String trellis: Simple, strong, beautiful

For years we* have made half-hearted attempts to come up with a free-standing system to allow our pea vines to climb up a string trellis.  Seems simple enough, but we always ended up with something that was inadequate or ugly or both.

* Susan’s done the lion’s share of work in the garden

Last year we decided to plant the peas in a different part of the garden and take advantage of a large beam extending out over that paht of the yahd.  I tacked a bunch of little finishing brads into the beam and into a 2×3 (I’m calling it a footer) that lay on the ground.  Loop string around the nails, and there’s our trellis.  On a nice angle, too, to keep the vines off of the house.

All was fine and dandy until the peas got going and put some weight on the strings.  Rocks and bricks didn’t keep the footer in place, strings came off the little nails – all hell was breaking loose on the string trellis!  If I pounded rebar into the ground to anchor that blasted footer, we might put our eyes out or rip open our legs when we later forgot that the rebar lay hidden there in some weeds.  I’d have to think of something different next year.

And I did.

First of all,  no more little nails barely visible to the naked eye.  We’ve got a row of screw eyes in the footer:


eyelets spaced about 5" apart on the ground...

... and on the beam.

... and on the beam.

McLendon Hardware stocks solutions to almost every problem.  Even if you don’t find exactly the solution you’re looking for, you may very well find needed inspiration there.  Mine came in the form of a gizmo for securing a leash:


I removed the swiveling collars, drilled a big hole in each end of my footer, and twisted them into the ground.  If you can open a bottle of wine, you can do this:


The corkscrew anchors were $1.89 each.  That footer is going nowhere, strings stay taut, and when the peas are done we’ll just cut the twine, unscrew the footer, and put the assembly away until next year.  How’s that for a simple, elegant solution?

A thing of beauty.

A thing of beauty.


4 responses to “String trellis: Simple, strong, beautiful

  1. Beautiful photos and description capturing Tom’s ingenuity, resourcefulness and precision. In years past, he tried to improve my half-baked attempts (like the flying strings) to provide a climbing route for the peas.

    This year he had the opportunity to strategize and implement the plan from “the ground up.” The results of his efforts are truly a thing of beauty. I had the simpler task of spreading compost and sticking the seeds in the ground.

  2. Hi Tom: Dad (Engineer Extraordinaire) would be so impressed with this! A job well done indeed. I look forward to following the peas’ progress on line since I can’t be there to enjoy them!

  3. This architectural wonder has seeped into my imagination. I think about it more than you might expect, and wonder how the shoots are doing. The only improvement I can imagine is a flat screen tv such as they have in Safeco field so passers-by can keep tabs on the progress. Can we have that?

  4. I’m using our chunk of government bailout money to buy that flat screen TV. Good idea – seems like the least we can do.

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