The vegetable garden is probably the focal point of the backyard. It is both ornamental and functional. I think all gardens should be both and it really isn't a difficult thing to do.
I have posted pictures of my A-frames before, but never disclosed the plan or story. So here it is. When I first retired and began intensively gardening I had this vision of a wooden trellis with decorative poles sticking up in the vegetable garden. The decorative poles are part of the A-frame. Can you see them? Unfortunately, I am not real quick when it comes to visualizing things. I got the idea for the decorative poles from a magazine picture. What I did not know was that those poles were permanently placed in the garden. I did not want this for my garden.
So I initially created the most stupidest trellis just so I could have decorative poles sticking up in my garden. It consisted of the two decorative poles, some 2x2s, and a string trellis. The trellis looked great, and even kind of worked, but only when nothing was growing on it. The stand was a 2x4 base which was supposed to keep the trellis upright. It was fashioned kind of like a hat rack. Not too stable at all. Nope. It blew over all the time, and I finally got sick of it. Like I said, I am not always the sharpest tool in the shed.
An A-frame was the solution. There is no way this baby is going anywhere. I used the following materials:
a) Two decorative poles (about $20 for both at Lowes)
b) 4 total 2x4s (for bracing the top and bottom of the end pieces together (2) and to join to the decorative poles to make the frame)
c) 1/2" carriage bolts (2) [They need to be long enough to fit thru both the decorative pole and a 2x4]
d) 8 1/2" washers (4 per pole for a total of 8 per A-frame)
e) Concrete reinforcing wire, but a string trellis or any type of fencing will work too.
I stood one of the two decorative poles up in a bed (most all of the beds are the same width so that was not an issue), and held a 2x4 next to it to mark for the hole. This is an important step to be sure you get the right angle for your beds and use. I cut the 2x4s to size, leaving a bit of excess for a decorative purpose, drilled the holes through the decorative poles and 2x4s, placed one washer on the carriage bolt, stuck it through the decorative pole, placed two more washers (so the two poles would move freely and fold up easily), put the 2x4 on, placed on the last washer, and finger tightened the nut. That takes care of the two end pieces.
I next determined the length of the trellis. I made three A-frames for my garden. Some of my beds are long, and some are short. I wanted the flexibility to move the trellises around into any bed. I can also mix and match the trellis if desired. You don't want the trellis so long you can't handle moving them easily. I cut two more 2x4s to length and nailed them onto the top and bottom of the end pieces horizontally. Now the basic frame is complete.
I next added the concrete reinforcing wire. This stuff is worth its weight in gold to the home gardener. It has so many uses and if you are smart and lucky, you can find it for next to nothing. I cut the wire to length and attached it to the frame with cable ties. On one of the A-frames I used regular galvanized fencing wire since I am out of concrete reinforcing wire. It will work fine but the holes are a bit smaller. I prefer the large holes of the concrete reinforcing wires since I can reach through them easily. Any twining vegetables you grow on these A-frames will most likely hang down through the holes. You can easily harvest the vegetables on the underside without reaching through any holes.
My frames are stained but that is not a necessary step. I prefer stained wood to help dissuade the carpenter bees and to protect the wood from the elements. If you do stain your trellis, it is much easier to do so before you build the A-frame.
Gourds and cucumbers will happily grow along these trellises all summer. Growing these vining vegetables vertically saves a lot of room in the garden, makes harvesting easier, and keeps the fruit much neater, straighter and easier to see. You can also grow beans and peas on them. Just about any vining vegetable will love these A-frames and they are not blowing over in the winds! If you do try out the A-frames, let me know how they work for you.
in the garden....