How to make a DIY tomato trellis for your garden with EMT conduit that will last years.
It's taken us a few years but we are finally getting serious about our veggie garden. We inherited a mess of a back yard when we moved in 5 years ago and it's been a slow process.
Last year I built 2 DIY raised garden beds from scrap wood and this year is all about a trellis for our tomato plants.
We always use tomato cages but our plants usually outgrow them so I wanted to try something different.
What can I use for a tomato trellis?
We went round and round with all different kinds of ideas for our tomato garden. One idea was to use a garden obelisk (like the one I built) or to make a different kind of tomato cage, but I kept coming back to a trellis.
The original plan was to use 2x2 wood but with the high price of lumber, and knowing that it wouldn't last forever, I went with something that I knew would last years...EMT conduit.
While a piece of conduit is a few dollars more than a piece of pressure treated 2x2, this will truly last forever.
So, I've used conduit for many of our outdoor projects, like the DIY bird feeder pole, the deck string lights and the outdoor string light setup that we put together in our Chicago house. Because I'm really familiar with it, I knew it would be the perfect choice for our tomato trellis.
Supplies to build a conduit tomato trellis
- 5, ¾"x10' pieces EMT conduit
- tape measure
- pipe cutter
- stainless steel screws
- 4, 2 hole ¾" pipe straps
- 2 worm clamps
- garden twine
How do you make a simple tomato trellis?
The very first thing you want to do before you even go to the store to buy any supplies is measure the length of your garden. My raised garden beds happen to be a little more than 10' long so I knew that the 10' long EMT would be a good fit.
Once I had all of my supplies together, I started assembling our tomato trellis.
I decided that the end poles could be cut down a bit. Not too short because I wanted some height for the tomatoes, but just enough so I could reach.
I did a dry run with the 4 end poles and decided to take them down by 2' to make them 8' tall.
To cut down the conduit I measured 2' from the end on each and marked it with a Sharpie. I actually cut all the ends off with the stickers on them (which are nearly impossible to remove). The last pole was left as is, since the garden is 10' long.
Next I used my pipe cutter to cut each pipe where I marked it.
In no time my end poles were cut and ready to install.
To install the conduit I pushed each pipe into the ground just a little at an angle and used a 2 hole pipe strap to attach each piece to the outside of the raised garden.
After the first pipe was attached I set up the second pipe so it criss-crossed with the first pipe at the top.
My long 10' piece of conduit would sit in the spot where the two pipes crossed.
Once both pieces of conduit were attached on one side of the garden I used a worm clamp to hold them together.
With the first side done I moved to the other end. I installed the remaining 2 pieces of EMT using the same method.
After I installed both ends of the trellis I placed the 10' piece of EMT in the crossed pipes.
Now that the tomato trellis was built it was time to run the twine to the plants that I planted a couple weeks ago.
I simply strung the twine over the long piece of EMT. I pulled the twine down to a tomato plant and tied it around the base of the plant with a very loose knot.
Then I tied the other end of the twine around the cross pipe and made it taught, leaving a good amount on the end in case I need to adjust the string.
I did this for each plant.
When we planted the tomatoes and cucumbers we staggered them so that they had plenty of room to grow. Until I see how this all goes, I just planted 6 plants in our 10' long garden bed.
Once I finished tying the twine I wrapped the taller plants around it. I'll have to periodically check the strings and plants to make sure they are training up the twine.
Actually, I could have waited a bit longer to allow the plants to grow before I tied them up but I wanted to share the whole process.
Now we're ready for a good growing season. Fingers crossed we get some tomatoes. I'm craving a fresh tomato sandwich.