan Artesian Wells, Inc., Electric by Miller, Choptank Electric, Leonard Landscape Management  and donations of labor and funds from many other community members. Forty raised beds, a storage shed and compost bins completed the hardscape.

On April 15, 2012, a little less than a year from inception, over 70 community members turned out to celebrate the grand opening of the St. Michaels Community Center Community Garden.  Many of the gardeners, eager to begin, had already planted cool weather crops, and the garden was vibrant with new growth.

The garden has fulfilled its mission by providing an inviting and attractive public area for people to gather, work together and socialize.  The Wilson Reading Garden and the Community Garden complement each other beautifully and tables and benches provide comfortable spots for people to visit, enjoy a picnic or just observe the garden beds.