Build A Pumpkin Trellis With PVC Pipe And Remesh
The cost of this project might seem high, if you do NOT already have any of the required tools or any of the required materials. To help you decide, I start by listing all the required materials and tools, along with their respective costs, which I determined based on what I paid for them at Lowe's.
I accumulated the tools over a period of time, buying them as needed for other projects, or I already owned some of the basic tools to begin with. I bought the large roll of remesh for building tomato cages, and so I already had this in advance of my decision to build the pumpkin trellis. Likewise, I already owned the bolt cutters and fence post driver, having bought them for previous projects.
As you get into the habit of building things, you tend to accumulate tools and supplies that you find yourself using in future projects. In case you are starting at ground zero, however, here is the list of materials and tools that you will need to build the pumpkin trellis:
Materials To Build Pumpkin Trellis
PVC pipe [4 ten foot pieces] - 1 1/2 inch, 10ft, 330PSI @ $5.45 = $21.80
- This will form the frame onto which you attach the remesh. This frame is light weight, and it contains the remesh in a fixed way, but allows it to be moved in and out of the garden plot as needed to work the garden soil or amend the soil from season to season.
PVC fittings [4 90-degree elbows] - 1 1/2 inch, 90-degree elbow @ $0.73 = $2.92
- These allow you to connect the ends of the frame into a stable rectangle.
PVC cement - 8 oz. @ $5.21
- Do NOT skip the PVC cement, because it locks end joints into place to prevent the frame from slipping out of its rigid alignment. If you try to skip the cement, then you will end up with a wobbly mess of a frame.
Remesh - 150ft x 5ft @ $107
- This is the heart of the trellis that provides a strong, rigid grid to support the weight of your pumpkins.
8" cable ties - 100 @ $7.24
- These are how you secure the remesh to the PVC frame.
metal posts  - 72" metal T post @ $4.88 = $9.76
- These are what you drive into the ground at each end of the trellis, to secure the trellis into place, in an upright position.
wire - 20 gauge, 175Ft @ $4.88
- This is what you use to attach the trellis to fence posts at each end.
Tools To Build Pumpkin Trellis
Miter Box with 14-in Miter Saw @ $7.98
- This is how you saw the PVC pipe to the required lengths.
Screwdriver - 6in flat @ $3.98
- This helps you to unbend wires to unlock a new roll of remesh, so that you can unroll it.
Slip Joint Pliers - @ $5.98
- These, used in combination with the screw driver, help you unlock a new roll of remesh.
14" Bolt Cutters - @ $16.98
- This is a good size to give you leverage to cut the very tough wires that make up remesh. There are 12" bolt cutters, but I would NOT recommend going down to this size. Larger sized cutters are not really necessary, but if you have
them, then, of course, use them.
Cinder Blocks  - @ $1.42 = $2.84
- These are your tools to weigh down the ends of the remesh, while you unroll and cut it. Without these or some other very heavy objects, the remesh will snap into your face dangerously.
Fence Post Driver - @ $28.00
- This makes using a sledgehammer or heavy rock a thing of the past. Once you use one, you will avoid driving posts by hand in any other way.
Level - @ $7.00
- This helps you get the fence posts perfectly vertical, when you drive them into the ground. You can try doing this by sight without the level - I did, and I got the alighment just right on the first try (lucky).
Materials + Tools TOTAL COST = $ 231.57
You need NOT be terrified of remesh. Just be careful. Know the beast, and handle it accordingly.
Handling The Materials
For those who might not know, PVC pipe is the plastic pipe used in much of modern plumbing, and "remesh" is the short name for "concrete reinforcing wire mesh".
The main obstacle to using remesh is the cost of a 150ft roll, which is the standard way that most retail stores (Lowe's, Home Depot) sell it. The next obstacle to using remesh is the weight of the 150ft roll, which is about 160 pounds for the 10 gauge residential grade most commmonly available. To deal with this roll, you need a vehicle that can accommodate a cylinder of heavy wire that is five feet in length, 1.5 feet in diameter, and 160 pounds in weight. You need a strong helper or two to help you lift it in an out of the vehicle, as well.
When working with remesh, you also need to be very careful, because the weight of the roll itself can smash your toes and fingers, the tight compression of the wire in a coil can cause it to snap into your face with great force when you cut a piece from the roll, and the sharp ends of the cut wire can scratch or cut you, or even put out an eye [I suggest wearing protective goggles, for this reason].
You need NOT be terrified of remesh. Just be careful. Know the beast, and handle it accordingly. Try to use heavy work gloves for as much of the manipulation of it as possible. Honestly, I find myself working without the gloves much of the time, and I inevitably end up pinching and cutting my fingers. As I have become more practiced in manipulating it, though, these minor injuries have become infrequent. I wear hard-coated prescription lenses all the time, and so I trust these as my eye protection.
One other thing that you have to be prepared to accept about remesh is the rust, which tends to get your cloths and hands dirty. The rust is not harmful to you, to pumpkins, or to foods that you make from pumpkins.
Assuming that you can get past the obstacles of cost, transportation, and materials handling, you are ready to build a lightweight, sturdy, durable, long-lasting, and semi-portable pumpkin trellis .
Making The Trellis
The trellis that I describe here measures eight feet long and seven feet high. Of course, you might want to customize these dimensions to your own needs. Keep in mind, however, that pumpkins need a bare minimum of fifty square feet to crawl. An eight-foot by seven-foot trellis is fifty-six square feet, which is right at this minimum. To get five-foot remesh to span an eight-foot length, I had to use two separate seven-foot lengths of remesh, positioned side-by-side on the PVC frame.
Simply cut two pieces of remesh, each seven feet long. Do NOT use a measuring tape. Instead, count the wire squares (6 inches each), until you count 14 squares, and at the END of the fourteenth square, make your cut with your bolt cutters, moving in succession across the roll at the same position on each square, until you sever the piece from the roll. For my fit, I cut off two feet (four squares) from my second seven-foot piece of remesh, to make the second piece three feet wide. When I, positioned the five-foot piece next to the three-foot piece, then, I filled my eight foot length of the frame. I created a little stronger continuity between the two pieces by lashing them together with wire at about every one-foot interval.
I trust that, with the pictures and general description presented here, you can figure out how to cut the PVC pipe, glue it into a frame using the PVC elbows and PVC cement, attach the remesh using cable ties, drive the fence posts with the post driver, attach the trellis to the posts with wire, and grow your pumpkins. When attaching the remesh to the PVC frame, I used cable ties at intervals of about every two squares (or every foot).
There are other ways to build a pumpkin trellis. There are cheaper ways. This is one way that I arrived at. This trellis certainly would work to grow other vegetables too. I specifically built this one to grow pie pumpkins.