Free or Cheap Structures for Growing Vertically
Use tree saplings or pruned branches to create a ‘teepee’. Water the area you want to create the teepee or do it after a good rain to make the job easier. Push saplings into the ground about 6 inches. Wrap off the top with twine, rope or even grapevine. For extra support I wrap twine around the saplings going up the teepee, about every 10 inches, to the top.
CONCRETE REINFORCEMENT MESH
You can find this at the big box home improvement stores or like I did, FREE at your local recycling center. I use this to make tomato cages and large arched structures. To cut this mesh I use a bolt cutter. I make my tomato cages about 7’ high and 2’ wide when planting in the ground. When making a tomato cage for in a large pot, I make the cage around 5’ tall and slightly smaller round than the pot I am planting in. I make 1’ long ‘HAIRPINS’ from wire coat hangers or any other heavy gauge metal you can bend into a ‘hairpin’ type anchoring device. Place cage around your young plant or seedling , then push the hairpin over the bottom square of the concrete mesh making sure you anchor it in very deep (all the way to the top of the hairpin).
To make the arched ‘hut like’ structure, I cut my concrete reinforcement into a 10’ length. Then I anchored one end, with the hairpins, then bent it into an arch as I walked it into the height I wanted, which was my height (5’ tall) and then anchored this side into the ground with the hairpins. I wanted it tall enough so I could walk under it to pick the cucumbers and beans easily.
My concrete reinforcement mesh has squares about 7”. Just make sure yours is large enough for your hand to fit through to pick your tomatoes, cucumbers, beans or any other produce you grow. These structures keep your produce clean and make it easy to pick.
While thrift shopping or dumpster diving (with permission of dumpster owner), I look for other structures I can use in my gardens. Here are a couple of ideas. Gazebos, youth beds (set on end), silo ladder cut into desired lengths and bent into a “U” shape and some things I don’t even know what their original purpose was…I just know I can repurpose them in my gardens. FREE or CHEAP is very good. Use your imagination and HAVE FUN!