This is a journal of my vegetable gardens. Skippy was my first dog and he thought the garden was his, even though I did all the work. Now Suzie and Charley follow in his footsteps. We're located near Boston (USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot, a backyard vegetable garden, fruit trees, berry bushes, chickens, and bees. I use sustainable organic methods and do my best to grow all of my family's vegetables myself.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

trellising tomatoes

Copy of 038 This year I am trellising my tomatoes. I planted the seedlings very deep, then added 1-2 inch collars (for cutworm protection).

The trellis stem is made up of two upright posts set into the ground 6 feet apart. Each post has a hole at the top. Through the two holes, I thread an 8 foot metal pole.

Twine provides the support for the tomato plants. To set up the twine, I cut a length twice the height of the pole from the ground and laid this over the metal pole with the middle of the twine resting on the pole. I then tied a knot next to the pole to hold the twine in place.

For now, I have loosely wrapped the ends of the twine around the little plants. When they are bigger, I'll tie the twine loosely to the stem of the plants. As the vines grow, I'll wrap the twine around the stem of the plant so that it stays upright and off the ground. I'll also trim off any suckers so I get a tall straight plant with lots of room for airflow.



Blogger biobabbler said...

Good reminder re: cutworms. We have a million crane flies here.

When I first read your post title, I thought "Her tomatoes are big enough to climb a trellis ALREADY??" =) Nope. You're merely setting a good example re: get that infrastructure set up now, 'cause they'll be climbing skyward soon. That's a very interesting technique--I've only used cages.

June 01, 2013 10:38 AM

Blogger Cary said...

I'm going to be pruning suckers with no mercy this year too. Maximize airflow. Since moving from dry Southern California 3 years ago, have had mega challenge raising abundant tomatoes and blight-fight is my motto this year. That, and planting cherry tomatoes, which in my experience, ANYONE can grow ;). We'll see. Love your tomato trellis set up, and think next year, may try. Good luck!

June 03, 2013 7:47 AM

Blogger Mike the Gardener said...

Very nice! Hope your tomatoes do great!

June 04, 2013 9:16 AM

Blogger Emily said...

I've been trellising my tomatoes similarly for a couple of years, though with one piece of twine. Inevitably when the plant gets very big in late August, we get a rain storm and the twine breaks and I have to figure out a way to lift and re-tie a wet plant.

This year I decided to order the polypropylene twine from Johnny's seeds which is supposed to be stronger. I'm hoping I don't have to pick up any broken plants this year.

Otherwise, I love the system. It helps me grow many more tomatoes without cages.

June 04, 2013 11:30 AM

Blogger 38th Street Gardener said...

This sounds like a pretty good idea. I've never thought of doing this. I'll have to remember this for next year. Love the blog!

June 11, 2013 1:09 PM

Blogger Amy said...

I never knew about trimming suckers off until this year when my neighbor told me. We live in Pittsburgh and my plants are already really big and thick. The square foot gardener says that you can put one plant per square foot. That seemed too close so my plants have a little more room. I am using bamboo poles right now but some of the branches are about as long as the main stem and I wonder if I need to put support stakes for those too. How long do your branches get when you do it your way? Do they need support?

June 16, 2013 10:53 AM

Blogger betsy kosheff said...

Hi Kathy, I am using a bamboo trellis with a "cat's cradle" for tomatoes called the "Florida Weave" this year. Have you seen it? I found it in Organic Gardening.,1
Instead of the string running from top to bottom, it runs horizontally between the stakes. Every couple of weeks you are supposed to add another. I can send a photo of mine. The string running from top to bottom last year was so-so -- required a lot of wrangling which I didn't like too much once the fruit was heavy. -- Betsy in the Berkshires

July 06, 2013 4:23 PM


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