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Planter Box with TrellisI have had a lot of things fall into the urgent category of my to-do list recently, but it seems like I am starting to get caught up on some of it. This past week I was finally able to finish the trellis for my planter box.  The climbing peas my wife had planted are happy to finally have something to cling to and ascend.
I created a frame for the trellis that added four feet to the height of the box and fitPlowing the Groove in the Trellis Frame just inside of the main container. This way the frame could be secured to the sides of the main box and the notches in the top ledge would help hold it vertical. On the inside of the frame I plowed a half inch wide groove for my latticework to ride in. Then I cut a single dovetail on the top of the frame to connect it to the sides and a tenon on the bottom of the frame to join it to the sides.
The lattice is made out of half inch thick, inch and half wide boards. I then cut dados across the boards, alternating each side, so that the vertical and horizontal pieces could be weaved into a flat, half inch thick lattice. I didn’t fasten the the pieces of the lattice together, except for some glue in the very first and last joint of each piece. The weaving nature of the lattice should prevent the boards from ever coming apart (time will tell if I am right).
With the lattice assembled and slid into the frame, I was able to attach the whole of the trellis to the planter box.  The sides of the frame extend six inches below the bottom of the frame so as to provide me with a place for the carriage bolts that will secure it in place. And while as I mentioned above, the notches in the ledge would probably be more than adequate to help the trellis maintain plumb, I decided to add some ogee shaped brackets. I added the brackets partially to ensure the trellis would stay vertical, but more so because I thought it added a nice detail to the piece. The brackets and the sides are both notched to receive each other and the brackets were fastened to the sides with carriage bolts.
Like each project I undertake, I learn a lot along the way. One of the big things was that I failed to think through how what I was doing would affect future steps or be affected by future steps. For example, I cut the dovetails and mortise and tenon joints on the frame before I plowed the groove. After plowing the groove I had reduced the top half inch of the tenons to slivers of wood on either side of the groove, effectively reducing the height of the tenon. I was able to salvage the joint with a block of wood glued in the groove restoring the height of the tenon, though if I had exercised the proper forethought I could have reduced the mortise to accommodate the reduced tenon height.
The trellis, like the planter box, needs some sanding and sealing but that can wait till this fall, after the pea and bean crop is harvested. Until then, it will slowly be covered in the climbing plants and provide us not only with fresh produce, but with a small privacy screen on our patio.