The Before Times…
If you’ve never planted a garden in your windowsills, you should. It’s easy. Year round fresh produce is a beautiful thing. I typically stick to herbs and peppers but occasionally I’ll experiment and attempt something new such as green beans. To my surprise, my green bean plants grew much more rapidly than I anticipated.
Vines need a trellis
Notice in the above images my green beans are leaning all over my other plants. This is a problem!
The easiest way to control vines is to isolate them and let them climb a trellis. My neighbors vines sneak into my yard every year because they do not manage them. They let them run wild and grow all along the fence. It’s not a problem per se but I prefer a clean fence line and organized gardening and landscaping. Vines get out of hand quick!
Windowsill trellises are hard to come by in my town. If I were to guess, windowsill gardens are a niche market on the Florida Panhandle. We aren’t hostage to NYC or Chicago style city density. Of the trellises I did find out in town many of them were expensive and wouldn’t quite fit my windows in the way I envisioned. Thus, this quick DIY guide to building your own windowsill garden trellis aims to help you realize a solution for your home.
Design It A Little
I firmly believe the best way to approach simple projects is to write down what you want to accomplish and just go for it. Fail or not, you will, at the very least, learn something. So build what you want by writing down what you want. Design it a little to get a bit of an idea of what your trellis might look like in real life. What you imagine in your head will not always translate to reality. Get in the habit of drawing out your designs even if you are shit at drawing. Get some graph paper to help. I use Field Notes.
My Rudimentary Design:
- Approximately 2ft high by 1ft long trellis (to fit in window)
- Lattice for the vine to climb
The purpose of writing down and drawing out a basic summary of your project is to anchor your vision and provide scope. Once you define the solution do not deviate too much. Build your vision. Too much deviation ends up in something called scope creep — a bugaboo for many failed projects. The rot of scope creep can erode project success. You’ll keep changing something and you’ll never finish. Do yourself a favor and KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid.
Gather your supplies
- Chicken wire – you can do so much with chicken wire. No garage is complete without a least one roll.
- 3x Pine Project Board 3/8in x 1.5in x 2ft (per trellis). Pine project board is super cheap, easy to cut, and works great for our application. Lowes had these at $1.32 last time I checked. I’ve also seen them in craft stores.
- 3/8 Wood Screws – Whatever color you like. You’ll find them in brass, copper, and chrome/silver.
- Ruler/Carpenter Square or Measuring Tape – you should already have both of these.
- Staple Gun with 3/8″ staples
- Hammer – Just in case you need to tap in the staples a little (you should also already have one of these)
- Hack saw – …and you should already have one of these.
- 120 grit sandpaper if you plan to stain the wood – You could use a lower grit if you desire. I had 120 grit on hand from a recent cabinet project.
- Wire Cutters/Snips – for the chicken wire
- Optional: Wood Stain. Whatever color you want. I went for Minwax Dark Walnut because I had it in the garage from a previous project. Stain is always good to have around. You won’t come close to using all of the stain in the can on this project. Permit yourself to imagine what else you can build and stain!
- Just like when you cook a meal, clean your work space, get all your tools and materials ready, and ensure you have everything you need. Nothing is worse than getting partway through the build and realizing you are missing something.
- Cut one of the pine boards in half with the hacksaw
- Sand the wood with the 120 grit sand paper. We’re mostly scuffing the wood to clean it a little and to help the wood accept the stain.
- Dip a rag into the stain and wipe it all over the and let dry. Do a second coat. Each coating should deepen the color. Two was enough for me. This process took about 20 minutes between wiping on stain and drying. Stain gets everywhere! Ensure you cover your surface with extra rags or a sheet of plastic (which is what I do, easy clean up).
- Measure approximately 1ft x 1ft of chicken wire and cut. For my build I wanted the trellis to be 1ft wide and the lattice to come halfway down the 2ft pine board.
- Decide which sides of the board will be the back side of the trellis, position them about 1ft apart.
- Staple the chicken wire to the “back” side of the boards
- Reinforce the trellis and chicken wire by screwing in the two 1ft pine boards with 3/8 wood screws.
Pump your fist, you are done! Go display your fancy new trellis in your window!