Re-use Old Canopy Frame To Trellis Vegetables

You might already own a low-cost solution for creating trellises for your climbing plants. We had a sturdy old canopy that we left sitting out all summer, which ruined the canopy cover, so it was available for this project and free of charge to us. You might check freecycle sites, craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or the trash put out by neighbors. We set up the metal pole frame of the canopy and attached pieces of this trellis netting using twist-ties, to allow the vines to grow up from the beds to the frame. It’s worth noting here that we’ve now decided that growing purple hyacinth bean vines for vegetables (beans) wasn’t really a good idea, even though the vines are very nice looking and extremely low maintenance. The friend who sold me those plants correctly stated that the vines are vigorous and productive, but the mature beans are toxic, so you have to boil them once in water, throw that water out, boil the beans in another quantity of water, throw that water out too, then boil them again and eat them after all that. Who wants to spend time growing these beans for food when there are so many other good options??? This was a mistake, and I’m sorry we did this. These vines would probably be great for decorative purposes, but I wouldn’t recommend them for food.

Please also note that this canopy frame wasn’t wide enough to sit over our beds, so we re-assembled it at an angle in order to still be able to use this somewhat. Consider the measurements of your beds in evaluating any canopy frames you might be able to acquire.

The purple/green vines on the left in the picture are the Purple Hyacinth Bean vines, and the green vining plant on the right in the picture is a loofah plant.

As an inexperienced gardener, I am just coming to appreciate the value of vining plants – they tend to be more productive, and over a longer time period, so they can be great for fresh, eat-as-you-go vegetables, unlike some other types of plants which produce everything they’re going to produce in a year during one short time period.

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