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Overhead trellis design using high-tensile wire?

12 years ago

Hi, I've been looking online for tips on how to build an overhead trellis for tomatoes. A farmer near me uses cattle panel on top of 7 ft tall fenceposts, then ties baling twine for the vines to grow up on (tucks the vines in between a pair of strings and suckers them). I wanted to do much the same thing (but in the ground rather than grow bags in a greenhouse!), using high-tensile electric fence wire instead of the cattle panel (much easier to transport). I bought galvanized eyes that will support 95 lbs (if weight is pulling straight down), 17g wire (the heaviest I could buy in a "small" - 1/4 mile! - spool!), and fence tensioners.

The 4x4 cedar posts will be in pairs 7ft apart with a 2x4 across the top. We have 3 (thinking of 4) pairs of posts spaced 20ft apart (currently 40 ft row, might go to 60ft to support cukes and maybe squash too). Since we will be planting in the ground (see my thread asking about amending the soil for Ca), we want to be able to move the wires by a foot (into current aisles) to plant each year and not have to move the posts.

I have seen videos on Youtube showing how to string tomatoes on electrical conduit or 2x's overhead, can't find anything on using wire.

Has anyone done this? I'm wondering how best to place the eyes to best support the weight of the plants and make it easy to adjust the tension and also to move the wire each year (so no drilling holes through the 2x4's).

(1) Just on the ends of the row, screwed in horizontally with tensioner between the eye and a ground stake, and letting the wire run over the tops of the 2x4s (will eventually make a groove)? That would be the easiest to reach the tensioner(s) on each wire, no ladder required.

(2) (or 1a) I'm not sure the eye will do anything to support the weight that way, could always loop the end of the wire back through the eye before staking it to the ground as a guy-wire, but then the tensioner would need to be overhead?

(3) Could also put an eye on the underside of each 2x4 for each wire to run through rather than putting the wire over the top of each 2x4 - this way the eye is supporting the weight, 2x4's don't get grooved (worry about "sawing" through!), but if an eye pulls out 20ft of wire and 10 plants fall to the ground!

Any experience/ideas? Thanks

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