How do I trellis offset planted tomatoes?!

cvitale(9)April 9, 2013

I figured if I offset the tomatoes to make 2 rows, I can squeeze in a couple more tomato plants. I just don't know how to trellis them! I was going to do horizontal bamboo poles along 2 vertical poles with a little bit of Florida weave - before I decided to do offset rows.

Does anyone have any trellis ideas? Or should I go back to normal rows and just have 2 less tomato plants? Or would they all (4 small, 1 big) fit in 1 row in the 8' by 2.5' area?

This is a pretty rough sketch of a raised bed that I am planting tomatoes in. The small, red dots are shorter tomato varieties (pink brandywine, black krim, roma etc.), while the larger red dots are taller and wider (cherry, Mr. Stripey).

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gumby_ct(CT it says Z5)

If the below link doesn't work search this forum for "Vertical String Method". In there I explained how I do it.

HTH

Here is a link that might be useful: Vertical String Method

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 6:14PM
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zeuspaul(9b SoCal)

I am experimenting with a new trellis idea. ( to me, I found someone else doing the same thing who claims it works great)

Run two lines of T posts on either side of the tomatoes. I have three set ups, at varying distances apart, two, two and a half and three feet apart.

Then attach CRW to the t posts. You will have two rows of posts with CRW attached. The tomatoes are sandwiched in between.

As the plants grow slip wood sticks or pvc between the two rows to support the plants.

I am also going to try shading the plants when it gets hot in July. I am going to slip queen palm leaves through the top squares of the CRW.

Zeuspaul

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 10:01PM
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katkatf

Zeuspaul, what is CRW?

Thanks!
Kathy

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 2:10PM
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zeuspaul(9b SoCal)

CRW is Concrete Reinforcing Wire. It is commonly used to make tomato cages. I got a 5 ft x 150 ft roll from Lowes for $100. It is also called remesh. It is a mesh with 6 inch squares.

I found a site with pictures and a description of the trellis cage,

They also sell 4 x 7 (varies) pieces.

Here is a link that might be useful: Trellis Cage

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 4:21PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

That's interesting, zeuspaul, but 4' tall is nowhere near high enough for indeterminates. What's going to support the top half of the plant?

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 12:37PM
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zeuspaul(9b SoCal)

The CRW I have is five feet tall. Plants don't have to go straight up. The wider you go at the base the more room there is for the plants to lay down over the horizontal supports. The cage rows in the link are four feet apart. That is probably the limit because it becomes difficult to reach in to pick the tomatoes.

Zeuspaul

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 3:02PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

Sorry, but it sounds like Late Blight (and other fungus) heaven in there. Hornworms too....

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 4:19PM
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gumby_ct(CT it says Z5)

Could this have been meant for a diff thread?

"Sorry, but it sounds like Late Blight (and other fungus) heaven in there. Hornworms too...."

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 7:56PM
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gumby_ct(CT it says Z5)

I use what I call the "Cost of Gardening" CoG, as a guide when I make gardening decisions. I can buy alot of tomatoes at the Farmers Market for $100.

If you follow the link below after reading the explanation click on the subject "Re: Vertical Support" then scroll down from the explanation you will see pics of how I get my vining crops to grow vertical up a string to a wooden trellis or crossbeam.

Make it no higher than you can reach. If/when the plants reach the top let them go down the other side.

This works better for me than anything I have yet to try or spend money on. It even holds up to the hurricane winds in Sept. when the plants are loaded with fruit. The strength is how the uprights are secured to the bed frame. I used carriage (or hex head) bolts w/wing nuts.

For reference, Jute Twine is what I use but you can use rope, wire, or nylon string, etc.
HomeDepot Jute Twine
Good Luck

Here is a link that might be useful: Vertical Support

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 10:21PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

Could this have been meant for a diff thread?

"Sorry, but it sounds like Late Blight (and other fungus) heaven in there. Hornworms too...."

No, gumby_ct, I posted on the right thread.

It's a 4' wide row of tomato plants crowded in a tight (and unprunable, so constantly becoming tighter) mess, crawling all over each other (except when occasionally separated by some wooden stakes or whatever), weighed down by the fruit....

In other words: solid tomato plants, no possibility of air circulation except on the two sides. After rain or in humid weather, it wouldn't dry out in the middle for days ... maybe weeks.

Low visibility, too. If there were hornworms or other pests, you wouldn't be able to see them. Entire cubic feet of vines in the middle of the row could have been reduced to nothing but stems, and you'd never have a chance of seeing it.

But I suspect the fungal diseases would finish off the plants first. And they'd get a really good hold on the plants, there in the middle of the mess, before anyone noticed a problem.

Perhaps the original bloggers live in an arid climate. Perhaps zeuspaul lives in a dry part of zone 9. Perhaps fungal tomato diseases are different there.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 11:22PM
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zeuspaul(9b SoCal)

There is no requirement for four feet. I am trying two to three feet. The referenced blog has good success with four feet. It was a surprise to me to see that spacing.

It makes sense that differing climates would make a difference. It rarely rains here in San Diego county during tomato growing season. A cooler micro climate due to dense tomato growth may lead to late blite in some areas. July heat with a constant breeze is what gets me here about 12 miles from the coast. Extra foliage helps with sun scald prevention and acts as a mulch to cool the roots. I am planning on trying additional shading when it gets hot in July to extend my growing season.

If you live in an area with late blite perhaps 12 or 18 inch spacing would be better,

I have about 20 round cages and 100 ft of trellis cages. The trellis cages were easier to set up and are easier to store than the round cages. They also provide an easier opportunity to shade the plants.

It's been a few years since I have seen a hornworm, knock on wood:)

Zeuspaul

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 2:53AM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

Zeuspaul, I don't know about San Diego, but we used to have hornworms in the Bay Area. I remember them in Fremont (a whole crowd of fat hornworms on a tomato relative; my brave mother chopped them in half with her pruners and threw the pieces in the grass; I wouldn't go near that part of the yard for months). In Menlo Park I first learned that hornworms' chewing is actually audible....

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 12:17PM
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gumby_ct(CT it says Z5)

When I planted in a row garden I would give the tomatoes 4ft ea way and they would crowd each other out. By the end of the season you couldn't walk down the aisles. But I never pruned the suckers then either.

With SFG I have grown many, many volunteers all in one 4x4ft frame. And I am still not a religious pruner still yet.

I had a problem only one year (last yr in row garden) with powdery mildew on the tomatoes but that is wind driven and only so much you can do. I never ever had the Late Blight even the year it was rampant in CT. But I think most folks got that from plants purchased from big box stores.

Hornworms I have only had 1 worm on 2 separate years. It's Scissors for the hornworms when found. I stopped using insecticides and commercial ferts years ago. I let the spiders and other predators take over the garden. I make due with compost and compost tea. Oh and lots of leaves.

That's my story and I'm stickin to it.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 8:22PM
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tn_gardening

I had good luck last year with building an A-frame trellis. It sorta looked like an A fame swingset.

Lots of options on building materials:
1x2s
bamboo
PVC

I dropped a bit of twine down for each plant and also added vertical lats to support the branches.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 7:12AM
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