THE WAY I SEE IT, a tee-pee-type trellis — the kind the colonists used — makes the best support for tomatoes and other vining crops. Mine, pictured above, is made from sumac (yes, sumac!), a weed-tree that flourishes in these parts. You can easily make such a trellis, using nothing more than sumac, bamboo, or maple saplings, and a little jute twine. Just follow this photo-tutorial:
For a trellis that occupies a 4-foot by 8-foot space (or raised bed), gather the following:
12 thin sumac trunks (or whatever you have at your disposal), each approximately 7 1/2 feet long, and 3-inches in diameter
1 additional, thin sumac trunk, 8 feet long, and approximately 2-3 inches in diameter (for the cross-beam)
Anchored in soil, and lashed with jute-twine, this super-duper trellis is sturdier than the stoutest wire tomato cage on the market. And indeterminate tomatoes aren’t the only crops that will climb its rustic frame — pole beans, cucumbers and heavy winter-squash will, too.
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