Trellis like a Pro

by Sandy Swegel

My tomatoes are only a few inches tall and still indoors, but this is the ideal time to start thinking about how to trellis them.  For years I fiddled with the dinky round tomato cages sold everywhere that just fall over when faced with a large indeterminate tomato. One year I even tried tying two cages on top of one another and it still fell over.

Market Farmers don’t use wussy home-gardening-type trellises.  They bring out the T-Posts and plastic baling twine or string. (This is one time you can’t use natural twines like jute or cotton…they are too stretchy.) The most common technique is called the Florida Weave. Basically, you place tall (7 foot min)  T-posts at each end of your tomato row. Every two or three plants, add a stake (or another T post). You will then “weave” the twine around the T-posts and tomatoes in a basic figure-eight shape.  T-posts are super sturdy and stay put once you pound them into the ground.  Ideally, you can string the T-posts before the tomatoes are tall or perhaps even planted.  As the tomatoes grow you can tuck the growing edge into one of the rows of string. The beauty of the Florida Weave is that even if you are late getting your trellising in place, you can still do a pretty good job pulling up the overgrown tomatoes.

Photo Credits and More Info:

http://www.specialtycrops.colostate.edu/techniques/trellis.htm#tomatoes http://www.foogod.com/~torquill/barefoot/weave.html http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/cat-s-cradle-tomatoes http://www.finegardening.com/how-to/articles/supporting-cast-for-tomatoes.aspx

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