Re-purpose a wood pallet into a quick and sturdy DIY cucumber trellis — no tools required. It gives space for the plants to grow and makes harvesting an easy task.
There’s no better way to grow vining cucumbers than on a cucumber support. Without one, they’ll happily scramble over the ground but there are quite a few soil borne diseases that can affect the plants. Not to mention slugs and other critters that might want a taste. Growing cucumbers vertically also makes harvesting a treat since the fruit are easy to find and pick.
Though you can purchase a ready made cucumber support, it’s easy to make one yourself. All you need for this garden project is a heat-treated pallet, a couple of posts and baling twine.
Benefits of a Pallet Cucumber Trellis
Depending on where you are in the world, there are various fungi and viruses that affect cucumbers. One of my own challenges is downy mildew, a fungus that’s blown in with warm, damp winds. Keeping my plants off the ground with plenty of good air circulation is key to keeping it under control. The quicker that the leaves dry after a wet spell, the less likely that the fungus will take hold.
My pallet cucumber trellis helps with that since the plants are off the ground and have plenty of air around the leaves. It’s south-facing position means that it gets sun all day — a bonus for added growth and for drying those leaves quicker. Using a trellis can also help control powdery mildew, another fungus that affects cucumbers.
Harvesting made easy
As the cucumbers grow up the face of your trellis, their fruit hangs down. Can you see how easy it is to spot the cucumbers? Sometimes the fruit won’t drop down but will grow on top of the pallet’s slats. That can make it even easier to find and pick them.
A pallet is the perfect size for a couple of cucumbers to scramble over and the right size for harvesting. Squat at the open end and just reach inside for your cukes. If your plants were sprawling along the ground then you’d be even more bent over trying to find the fruit under masses of leaves.
Maximizing gardening space
Another great reason to grow your cucumbers on an angled trellis is that you can have two crops in the same space. Since the cucumbers grow off the ground, that space underneath is perfect for growing greens. Lettuces, radishes, spinach, and oriental vegetables will appreciate the semi-shade and protection the trellis gives. At one time this year I had ten heads of lettuce growing under the cucumbers. Talk about maximizing gardening space!
Choosing a pallet
You should also choose the right kind of pallet for this project. Many are heat-treated against insects but some are sprayed with an insecticide called Methyl bromide. It’s not something that we want anywhere near our food or the beneficial insects in our gardens.
Fortunately it’s easy to see how a pallet has been treated. Look for a stamp on the side and discard any pallets that have the letters ‘MB’. If you see ‘HT’ you’re good to go, since that means it’s been heat-treated. Ignore the letters DB — all that means is that the wood has been debarked. No tools required DIY Pallet Cucumber Trellis