Add Vertical Space to Your Garden in 15 Seconds!
One of my favorite ways, and one of the most versatile, quick, and inexpensive ways, to quickly add vertical space in the garden is using ladder mesh block. Plants love growing vertically up the repurposed trellis, and it’s easy to install anywhere in the garden.
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What is Ladder Mesh Block?
Ladder mesh block is used in masonry applications when building. It reinforces the horizontal mortar joints of masonry block walls.
Ladder Mesh Block is Versatile and Easy to Install to Add Vertical Space in the Garden
Follow these steps to use ladder mesh block as a trellis in your garden:
- It is best to put the ladder mesh block in place before planting or at the time of planting so as not to disrupt the plant’s roots.
- Place one end in the soil next to the climbing plant, and push it into the soil until it is several inches deep. Bury to the first crossbar if possible.
- Bend the ladder mesh block over and press the other end into the soil approximately 2-3 feet away from where you placed the first end.
- As the plant grows, help the plant find and climb the ladder mesh block trellis, wrapping the ends around the trellis.
- At the end of the season, pull out the ladder mesh block and store for later use.
Tips for adding vertical space to your garden with ladder mesh block
- Use several ladder mesh block trellises in a row when you have more than one climbing plant.
- Use multiple trellises next to each other for large plants like cantaloupe or small watermelon varieties.
- Fasten two together with zip ties for a larger arched trellis.
- For extra support, place a tent stake over the first crossbar into the soil to hold the buried ladder mesh block in place.
- Place the ends in neighboring containers to allow plants to climb between the containers. Use several ladder mesh block panels in neighboring containers to make a statement in the garden.
- Pay attention when fruits form on plants such as cucumbers and cantaloupe. While the fruits are small, ensure they hang down in the middle of the trellis (not along the outside) for the most support.
- Spend a little time each day tucking plants in and around the trellis.
Which plants grow best on ladder mesh block?
Ladder mesh block trellises provide an excellent trellis for peas, pole beans, asparagus beans, borlotti beans, cucumbers, Armenian cucumbers, cucamelons, cantaloupe, honeydew, mini-watermelons, Malabar spinach, and small vining winter squash such as delicata and mini-Jack pumpkins.
Are there any plants that don’t grow well on ladder mesh block trellises?
Large vining plants such as luffa, pumpkins, many varieties of winter squash, and most watermelons will quickly overtake a ladder mesh block trellis. Larger types of trellises are much more effective for these types of plants.
Most varieties of tomatoes would be difficult to contain on a ladder mesh block trellis.
Additional uses for ladder mesh block in the garden
Drape shade cloth over ladder mesh block to shade plants.
Use ladder mesh blocks as “hoop supports” for floating row cover for frost or insect protection.
Cover them with tulle to protect newly-planted seeds and seedlings from birds.
Use vining plants growing on ladder mesh block trellises to shade plants growing underneath.
Where can I find ladder mesh block?
Ladder mesh block can be found in the building and masonry department of big box home improvement stores for $3-$5 (depending on the width you choose).
Which size of ladder mesh block is best for adding vertical space?
Ladder mesh block is available in a narrow 2-inch width (shown) and a wider 8-inch width. Both widths are about 10 1/2 feet long. Either size works well; use the size you prefer.
Why add vertical space in the garden?
- Plants left to sprawl on the ground can attract unwanted pests and diseases.
- More pollinators, sunlight, and air reach plants when gardening vertically.
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Originally published June 3, 2018. Updated May 2, 2022.