This is a journal of my vegetable gardens. Skippy was my first dog and he always thought the garden was his. Even though I do all the work, he always stood by me. I'm located near Boston (in USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot and a backyard vegetable garden. I use sustainable organic methods and try to grow all of my family's vegetables.

Friday, June 05, 2009

tomato supports

tomato 4 tomato 2
tomato 3 tomato 1

This year I'm trying to replicate the tomato supports I see many gardeners using. Two side poles and a crossbeam, with ropes supporting the vines. I think you just wrap the vines in the rope. Several gardeners at our Community Gardens use this method and I'll watch how they do it.

Lynda suggests to try Johnny's tomato clips. They seem nice. But I think if I need ties, I'll use strips of my old plastic shopping bags. They're free.

In previous years I have always used tepees for my tomatoes. These have worked well, but I think this post and pole design gives the plants more sun and air.

The lattice supports in front of the tomato set up are for cucumbers. The tomatoes are taking off now, growing fast, but the cukes are lagging - waiting for warmer days.

(I accidentally planted a whole row of weeds along the front of the raised bed. Please don't ask me about this - a mistake. Fleabane, that I thought was asters. They'll be coming out soon and replaced with lavender.)

tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum)



Anonymous Keni said...

Fleabane is a native member of the aster family.

June 05, 2009 10:28 PM

Blogger Dan said...

I like this staking system. Looks like a real space saver too with them tied up flat. I keep looking for my beans to break ground. I'm starting to get a little obsessed watching and watering them.

June 05, 2009 10:52 PM

Blogger Cynthia said...

Oooh I like what you built for the tomatoes! My tomatoes are still puny so I'm still in the process of deciding where to put them.

I was thinking of using individual stakes for each of my tomato plants. I really don't know how tall my cherry tomatoes are going to get so I hope it works out okay.

June 05, 2009 11:50 PM

Blogger Ruth@VS said...

Interesting, I use individual stakes for mine but then they're not planted in a nice neat row like yours!

June 06, 2009 2:41 AM

Blogger Tyra in Vaxholm said...

Not a bad idea, it looks really great.

Greetings from Vaxholm/ Tyra


June 06, 2009 3:37 AM

Blogger Karen said...

I, too, am trying this method, but I used the same type wide-space netting that I am using for my snap peas. I just hope that the netting is strong enough to hold them up and there will be only one way to find out!

June 06, 2009 8:03 AM

Anonymous Malinda said...

Great space saving idea...we are trying the upside down method, not sure if it will work but we are going to give it a try

June 06, 2009 12:06 PM

OpenID graduallygreener said...

Hi Kathy! Did you get my email from a couple weeks ago? I grew some purple calabash seedlings using seeds I saved from the tomato plant you gave me last year. Anyway, I had an extra seedling so I took it to the DC Plant Swap this morning and it was totally a hot commodity. Got snapped right up. :) "Kathy's Purple Calabash" is well on its way to colonizing the Mid-Atlantic.

Glad to see your garden is thriving!

- Amelia

June 06, 2009 6:31 PM

Blogger Matron said...

I have used string to wind cucumbers round in the greenhouse, that seems fairly simple but I have not used that method for tomatoes. Their stems seem to be a bit too brittle. Maybe I'll try again.

June 06, 2009 6:36 PM

Blogger kathy said...

Hi Amelia, I did read about your purple calabash seedlings. I hope the Hot Swapper enjoys their tomatoes. BTW, I have grew about 15 "Amelia's Cayenne" this year and gave away about half. The North East will be enjoying hot chili peppers!

Matron, I'm new at using this method and I'm hoping I'm setting it up right. Here are photos I took last year of other gardens at BVG using strings to support tomatoes. It seems pretty simple and effective.

June 06, 2009 11:15 PM

Blogger SNJGardener said...

I use individual stakes as well and use strips of bed sheets to tie them to the stakes. If I don't have an old sheet, I'll buy one from a local thrift store.

I hope the lattice is not pressure treated.

June 07, 2009 7:16 AM

Blogger Kelly said...

The tomato trellis looks great Kathy. I have always admired that type of system, very neat and tidy.

Just thought of another tick option- baths.....I remember taking our dog various places for flea and tick baths in the summer. This was close to 20 years ago but I wonder if the bath preventative products are still on the market? Crazy how many ticks you pull in a week!

June 07, 2009 9:13 AM

Anonymous trish from SE PA said...

I see you have rhododendrons. How to do maintain these? We are replacing some evergreens with rhodies and don't want them to get too big.Any advice is great.

June 07, 2009 10:58 AM

Anonymous Dawnie (CT) said...

Your tomatoes look GREAT! Mine are a pathetic, several inches tall little things! : ( GRRRR! Now that I transplanted them on 6/1....I'm hoping that they all shoot up. IF we get any SUN, that is!

June 07, 2009 11:54 AM

Blogger kathy said...

Mine are giant and non-compact rhodendrons and likely you have a much better variety than this.

I "trim" my rhododendrons a good foot every year after the flowers finish. And remove all branches with fungus on them. Make sure there are plenty of "holes" in the bush to let air flow in.

Then when they get out of hand, I remove the bushes and replace with smaller ones.

When we bought our house it was surrounded by five medium sized rhodos. Later we've realized they are a very large variety. They grow fast! And, we've also realized, there is a limit to how much time I can put into maintaining these. Only one rhodo of the five is left now, and it will be replaced soon (next year?) with a newer and more compact variety. I so much prefer white or pale pink blossoms to the garish lavender/magenta.

June 07, 2009 2:59 PM

Blogger w2wkb said...

I'm using the stringing up method this year and love it. Maybe I'm a little OCD :), but my plants seem to be loving it as well.

June 07, 2009 10:21 PM

Blogger MAYBELLINE said...

Please follow up with your stringing method. What worked for you? What changes would you suggest? I'm growing heirlooms that should be very tall and am looking for a successful method to stake the plants.

Thanks for any suggestions.

Wonderful blog, Skippy.

March 21, 2010 12:14 AM


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