Creating a tomato arch trellis is a must-do experiment for any gardener. When you create an arch trellis, the tomato plants thrive on a runway. In the end, they will produce a bounty of fruit come harvest time!
We trellised our tomatoes and we are so pleased with the production. We are going to show you how we did it, so that you can get ready to do it in your garden.
Tools you will need
You should plan to have ready the following tools when taking on the project to create a tomato arch trellis for your grand harvest.
Handy Tool List
Fencing (Cattle Pannel)
Twine or string
Buddy/friend/neighbour/a human (to catch fence on ladder)
Directions to create a tomato trellis
Step 1: Add a line of fencing to two garden beds side by side.
To create a tomato arch trellis, you must being with the foundation fencing in your garden beds.
For our fencing, we used 4 feet wide 2×4 inch grid fence, which is also sometimes called a “cattle panel”.
Hammer your T-posts into the ground about 4 feet apart. Make sure to knock them a fair ways deep into the ground to ensure the posts will be very sturdy (to hold the weight of your many tomatoes, of course!)
Then line the T-posts with the fencing. You can use zip ties to hold the fence to the T-posts.
Step 2: Line PVC pipes from one garden bed to the other, along the T-posts
PVC pipes are similar to plumbing pipes, but they come in many sizes!
When you plan to create a tomato arch trellis, you should consider the weight of the bounty you anticipate as your reward.
The width of the 1/2 inch PVC pipes we used worked well. However, by the end of the season, the plants and their fruit weighed down heavily on our trellis. That is why we think for the next garden season, the 1 inch PVC pipes are worth experimenting with.
Depending on the size of the tomatoes you plan to grow and how many plants will be close together, plan for sturdy pipes that will hold the weight of your plants and their fruit.
Alternatively, you could also move the T-posts closer together if you know that you will be planting many plants side by side that will produce large tomatoes.
The length of the pipe should be the length between your beds, and then double that measurement. You double the measurement in order to get extra pipe for the half moon curve that creates the arch.
Simple math: if your two garden beds are 10 feet apart, purchase a 20 feet long PVC pipe.
We could not find 20 feet long PVC pipes that were within our budget, so we purchased two 10 feet wide pipes and combined them with a cupling.
To hold the cupling and PVC pipes together, we used good old duct tape.
Step 3: Roll out your fence and cut it to the length that your arch will be
This is easiest done if you roll out the fence on flat ground. Generally when you buy your fencing it will be sold in a roll. So the fence will be in a habit of being in a roll. It helps to flatten the section out at least once.
Now, I’m thinking that you will have more than a 4 feet wide trellis. If you are like me, you planted way more than 2 varieties of tomatoes. Or as I did in previous years, you most likely bought more than 3 plants from the store. Therefore, I’m going to assume that you will be creating arches for multiple 4 foot sections. However, if you are only creating one 4 foot section, measure the length of the PVC pipe arch and cut fence according.
If you are creating a few sections of arch, the first section can be a a measurement guessing game. Start by measuring the length of your arch with string, and add a few inches to be safe.
Once you have your first arch up, you can use twine to measure the length of you first fence. Once you have an accurate measurement, repeat cuts for your other sections.
Step 4: Fold fencing over pvc and secure with zip ties
You will need two people for this next step. One person on a ladder, and the second person on the ground.
The person on the ground will hand the fencing to the person on the ladder. We found it easier to roll the cut fence into a roll and hand it to the person on the ladder in a roll. That will make it easier on the ladder to roll out evenly over the PVC piped arch.
The person on the ground secure the fence to the PVC pipes with zip ties. The person on the ladder holds the fencing in place.
Step 5: Repeat steps 1-4 for other sections
Once you have one section completed, repeat for other sections.
Another good tip: unfold your fencing against the grain of the fold. In other words, unroll it in the opposite direction that the fence was rolled in when you purchased it.
Step 6: Guide your tomato plants onto their new arched trellis
Spend time guiding each plant onto the trellis. After your efforts to create a tomato arch trellis for your plants, this final step is key. It can be a time consuming step depending on how much your tomatoes have grown by the time you get to creating their trellis. The cattle fencing has helpful pockets that make it easy for the leaves of the plant to rest on.
This tomato arch trellis will create for your plants an extended runway. Imaging it being like a new home for the plants, where they can unpack and roam around.
Finally, you now wait for the bounty. At this point, the trellis is secure and the plants are ready to march into their new future. The set up is well worth the effort and pocket money.
Share photos of your trellis ideas, or show us how the trellis faired in your garden.
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