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How To Make a Ladder Trellis for Tomato Plants -IKEA Hack

June 10, 2009

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IKEA Salvia Trellis as a Tomato Ladder

Tomato Ladder or tomato cage? The great debate. I have been obsessing over the idea of making a ladder trellis for tomato plants, rather than cages this year. I’ve heard they’re great for smaller spaces (like raised beds) because they help the plant grow up rather than out.

I had my eye on these beautiful red tomato ladders from Gardener’s Supply, but at $50 for a set of three, I’d be out $100 just on tomato supports!  While it’s not my main purpose for gardening, I do like the idea that I’m saving money by growing food in my backyard. So, for now the red steel ladders will wait on my wishlist.

Tomato Ladders from Gardener's Supply

I knew I couldn’t use the flimsy $1.99 variety either…last year I had to triage with bamboo, twine and pieces of a trellis – it got pretty ugly. Insert my seemingly endless supply of IKEA Salvia trellises, which I bought on clearance last year for $3. I copied the concept of a tomato ladder using pieces of the trellis. Each ladder uses six Salvia trellis squares (there are nine squares in a pack).

How To Make a Ladder Trellis for Tomato Plants:

  1. Hook together three pieces of the trellis with the middle piece on the “outside.” This is one side of the trellis.
  2. Attach the lower and middle pieces of the other side by slipping them through the square part of the first side and interlocking them. Repeat with the top piece.
  3. Use zip ties to hook the middle vertical sections together. This helps strengthen the ladder since the top and bottom corners of the trellis are loose.
  4. Insert the lower angled pieces into the ground and drive small stakes or pins into the ground to anchor the ladder.

There you have it – a thick, steel tomato ladder for $10 each (or $2 in my case). All that’s missing is the cheery color. The good news is that it matches the trellis we already made for the sweat peas. So what do you think of my IKEA hack? Have you made anything with the IKEA Salvia trellis?

  • thesoybean
    June 11, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    Britta – You can find the Salvia trellis at IKEA http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/90131723… they used to be called the Varen trellis – half of my boxes say Varen, half say Salvia.

  • chassie
    June 11, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    I love this post! For my cucumbers last year I was putting nails in the wall and tying string to the wall then the plant….it was a disaster! I must try this for my tomatoes and my cucumbers!

    I love your blog – I spent WAY too much time today on it. I really admire how you quit your job to travel…plus I love Portland too. I wish I could live there :) I am going to hunt for that breakfast place with the buckwheat pancakes for you!

    have a great day!

    – chassie

  • Britta Bowers
    June 11, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    We love this trellis, but we can’t find another one! We used in conventionally to help our snail vine climb the wall hiding our pool equipment. Now the snail vine is out of control and needs more places to climb! Would love to get another one or two of these… Eventually will do a garden some day and love the recommendation for the tomatoes… Any idea where to find the IKEA trellis?