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How to build a cucumber frame

So as mentioned yesterday, I built a frame/trellis thing to keep the cucumbers from growing everywhere and taking over everything.   There are so many different options from cheap DIY to crazy expensive.  Here is an article that gives a few different ideas on what’s out there.   I took a pulled parts of a few things and made what worked for me.

First, look for what you have available.  If you have lots of long sticks or bamboo poles you can make a teepee shaped frame.  I however had neither of these things.  Instead, I went to the store and  walked around looking for inspiration.  I chose 1″x2″ furring strips.  These are just rough pieces used for support behind plaster or tile and are not high grade finish wood.  This is good since they are 92 cents for an 8 foot board.  And because you don’t need anything fancy.  For real long term durablity you could go with cedar but its a lot more expensive.

I made mine 4’3″ high and 2’8″ wide.  This is kind of a random size because I was trying to not waste any wood.

1. In the picture below you can see I have laid out the pieces of one half of the frame.  The long side pieces are 4 feet long so that I only had to cut the board in half.  The top and bottom pieces are 2’8″ which is the finished width.  The side pieces will be fit inside the top and bottom, thus the 4’3″ total height, which you can see on the top left and bottom right corners.  (The other corners haven’t been put together yet.)  The middle section was 2’5″ (total width of 2’8″ minus the 3″ of the side pieces –  although the strips are said to measure 1″x2″ they actually measure 3/4″ x 1 1/2″) I made two of the exact same frames and hinged them at the top to form an A frame.

 

2. To attach I pre-drilled the holes so the wood wouldn’t split and used 2 1/2 inch exterior screws.  Since I don’t have the hand strength to hold all the pieces together perfectly while drilling and screwing, I clamped the pieces to the table to keep them still.

 

3.  Once you have built both frames and hinged them, It’s time to add something for the vines to climb up and I chose to make a lattice look out of string.  I had a roll of exterior cloth line string laying around for some reason so I used that.  If you used cotton string you could compost it at the end of the year. All around the face of the frame (top, bottom & sides) I screwed in small screws down the middle  every four inches. These are wood screw I had laying around that are about 1/2 long.  Half inch exterior screws with flat heads would work best but I used what I had.  Just put the screw in a little, not all the way in.

4.  Start at a corner and tie a knot around the screw.  Then tighten down the screw to secure the string.  Pull the string across and wrap around the screw on the other side and tighten the screw.  Continue doing this back and forth pulling the string tight and then tightening the screw.

5. One you move up the whole length of the frame you will have this.  When you get to the last screw, tie a know and tighten the screw as you did at the start.

6.  After all the horizontal part is done do the same thing going up and down to make a lattice.   Every time I went under and over I also wrapped the string around the horizontal piece of string to give more support and to stop everything from sliding around.  When you move on to do the second side, remember to open the frame up so you don’t accidentally weave your string though both sides so you can’t open it.

7.  And here it is all finished and installed in the garden.  I originally was going to set the bottom board up the sides a few inches so the bottom of the sides could act like spikes for stability.  I remembered I wanted to do that after I had already put both frames together this way so I left it.  Sometimes I get so excited to get started I forget things that I should write things down.

The cucumbers were then planted in long hills that run parallel to the bottom board (no hills here since I planted after this was taken).  Once they start growing I will suggest that they should grow up this frame.  They have these amazing little arms that grab onto everything so they should love this.

 

 

7 Comments

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  3. dgen79Daniel

    I love how you used string as opposed to chicken wire (or equivalent). Im sure it helps on hot days! Great photos btw

    Reply
    1. The Ridiculous Redhead (Post author)

      Last year we let the cucs climb up the chicken wire gate and it was a mess. The cucs would grow through the hole when small and then get caught. The string is easiest to work with

      Reply
      1. dgen79Daniel

        thats what im hoping for – looks like a project to build over the weekend =)

        Reply
  4. Brett

    This is a neat idea. I think i will build one but with spikes on the bottom.

    Reply
    1. The Ridiculous Redhead (Post author)

      This frame held up 6 cucumbers plants and didn’t even tilt. Most of the cucumbers hung down inside the A frame which made it easy to pick. The wood is a bit weathered but should easily hold up for years.

      Reply

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