Simple I-Trellis for Blackberry Plants

My 4 Natchez Blackberry plants have grown considerably since being planted on April 24th, 2020. After about 4 months of growth – some are up to 48 inches tall and they are folding over and getting close to the ground. I had built a very simple short I-Trellis with garden twine that is no longer enough for them. You can see that trellis video here. To see my 4 Natchez Blackberry plants from the start with video and timeline pictures click here. It was time for an upgrade. Here’s how I made a very simple I-Trellis for my Blackberry plants.

What started out as 4-6 inch plugs have now after about 4 months grown up to 48 inches tall!

Natchez Blackberry Plants April 24th 2020
Natchez Blackberry plants 3 and 4 on April 24th 2020
Natchez Blackberry plants 3 and 4 on Sept 1st, 2020
Natchez Blackberry plants 3 and 4 on Sept 1st, 2020

Grow Cantaloupe Vertically Along Privacy Fence

I started growing cantaloupes, honeydew and watermelon in my back and knew I’d need a trellis if I didn’t want them to just grow all over the place! So I sectioned them off with a slightly raised bed and made a cattle panel arch trellis which worked well! You can see the video here. I have a 6′ tall privacy fence around my backyard and decided to experiment with using that unused space and the fence as a trellis. I had some cantaloupe seeds and grew them in small cups and once they were large enough I put them in a small garden bed along the fence line.

How I grow melons vertically along my fence

June 15th, 2020
They are growing fast. The middle plant is cantaloupe.

Cantaloupe at the base of the fence June 15th 2020

June 26th, 2020
Cantaloupe vines expanding fast – almost time to string them up.

Vines expanding fast
Vines expanding fast June 26th 2020

July 12th, 2020
Vines have been lifted and tied up with garden twine up on the fence and they have taken off growing rapidly.

Cantaloupe growing up fence
Cantaloupe growing up fence July 12th 2020

July 18th, 2020
Found a cantaloupe growing hidden in the space between the post and the fence picket! Going to have to move it before it is completely stuck!

Cantaloupe growing hidden
Hidden cantaloupe growing between fence post and picket July 18th 2020

July 27th, 2020
Pulled the vine back a little so it had more room to grow in front of the fence post and supporting the fruit with hose tied to the bolts.

Cantaloupe support
Cantaloupe support using hose tied to the fence bolts July 27th, 2020
Wider view
View of my cantaloupe on the right growing up by the steel fence post 7-27-2020

August 11th, 2020
Color change – and time to harvest!

Cantaloupe color change 8-11-2020
Cantaloupe color change 8-11-2020
cantaloupe harvested 8-11-2020
Cantaloupe harvested 8-11-2020

August 12th, 2020
Clean cut and eat! The lighting in my kitchen area is not the best for a photo but we sure enjoyed this cantaloupe.

Cantaloupe washed and cut 8-12-2020
Cantaloupe washed and cut 8-12-2020

How to Grow Cantaloupes Vertically in a small space

My first attempt at growing food in my backyard was with cantaloupes and watermelons and that did very well. Two small sections grew to be two 8′ x 10′ area and ended up using 4 cattle panels to build an arch trellis for each section to grow vertically. The main reason for this was to minimize space used so my kids still had plenty of room in the backyard but also grow as much as possible!

Video 1 – How to build a cattle panel trellis to grow cantaloupes and watermelons vertically. I have two slightly raised beds built from cedar pickets that are each roughly 8 feet x 10 feet in size. They both have 8 metal U posts and two 16 feet cattle panels.

Video 2 – Vertical cantaloupe garden from day 1 to fruit slings and the trellis build. Watch to the end to see the day 1 photo versus day 87.

Prime Ark Freedom Blackberries

June 7th 2020
I know that June in Texas is not the best time to plant Blackberries but I decided that now was better than waiting until next spring or even later this Fall. I just really wanted to get started and add to my blackberry row. I currently have 4 Natchez Blackberry plants that I bought thru Amazon and put in the ground back in April 2020. They are doing very well – check them out here. I did some more research and decided to try Prime Ark Freedom blackberries which I ordered from Pense Nursery. They arrived very small with a sturdy stalk and either a few green leaves or a new flexible shoot coming off the short sturdy stalk.

Prime Ark Freedom Plant #10 on June 19th, 2020
Prime Ark Freedom Plant #10 on June 19th, 2020

June 15th, 2020
All 10 Prime Ark Freedom plants look very similar to the above photo but plants #8 and #9 appear to be the weakest of the group. See photo below from June 15th, 2020.

Prime Ark Freedom Plant #8 & 9 June 15th 2020
Prime Ark Freedom Plant #8 & 9 June 15th 2020

July 1st, 2020

Prime Ark Freedom Plant #8 July 10th 2020
Prime Ark Freedom Plant #8 July 10th 2020
Prime Ark Freedom Plant #9 July 10th 2020
Prime Ark Freedom Plant #9 July 10th 2020

July 18th, 2020
What a difference a month can make! The two that appeared the weakest in the early stages are now two of the strongest a month later. I was surprised at how much growth happened in about a month! Same Prime Ark Freedom plants #8 and #9 above are shown below just over a month later!

Prime Ark Freedom Plant #8 & 9 July 18th 2020
Prime Ark Freedom Plant #8 & 9 July 18th 2020

August 1st, 2020

Prime Ark Freedom Plant #8 Aug 1st, 2020
Prime Ark Freedom Plant #8 Aug 1st, 2020
Prime Ark Freedom Plant #9 Aug 1st, 2020
Prime Ark Freedom Plant #9 Aug 1st, 2020

August 3rd, 2020
First flower on my Prime Ark Freedom blackberry plants – plant #3. Walked out this morning to look at the row and there was a flower less than 2 months after transplant!

Prime Ark Freedom Plant #3 first flower Aug 3rd 2020
Prime Ark Freedom Plant #3 first flower Aug 3rd 2020

September 1st, 2020

Prime Ark Freedom Plant #8 Sept 1st, 2020
Prime Ark Freedom Plant #8 Sept 1st, 2020
Prime Ark Freedom Plant #9 Sept 1st, 2020
Prime Ark Freedom Plant #9 Sept 1st, 2020

Grow Watermelons Vertically in small space

My first attempt at growing food in my backyard. I started with cantaloupes and watermelons and that did very well. I began modestly with just a small section for a few watermelon plants and another small section for a few cantaloupe plants. I enjoyed it so much that I then got really into it and ended up using 4 cattle panels to build an arch trellis for each section to grow my food vertically. The main reason for this was to minimize space used so my kids could still play in the main middle part of the backyard but also grow as much as possible!

Video 1 – is the my whole process from the start of April 1st to June 26th, 2020.

Video 2 – the process I used to build a cattle panel trellis to grow watermelons vertically. I have two slightly raised beds built from cedar pickets that are each roughly 8 feet x 10 feet in size. They both have 8 metal U posts and two 16 feet cattle panels. In this video I may refer to it as my cantaloupe trellis but I used the exact same process for my watermelons just next to it.

Caroline Red Raspberry

In some of my other posts – I mentioned how I would do some things differently now that I’ve had some experience/failures in gardening. In my excitement with how well all the other fruit is doing – I decided to try planting some raspberries. Some of the favorite fruit for my kids are blackberries and raspberries. I already have blackberry plants so… lets try it. Didn’t work out so well. Time line photos below and what I’d do differently at the end.

May 3rd, 2020
Here’s the other fence line before I remove the grass and make the slightly raised row and plant them. It will be roughly 21 feet long and around 20 inches wide. I’ll be planting 7 bare root Caroline Red Raspberry plants with the canes spaced 3 feet apart.

Caroline Red Raspberry Patch before on May 3rd 2020
Caroline Red Raspberry Patch before on May 3rd 2020

June 7th, 2020
Received my bare root plants from Pense Nursery and put them in the row. I ordered a total of 9. I put 7 in this row and the other two in large pots just to experiment. Each arrived as just bare roots and a large cane with no green and I planted them 3 feet apart. Below is raspberry plant number 6 and 7 from left to right.

Caroline Red Raspberry plant 6 and 7 on June 7th 2020
Caroline Red Raspberry plant 6 and 7 on June 7th 2020

June 26th, 2020
19 days later and I have some new green growth on 5 of my 7 raspberry plants in the ground. My two in pots have no green still. All of the green growth are new small shoots coming from the sides of the cane. Below is raspberry plant number 6 and 7 from left to right – same two plants from above photo.

Caroline Red Raspberry plant 6 and 7 with green leaves 6-26-20
Caroline Red Raspberry plant 6 and 7 with green leaves 6-26-20

July 10th, 2020
Over the past 2 weeks all 7 of the plants in the garden row seemed to do well with new growth. Each of the plants have green leaves with some having many leaves and new growth on the sides of the cane but that didn’t last…
Some of them had leaves that started to curl. Others had leaves that got brownish on the edges and in different parts of the leaves.

July 22th, 2020
All 7 of my plants in the raspberry row now have leaves like picture 1 or worse – a few look like picture 2 – wilted and dead looking…

Raspberry leaves brown and curling 7-22-20
Raspberry leaves brown and curling 7-22-20
Raspberry wilting 7-22-20
Raspberry wilting 7-22-20

August 1st, 2020
Some research says that some disease is attacking them. Others say it is extreme heat stress and the fact that I planted them at the wrong time for my area. Planting raspberries in the heat of summer is not the best idea. We had some unseasonably cool weather in my area of Texas for a week or two when I planted them and a lot of cloud cover after that. I think that gave them a good start but the heat then just clobbered them. You learn as things happen to you and here’s what I learned and what I’d do differently. Hopefully this helps you if your reading this far.

Things I should have done or done differently for raspberries in Zone 8:
1. Plant raspberries at the right time – duh! Very early spring or or late fall but in the middle of the heat of summer – no.
2. Spray plants with organic pest control. I plan to use Neem oil and also insecticidal soap at other times.
3. Put up a shade cloth in my case to help with the heat stress in summer. I joined some fruit and gardening forums and found some people had success with using shade cloths or other ways to protect from the summer heat. Or I could have found an area in my yard that didn’t get so much afternoon sun. When I read up about growing raspberries it said full sun. Then I find out later from others that in a hot place like Texas they need some afternoon shade or you need to provide it for them especially as new transplants. I’m hopeful that maybe they still survive and next spring they will start putting up new shoots.