Conduit stakes for mellons

scunningham(6)March 11, 2009

Hello everyone,

My winter reading this year included Square Foot Gardening.. The book gave me the idea of the electrical conduit trellis for in my conventional garden. My plan was to use half inch conduit and 4 ft rebar. I am sure this is sturdy enough for cukes, pole beans etc. I am not sure about watermelons and cantaloupes. For heavier crops, Mel stated to use 3ft fence posts and use pipe clamps to attach the conduit. It does not sound to me like that would hold the weight and may tip over. Does anyone have any experience with this? I would appreciate some advise.

Thank you, Scott

PS : I am going to grid my 3 x 6 flower bed for smaller veggies and lettuce. Sounds like a good idea.

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Dan Staley


I use 1/2 in conduit for toms, cukes, peas, beans. I use 3/4 for melon crops. I want to spray-paint it but the fam says no, and we have a lot of conduit trellises to show the neighbors.

I have a HD nearby that has 3/4 x 10 ft for 3.59-ish. Two of these plus your 2 pc of rebar is less than $10, then your connector is 1.29. Borrow your buddy's pipe bender and you're done. Enjoy. BTW, my conduit is secured by SCH40 PVC, which I prefer for numerous reasons, including ease of lifting up to clean.


    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 12:23AM
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Thanks for the reply. Do you just pound the SCH40 in the ground and set your trellis in. I never have worked with PVC. I thought it would crack and not go into the ground easily. Thanks for the tip about 3/4" conduit for the melons. I plan on building 6 trellises. I am hoping to get it right the first time.


    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 2:31AM
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Dan Staley

Scott, I dig out a hole, but I'm an old landscape contractor and maybe not too bright in saving energy ( ;o) ).

I have a lot of rebar around here and I secure the PVC to it with zip ties or galv wire because I overengineer everything. Hacksaw will make quick work of cutting and wipe off the burrs.

I don't like rebar for securing so much conduit weight because of the flex and subsequent sway; you'll see why when you have 10 melons straining against August storms. I do use rebar to secure my 3/4 poly hoops for row covers, because of the ease and flexibility of placement, and also I have some Helianthus max. that I hold back with wire secured to conduit, secured to rebar for the flex.

With SCH40 PVC it is easy to lift the whole trellis out by yourself without friction. A shim holds the structure secure. I have 5 trellises and two are 3/4, the two conduits meet somewhere in the middle and are secured with a straight coupler, the two screws point down (so I can drape plastic over in October to extend season). The pipe bender adds just enough to the aesthetics to always make them interesting. If you paint them, make it a light color to stay cooler in the sun.

One thing in retrospect I wish I did was make every trellis standard and the same span, so I could move the two thicknesses around, but I'm not too constrained in my setup.

Have fun!


    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 10:36AM
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I have 30 some degree weather today in PA. So I went to the HD and came up with this.

The top photo is a 1/2" Galv. Split ring I found in plumbing attached to a 3ft Upost I'll add 2 to each side. The cost was just under $2.00 for the split ring. The bottom photo is the 90 degree connector I found near the electrical conduit. They are a little pricey $4.89. However I can take them apart and store evrything in my shed over the winter. I saw all the same items in 3/4" that I can use for melons. I am going to use 4ft Upostd for the 3/4" conduit. I think this should work. Plus I can move my trellises around year to year so I am not planting the same things in the same spots, What do yuo all think ?


    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 3:44PM
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