The Planet Whizbang
T-post Grape Trellis
(and grape trellis fittings)
By: Herrick Kimball
—click pictures to see enlarged views—
The picture above shows Concord grapes growing on my T-post grape trellis. The grapes are green when they are growing, then turn dark purple later in the season...
Mature grapes (above) are so lovely, and sweet. Notice the T-post in the background.
If you have always wanted to grow grapes, but were put off by the thought of building a heavy-duty trellis for them, you’re going to love this new idea from Planet Whizbang. Lengths of sturdy, freestanding grape trellis can be erected with much less time and trouble than the traditional grape trellis structure. And these spans of easy-to-erect grape trellis will dependably support your vines for decades. The key “ingredient” for making these excellent T-post trellis spans is the simple Whizbang Grape Trellis T-connector Fitting I invented.
After the 1/8” hole is drilled, drive the stainless steel pan-head screw into the fitting, as shown above. This locks the top bar into the fitting. The trellis will be solid and freestanding. The top bar serves as the top horizontal “wire” to train your upper grape vines along.
The picture above shows the inside of the fitting and the length of conduit to the next T-post.
And there (above) you see the grape trellis fitting with two conduit pipes coming into it. Once the T-post and top-bar framework is in place, you can string a length of #9 wire, 30” down from the top. For small quantities of #9 wire, I recommend galvanized clothesline wire, which is available in most hardware stores....
The clothesline wire can be pulled tight and tied with smaller wire to each T-post. Another option is to make a rigid lower horizontal out of electrical conduit. Attach the lengths with wire to each post.
Make A Whizbang
Espalier Fruit Tree Frame
Espalier Fruit Tree Frame
How AboutThe end-of-season picture above shows my first attempt at growing espaliered tomatoes on a T-post trellis made with Whizbang grape trellis fittings. With a solid top bar, I was able to install tensioned horizontal wires from post to post without the posts being pulled in towards each other. That's the beauty of having a solid top bar. I used a thin wire for the horizontals and slid some plastic tubing over the wires. It was all experimental.
I’ve never seen or read of anyone growing an espaliered tomato, except for one short excerpt I came across in an old farm journal from the 1800s. It mentioned that many gardeners in Europe espalier their tomatoes. I figured I’d give it a try.
Though the frost-killed tomato in the picture above doesn't look so great, it serves to show the structure of the trellis and plant. That single Tommy Toe tomato was a lush, healthy plant for the growing season, and the idea was a moderate success. The main problem was thet the vigorous plant got ahead of me and the trellis span was much too short at only 5’. The next time I try this, the span will be 10’ to 12’ long and made using three T-posts, with the tomato planted near the center post.
Back To Grapes
I have an 80' long grape trellis by my garden. I've had it for years. It produces many buckets of grapes like shown here. We make grape juice mostly, and put it up in canning jars. It's the best!