It’s snowy, cold and the only thing growing in our 20minute garden are the icicles hanging from the storage barn. It’s the perfect time to build something useful, like the trellis I made a couple years back for our black raspberry canes.
The reason why I wanted a trellis is to keep the tips of the canes from touching the ground. Raspberry canes will sprout roots and eventually will create a new plant if the tips touch the ground. I’m already pushing the limits of how many plants I can keep healthy in a small amount of space. Plus, if the canes aren’t pointing upward, I can’t see them to prune and thus encourage more fruit.
This trellis was built entirely of scavenged wood plus a couple pieces of hardware that made the task MUCH easier than I expected. Normally I despise traditionally treated lumber but I made an exception with this project because the wood will never actually touch the soil, plus since I had scavenged it, I rationalized that most of the surface chemicals had already washed off. Having said that, BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL with the sawdust. Don’t breathe it and be very careful to collect the sawdust and discard it properly. DON’T COMPOST IT.
I am including a sketch of my actual trellis as built plus a page of scribbles I made as I was working toward the final design. Don’t just build what I did. Think about it a moment and you probably will come up with something that suits your tastes better. My design is obviously based heavily on telephone pole because the line that support the canes reminded me a lot of telephone lines.
The cut list for my design is:
4×4’s (for BOTH trellises)
• 4 vertical posts @ 36″
• 2 upper horizontal supports @ 36″
• 2 lower horizontal supports @ 24″
• 8 galvanized 4×4 fasteners (used for fastening deck posts perpendicularly);
• lots of stainless steel screws (pre-drill!) The kind of fasteners I used required 12 screws apiece;
• enough plastic coated clothes line for the number of holes times the length of your bramble bed;
• 4 of those cute copper fence toppers. (This solved a couple problems not the least of which was an UGLY cut I’d made on a couple of the posts. Also, they divert rain from pouring right down the most vulnerable side of the post. And they look cool;
• 4 “spiked post holders” for lack of a better name. They hold a 4×4 and helped me avoid having to use a longer post and bury half of it in the ground. Another trouble with a buried post is they are wont to rot out, just around the 6 or 8 inches where soil contacts the post. Lower down, there’s no oxygen and higher up, it’s not constantly wet. The concern I had using these spiked post holders was that they seemed to be designed for structures where most of the stress was applied directly downward, that is, not torqued, that is, they would most definitely NOT be good for a fence of any height. Since the weight of the canes and wires is negligible, I thought I’d give these a try. So far they’ve been pretty good, though I won’t discount the contribution of our thick clay soil.