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DIY Life: Connecting Raised Beds with Trellises

When you have backyard ducks, particularly taller ones like Indian Runners, you notice very quickly that, even with raised beds, anything that hangs over is susceptible to snacking if the leaves taste good. So while tomatoes are of little interest to our Runner/Crested mix, Lucy, the leaves of squashes and beans and peas and cukes? Utterly irresistable. Reminds me actually of when we first got our ducks, and our little Khaki Campbell Cocoa realized she could jump the 18" or so into the shorter raised beds we had at our first house, and stay both in the shade and surrounded by snacks by wandering under our folding pea trellises....oy vey! But I digress.

Anyhow, I've seen how gardeners frequently use cattle or hog panels to turn into arches that connect between two raised beds (like this) and, well, I knew that $250 for five of these was not going to work (because retailers have gotten clued in that gardeners, not just farmers/ranchers, are into them nowadays..kind of like how the price of galvanized steel troughs has been jacked up by at least 50% since the pandemic because of their usefulness as raised beds). I spent far more than that on plants, but when it comes to a first time "let's see how this works for us" project, I didn't want to break the bank.

So instead, since I've been using and reusing PVC pipes for greenhousing the raised beds to extend the growing season in spring and fall, I did some online searching for a similar way to do it, and found several folks doing these in very MacGyver-esque ways, and I took it from there to design these out of a few basic ingredients:

  1. 10' PVC pipes - Obviously, the foundation for trellises. One 10' on each side of the long end of the raised bed (long enough for curving around and still walking under safely), with an additional one cut into five 2' pieces for the cross bars. I had leftover gray spray paint (not something I love but I wanted to get rid of it so this was perfect) so I used it up to give it a matte gunmetal effect and blend in more than icky white.

  2. 4' Rebar - The base for the trellises, pounded into the ground with a mallet for the pipes to go onto. Only a few bucks apiece at the big box stores and infinitely reusable.

  3. Fabric Scraps - No drilling required to attach the crossbars. Just raided a bag of fabric scraps I had in the rag bin that I often use to tie up staked plants (tomatoes in particular) as they grow, and tied them to the arches. They work unbelievably well! Everything from unused shoelaces that came with shoes we no longer have, to old bra and camisole straps (the rest of the fabric became rags) to collars from t-shirts that I cut out (I have always hated the higher necklines of "Unisex" t-shirts which are actually designed for Men's bodies, so I cut out the collar of t-shirts sized this way to give it a less claustrophobic feel.

  4. Chicken Wire. As a few cross bars are not enough to convince many vining veggies to move, chicken wire is cheap, recyclable, and easily bendable (just wear gloves as you cut and/or shape it!) so I connected it all by hand to the trellises once they were up. Easy peasy - just make sure to measure twice, cut once!

That's it! We've got several kinds of squashes, beans, cukes and more (all seed-started as they're crazy easy to plant this way and avoids creating unnecessary waste) which connect our 10 galvanized troughs-turned-raised-beds in our backyard veggie garden, and several have already begun the climb now that we're in late May. Can't wait to show you how they look come late summer, but in the meantime, our girls love running under them (especially if they see me taking a photo and think that means it's time for snacks!)...


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