A Living Trellis Made of ‘Mammoth’ Sunflowers

Use a row of ‘Mammoth’ sunflowers as a living trellis to support vining crops, such as peas.

| August/September 2015

  • Sunflower
    Sunflowers do more in a garden than simply add beauty.
    Photo by Fotolia/christinemg

  • Sunflower

I like to keep a continuous succession of crops in my raised garden beds. I have one bed with a permanent trellis for growing vining crops, and then I use plastic pipe to erect trellises in the other beds as needed. One summer, all the pipe was in use, and I wanted to get a fall crop of peas planted. Instead of buying more pipe, I decided to make a living trellis.

I planted a closely spaced row of ‘Mammoth’ sunflowers where I wanted the trellis. After a few weeks, the sunflowers were about thigh-high, so I planted my peas in between the fast-growing plants. By the time the sunflowers reached shoulder height, the peas had sprouted and were looking for something to hang on to. Not only did this make a cheap, attractive trellis, but that fall I had two successful crops instead of one!

This year, I started my sunflowers indoors. I transplanted them, and now have my spring pea plants climbing a living sunflower trellis. It works great for me!

Mark Griffin
Apex, North Carolina

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