I’m always looking for the most efficient use of space in my vegetable garden – even though I have plenty of room in this big yard. So I’ve come up with a pea trellis that works very well for me, producing an abundance of peas in a small area.
The peas I like to grow are called Sugar Snap Pole. I like them because I can eat the pod (and don’t have to shell them) and I feel like I get more peas per square foot by sending them vertical. And they are super sweet, tasty and keep producing pods as long as I keep up with picking them. Of course, it’s also a good thing that they grow tall because my dogs like them too and any peas growing close to ground level are fair game!
I have tried several different methods of trellising with mixed results. I bought an expandable tripod style trellis made of bamboo but found it difficult to harvest the peas growing inside the tripod. It also seemed as though the bamboo was a little slippery and it always took a while before the peas began climbing well.
I also tried a flat, fence style trellis built from 1”x1” cedar with plastic netting staple-gunned to it and that one worked quite well until the vines got really big, then I found that the whole thing caught a lot of wind and it ended up flopping back and forth which wasn’t very good for the pea vines at all. This trellis was really inefficient regarding use of space too. I planted a few radishes and some lettuce on either side of the trellis to make better use of the 3 foot wide bed, but still…
Last year I came up with pea trellis that I’m really pleased with. I feel like it allowed me to grow more peas in a smaller area, I could reach all of them easily AND it was really stable in my windy garden!
I call it my Pea “W”
Take 5 – 8 foot, 1”x1” cedar stakes, pound them well into the ground so that if you were looking down from above each stake would pierce a point on the letter W. Basically that means three to the front and two to the back of my 3 foot wide garden bed.
Attach your netting to the stakes (I used a staple gun) following a zigzag pattern and voilà – you have a pea W. I guess it could also be a bean W, or a cuke W, or whatever vining plant you are growing. Plant your seeds along the base of the netting and watch them grow up the W. All the peas (or beans) will be easy to reach from one side or the other.
If you want to extend your trellis just add as many stakes as you like, continuing the back and forth pattern. This trellis is very sturdy, even when my pea vines topped 6 feet and were loaded with pods it stood strong. There will be a small triangular area of bare soil between the “rows”. I have seeded some radishes in mine to fill every possible space.
When the peas were finished last year I tore the vines from the trellis, pulled the stakes from the ground, rolled the whole thing into a bundle and stored it in the garage for the winter. This spring I simply unrolled it, pounded the stakes into the garden and I’m off to the races! Of course I am planting peas in a different spot this year, always rotate your crops.