The Grape Trellis
We're training the vines in a pretty classic style to have a central leader with arms trailing out along the trellis on either side (known as a 6-arm kniffin). You can see here that this vine only just reaches to the top of the second rung this year, but in the future it should have three arms on each side fanning out from the center. (You can also see that we attached a new rain gauge to one of the posts — it has gotten a workout recently!)
The posts of the trellis are 4x4 pressure treated (sorry, but cedar was like five times as expensive, and we like to pay the mortgage regularly) posts. They are 8-foot posts, three feet of which are sunk into the ground. Kirk dug a 40 inch hole and backfilled it with six inches of stone for a base, leaving five foot posts. Then he repeated that step eleven more times. That’s lots of digging, and I didn't help with any of it. (Too busy pulling weeds.)
We used beefy bamboo poles for our crosspieces, since we had it leftover from some fencing from the Red House. It's free and should be very sturdy. To insert them, Kirk drilled holes in the posts, then predrilled the bamboo and locked them together with a 3-inch screw. The poles are set 16 inches part from each other.
At the center path, there is an extra post and some small crosspieces on either side to form an arbor. Eventually we will cap it with a little roof so the vines can grow up and over, making a little doorway over the path to the lawn. We'd also like to attach a small bench to the posts on either side of that little doorway. We left room to do so, but that project will wait.
This view of the trellis from the lawn gives you an idea of where the arbor part will be. Imagine a peaked roof spanning the path and bridging those double posts. Also, imagine two small benches facing each other under that roof on either side of the path.
Best of all, it looks like we should get some grapes this year! Last year we had to pick off our baby grapes to get the vines established, but this year six of our eight vines look like they will bear fruit. We just might be able to make the leap to a No Buying Fruits and Veggies Challenge by the end of this summer!