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Cucumber plants form long tendrils that spread out in all directions at ground level. They only strive upwards if they find a useful support on the way. But then their leaves are safe from moisture and so are the coveted fruits. The dreaded rot can afflict them only with difficulty at dizzy heights. But climbing aids don't just sprout out of the ground, the gardener has to provide them in a targeted manner. With a little skill, he can even build them himself cheaply.

climbing aids

Of course, the tendrils of a cucumber plant can and should spread flat on the ground. The Cucumis sativus will also grow under these circumstances and form its cucumber fruits. Nevertheless, it makes sense to give it a climbing aid. It offers the following two advantages:

  • at dizzy heights, cucumber leaves dry quickly
  • the cucumber plant takes up less space

Dry leaves are important for this crop, as prolonged exposure to moisture quickly causes it to rot. Leading the cucumber tendrils upwards also creates more space in width. This is a convincing argument, especially with a very limited cultivation area. Harvesting at hand height is a convenience that the trellis also offers us.

tip: Especially stable climbing aids are a purchase for a long time. They can be cleaned and used again and again for new generations of cucumbers, but also for other climbing plants.

What does a suitable trellis look like?

A Cucumis sativus hangs plenty of fruit in summer. Some of the weight then eats away at the thin tendrils, and pouring rain also exerts additional pressure. To ensure that the tendrils do not sink to the ground or even break off, the trellis must provide them with a secure support up to a minimum height of 1 m.

But a safe support is one that the tendrils can also hold on to. Smooth or close-meshed materials are not suitable for cucumber plants, they need a rough surface. Nets must also not be tightly woven. There is a third factor to consider for outdoor growing: the weather. The trellis must withstand rain, sun and wind.
In summary, a suitable support for cucumbers can be characterized as follows:

  • stable
  • weatherproof
  • handy
  • sufficiently high (1 to 2 m)

Build cucumber trellis yourself

A trellis can be bought ready-made in the garden center. This is convenient, but also costs money. Anyone who tends a garden knows how quickly a nice little sum is left in such centers for all kinds of useful and useless things year after year. Does the purchase really have to be, or is there another way?

A cucumber trellis is not a structural masterpiece, even a skilled hobby gardener can do it. The ingredients are always the same: a few ideas, the right material, the right tools and some time. However, which material is required also depends directly on where the cucumber plants are grown. There are usually three ways to grow them, all of which require a slightly different solution.

  • Cultivation in the greenhouse
  • outdoor cultivation
  • Cultivation in a bucket

Cucumber support in a greenhouse

In a greenhouse, the growing area is tight, every square centimeter is used. There is hardly any space left for space-filling constructions. Doesn't have to be! Because a climbing aid for cucumbers can be accomplished in a greenhouse with just a few tools without being disruptive. You need:

  • Ropes made of bast or rough plastic
  • Pegs for fastening

How to build a cucumber support for the greenhouse:

  1. Anchor the ropes firmly to the ground with the pegs.
  2. Pull the ropes taut upwards and fasten the ends to the greenhouse roof structure.

This climbing aid can be removed again at any time, but can also be extended with a few additional ropes if necessary.

tip: If you have plenty of space in the greenhouse, you can also place some of the outdoor climbing aids presented below in it.

Build climbing aids for outdoor use

More ideas can be implemented in the open bed than in the small greenhouse. The first decision is whether to build a firmly anchored trellis or a “mobile” trellis. Firmly anchored structures offer more stability and are durable, sometimes also more expensive. Because of the necessary crop rotation, it should also be suitable for other plants such as mangetout.

A mobile trellis is connected to the ground in such a way that it can be dismantled and set up at a new location each year. The material costs are usually lower, but it is also less stable and short-lived than a fixed scaffold. Here it is also important that you choose a wind-protected place. Several high-growing cucumbers quickly form a "green sail" with their leaves, which increases the effect of the wind.

Support for only one cucumber plant

A climbing aid for one single cucumber plant is built quickly. For this you need a high stick, which should also be handy and not too thick. Untreated wooden sticks and bamboo sticks work well.

  1. Do not wait until the plant has formed long tendrils. Set up the climbing aid when sowing or at the latest when the cucumber begins to form tendrils.
  2. Find a suitable place to set up, about 15 cm from the root base.
  3. Drive the stick into the ground at least 20 cm deep so that it can withstand windy weather.

tip: Help the cucumbers to jump by wrapping their tendrils around the staff a few times at the beginning. You can then continue the way up on your own.

Instructions for a cone scaffold

Several bamboo poles or wooden sticks can be combined to form a climbing aid for several cucumbers. To do this, they are inserted deep into the ground in a circular pattern. The diameter of the circle should be at least 60 cm. The upper ends are brought together in such a way that they can be easily tied together. The finished rank shape resembles a cone. Around it, several cucumbers can climb up.

Build a simple wooden trellis

A simple wooden lattice consists of a stable wooden frame in which cords are stretched like a lattice. For this you need the following materials:

  • two narrow wooden slats about 2 m long for the vertical sides of the frame
  • two narrow wooden slats about 1.5 m long for the horizontal sides of the frame
  • a long string to stretch
  • alternatively a coarse-meshed net
  • possibly suitable fastening material

How it works:

  1. Screw the four slats into a frame. The vertical sides protrude about 50 cm on one side of the frame
  2. Fix the net inside the frame or stretch the rope like a net.
  3. Push the protruding ends of the frame deep into the ground.
  4. You can also attach such a grid - with spacers - to a wall.

Inclined grids for large-fruited cucumber varieties

Large-fruited cucumber plants need a very stable trellis. Ideally, this is inclined. You can easily build a scaffold like this yourself. For this you need two welded wire meshes or two wire meshes with a large mesh width.

  1. Insert the two grids into the ground. Parallel to each other and at a distance of 1.5 times their height.
  2. Lean the two bars against each other like a tent
  3. Connect the top ends with sturdy wire.

The cucumbers are planted from the outside, climb up the tent walls and let the fruit hang inside through the mesh.

tip: You can also place just one reinforcing steel mesh at an angle, but then you need suitable supports that hold it in an inclined position. Wooden posts or large plant stones, for example.

Stable and versatile trellis

The cucumber is not the only type of vegetable that a trellis can use well. Sugar snap peas, runner beans, climbing nasturtiums, etc. gratefully accept their help. In a large and varied garden, it is worth installing a solid trellis. You need at least two thick wooden posts at least 2 m high as load-bearing elements.

  1. Drive a wooden stake about 50 cm deep into the ground. If this is difficult, you can dig a deep hole beforehand and bury the post in it and, if necessary, concrete it in.
  2. Dig the next stake. The distance to the first post should be about 1 m.
  3. For a wider scaffold, you can set up more posts.
  4. Now stretch out a 10 x 10 mm net and attach it to the posts. It should be made of non-slip material.

Build mini trellis for pot cultures

A large bucket is also ideal for harvesting a Cucumis sativus on the balcony. If the pot is free and there is no trellis nearby, you can build one yourself. Below are the instructions:

  1. Insert two large and sturdy bamboo sticks into the bucket in a V-shape.
  2. Stretch a coarse-meshed rope net between the poles.
  3. Fix the net in several places with the bamboo poles.
  4. You can attach one or two more, slightly shorter, bamboo sticks crosswise halfway up. This gives the construction more stability.

Of course, you can also put just one stick in the pot as a climbing aid. But the construction described above gives the cucumber more space to spread its leaves. A few side shoots can also climb on it and form delicious cucumbers.

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