The rather long point of this is to point people to this flat out incredible site. Animated knot tying instructions with historical information, application notes, and words of warning about failure modes.
Another excellent knot site.
Did a bit of gardening today. Beyond the typical weeding and planting, I had to make some vertically oriented growing structures for beans and grapes. That is, I needed trellises.
In the past, I have used concrete netting (i.e. wire mesh with 6″ openings) and, when feeling extra lazy, I have used pre-boat trellises (jasmine in our atrium, for example).
Expensive, that. A far less expensive solution which also has the added benefit of being fully customizable is to build trellises myself using posts and twine, rope or wire, depending on how long the trellis needs to last.
You’ll need two critical tools to make this easy. First, you’ll need a post driver. Why the Amazon product link doesn’t show the driver, I don’t know.
Anyway, a post driver is simply a steel tube hollow one one end and weighted on the other with a couple of handles. You slide the post driver over the post you want to drive, lift up, and let it drop (or pull down if you want to drive faster). The post driver does the work of driving the post without the risk of smashing the crap out of your feet.
So, grab your post driver and some posts. I use both wooden and metal posts, depending on what is available. Sometimes, I’ll drive a metal post really deep, then a wooden post a couple of inches deep next to it, and tie the two together with my wire clamp tool to make an extra tall post (as I did for the grape trellis).
Now, you’ll need to make the actual trellis. If you intend for it to last more than a growing season — a grape trellis, for example — I would suggest using wire, fairly thick rope, or something weather resistant. For a bean trellis, use jute twine (product link pictured).
Laying out the trellis is simple. Tie a tight line between the tops of the posts, then the middle, and finally the bottom. The posts will move and the top has the most leverage and, thus, will cause the poles to move the most when tied. If you tie the bottom or middle lines first, they’ll go slack when you tie the top line. If necessary, you can drive a couple of posts at an angle a few feet away from the verticals and tie lines from the bases to the top of the verticals to support the verticals. Think tent lines here.
Once all the horizontal lines are tied, you can run lines vertically. Instead of tieing a bunch of individual lines, I tie a long line at the end and then loop it up-down-up-down-up across the whole trellis. It can easily be adjusted as you go, though you have to be careful not to make it too tight or else the first verticals will go slack.
But, wait, you say… what kind of knot? Well, funny story there. I suck at tieing knots. Just suck. Don’t know which one to use and whatever I tie falls a part. I compensate through the use of wire ties and duct tape. What a waste; a stupid handicap, really.
I decided to fix this and found the most amazingly useful instructional site ever for learning to tie knots. Beautiful presentation; each knot is broken down into individual steps with photographs of each step. Along with each knot is a discussion of what it is useful for– what problems it solves– and failure modes.
So, I learned and then used the Round Turn and Two Half Hitches exclusively. Worked extremely well. Restate: It works better than any knot I have every tied before (typically, granny knots and square knots).
By the time I had my bean trellis all tied up, a couple of other gardeners were taking notice! My grape trellis is composed of wire for the horizontals and jute twine for the verticals. The jute will rot after a season or so. By that time, the grape vines will be well enough established to fully support themselves on just the wire. Or I can just tie some more jute into place, if I have to.