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Cheap Garden Trellis for Tomatoes

Written By: Julie - May• 29•13
cheap garden trellis or arch

Cheap Garden Trellis for Tomatoes

Need a cheap garden trellis for tomatoes or other climbing plants? Check out this super fast, cheap and easy trellis we built. It was less than $50 for the trellis itself, and it could double as a hoop house for winter greens.

Growing homegrown tomatoes is one of the first things most gardeners think about when they plan their garden. Flimsy tomato cages are sure to disappoint, and sturdy tomato cages are expensive. I ran across a trellis design that I loved, but it was a fair amount of work to do it the way it was described.

I use raised bed gardens for most of our crops, so as we were putting in new, bigger raised beds this year I created a unique, easy, and cheap garden trellis for tomatoes. We’ll also be using it for growing cucumbers at one end. The trellis itself cost us less than $50 for an 8 foot wide trellis that is tall enough to stand under. That gives us 16 feet of growing space for about $4 per plant – and it will last for years.

Once the plants have grown up the arch, it will also provide some shade for cooler season veggies in pots or for our 4 year old to play under it. Building the raised beds took us about 2 hours or so – adding the arch took about 45 minutes.

We started with two 8 foot long raised bed gardens. These are about 8 feet apart, making an 8×8 foot area under the arch. One bed is 4×8 andĀ one is 8×8. For a more uniform look we could have used two equal sized beds, but I wanted to maximize our growing space with the lumber we had available. After building and filling in the beds, we brought in two cattle panels.

These are made from heavy gauge wire welded together to form a 50 inch by 16 foot panel. We bought ours from Cal Ranch but you could likely find them at any farm supply store such as Tractor Supply Store, etc. They are pretty long, so they are not so easy to transport. They are somewhat flexible and light for their size. So, I draped them across our Subaru and tied the front end down to the tow hooks under the front of the car. Then I tied the back down to our trainer hitch, but they would be easier to move in a truck!

You’ll want two people for bending and attaching the panels, though I built a turkey pen from a similar arch without help.

We used a strip of galvanized metal strapping that we had on hand. These are easy to find at any hardware store. Ours was 8 feet long and we cut it into 3 pieces and used a 1×4 to attach the final section of the cattle panel.

Cheap Garden ArchFirst, we put one edge of the first cattle panel into place along the side of the raised bed. I held the end up while my husband secured the end by placing the metal strip over the panel and screwing it into the raised bed near ground level. Since the panels are 50 inches wide and the beds are 96 inches long, we let the panels extend an inch or so on each side of the bed.

Then, we bent the panel and tucked the second end against the second raised bed. Again, I held it in place while it was secured. For the second panel, we positioned both ends before securing it and it worked well. Since we had some scrap 1×4 lumber around, we placed one section of wood against the cattle panel and screwed through the wood into the garden box with the cattle panel wires in between.

I can’t tell you how excited I am about thisĀ simple and easy garden arch. The birds love it and they perch on it and keep searching for bugs in the trampled weeds under the arch (looks like straw, but we have not gotten that far yet). I plan to put pots under the arch for shade-loving plants and maybe some wood chips to make a simple shady playhouse for my daughter.

The center is about 6 feet tall. If you need it taller, just put the raised beds closer together. I am also considering making a second arch with three foot wide beds under the arch. That would allow me to cover it with clear plastic sheeting for winter and would create a really nice greenhouse for a fraction of the cost of a purchased greenhouse. The wire is very sturdy and the hoop structure should shed snow easily. Covered with a tarp it would make a nice shelter for overwintering chickens or sheep. Now that I have built two of these arches (this one and the turkey tractor), I am seeing all kinds of possibilities!

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  1. Nancy Kay says:

    It’s great to put together something that has multiple uses across the different seasons.

  2. Fascinating…I wish I had more space where I live in Singapore to do this. Growing your own plants is surely rewarding, and you’re really creative! Thanks for sharing!

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