I’m obsessed with different ways to “cage” or trellis summer fruit. Of course, a standard metal cage is fine – after all, vines do just cover it up. But the shape of your trellis can really make a visual impact in your garden. Unfortunately, many of the store bought cages are very expensive. Over the years I’ve come to realize how easy it is to make or upgrade your own.
Aluminum Cage Upgrade:
On the basis of usefulness and price point I like the standard aluminum tomato cages: they have nice big areas that make for easier harvesting, they’re cheap and they’re easy to find. There’s just a little problem, every time I see one in my garden it makes me cringe. They are so ugly.
Last week we were playing around with the cages that were in our storage area and decided to try and use them. We discovered that if you turn the cages upside down and tie the once bottom bars (now on top) together with garden twine— get a friend to help you with this step, it’s a two person job— you have a beautiful shape to your trellis.
It gives it a pretty sculptural look until your plant fills in the area with wild vines. Attach the bottom to the soil with large garden staples. This helps hold it secure so it won’t blow over if Santa Ana’s come to town. To make it look even more interesting, we hung a little medallion on one and have plans to add wooden finials to the others.
Make Your Own: Bamboo
When building trellises out of natural materials, I’ve found that bamboo fairs better in the garden than straight wood. I also love the beautiful, organic contrast of the natural looking bamboo and the green vines. Building with bamboo, you’ll need a buff friend with a saw to help you cut it down to your desired lengths. If your garden is in full view or part of your outdoor entertaining space, bamboo trellises are so pretty.
And here’s an upside down aluminum trellis in one of my tree box garden planters.