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trellising tomato help!

Posted by skatcon z3 MN (My Page) on
Sat, Jul 19, 14 at 17:09

I prune each plant to two vines, clipping them to twine that can be lowered as the plants grow. In the past I have used Coleman's method of moving the twine holders sideways along the cable so the plants are growing diagonally. This year I wanted to grow the plants straight up and coil them at the bottom. Heard about it but never seen it done. Well, I can't figure out how to make the vines coil. I'm afraid I will break them. Can anyone give me any tips or suggestions?
Kathy


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: trellising tomato help!

Never done a coil but I imagine you could coil stems (horizontal) as easily as formiming a vertical "S" with the lower stem as most of us do. Stems are quite flexible as long as you don't bend at too sharp an angle.

I do all my plant lowering without help but I always thought that a second person to guide the lower stem when I'm lowering from a ladder would make everything go better. You almost need the extra person to form the lower stem into a coil IMO.


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RE: trellising tomato help!

Thank you for responding, bmoser. I have to admit my ignorance. I have no idea what the vertical s is that you are referring to. Maybe that would work for me. Do you know if there is a website that has pictures of this? I am trying to picture it but don't have a clue. Thanks again for the help.
Kathy


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RE: trellising tomato help!

I'm going to be lowering my cherry types any day now so I'll take a few pictures. Basically I just allow the stem to form the "S" shape above the ground keeping the stem positioned within the same row. Otherwise I would not be able to pick without a series of paths to access the 13 rows of tomatoes I have in my 30 ft wide greenhouse. With close row spacing a coil is not an option for me although the stems want to sway every direction when lowered and need to be kept in line.


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RE: trellising tomato help!

I am surprised but my brandywines in the field are doing well on a 6.5' nylon trellis and I can leave it there and plant beans on it next year.

I started with 2 or 3 main stems and sucker from there. Pretty bushy but still making lots of fruit. Largest so far 1.6 pounds.

Not a majority of perfect tomatoes, but there is and has been a lot of good fruit. Easier to work than cages and I haven't spent hardly any time training except to poke a few leaders through the web when out pruning suckers. 6'5" might not be big enough for a green house but it's plenty even in my long growing season. The actually branches can get bigger than 6'5" because of the support the have to fan out to the side. Also helps with sunburning because there is still plenty of plant there.

This post was edited by rustico_2009 on Mon, Jul 21, 14 at 0:52


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RE: trellising tomato help!

Hi rustico,
I'm interested in this nylon trellis you have, as I have been wondering which ones will be strong enough for tomatoes. Is it a thin one such as used for peas or something sturdier?

cheers.
joey


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RE: trellising tomato help!

Hi Joey,
It's like this, You can buy it in larger bulk too.

Most people use t-posts, a wire or rope on top and tie wrap the trellis to that. I have some of the trellis in bulk in white but don't remember where I bought it. They are very strong and if you are willing to rescue them from the plant material, reusable.

Here is a link that might be useful: Trellis


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RE: trellising tomato help!

Hi Joey,
It's like this, You can buy it in larger bulk too.

Most people use t-posts, a wire or rope on top and tie wrap the trellis to that. I have some of the trellis in bulk in white but don't remember where I bought it. They are very strong and if you are willing to rescue them from the plant material, reusable.

Here is a link that might be useful: Trellis


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RE: trellising tomato help!

Thanks,
I have seen growers using that stuff for flowers, and also for peppers and peas but I didn't realise it was strong enough for tomatoes. Good to know because it's a lot cheaper than some of the alternatives I've used.


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RE: trellising tomato help!

Your'e welcome,

Here is a picture from my trellis, as you can see it can hold weight. I got lazy after awhile and they are sprawling too but still working very well with no work. I have some in cages to and it's nothing to keep them in or sufficiently on the cages.


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RE: trellising tomato help!

Here is one of the plants in a cage, I have picked most the tomatoes from the lower 1/3 or you can see them but there have been plenty.

I like the cages a lot too. These are double stacked "field fence" cages, About 8' tall and the plants are almost up to the top now.


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RE: trellising tomato help!

As a followup I wanted to show a stringline lowering effort. First off the pictures did not reveal the detail I intended but the first is an idea of the unlowered plant row:

prior to lowering photo 100_1010_zps7411b8a1.jpg

The lowered plants are not obviously different in this picture but more so in the last picture at ground level
prior to lowering photo 100_1060_zps7411b8a1.jpg

See in this picture how the stem (right) bends from the ground to form the "S" shape?
prior to lowering photo 100_1064_zps7411b8a1.jpg


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RE: trellising tomato help!

thanks for posting the photo, The other two did not show up but the one you posted showed me what my difficulty is. I have a cable going across the tunnel attached to the steel arches. I run the stringlines from this cable. When we put the cable up I asked my dh to put it low enough so that I could reach the spools to release line without standing on a ladder. Since I am short that means that the cable is about 6 to 6 1/2 feet up. This just does not give me enough harvested stem at the bottom to do much with. So next year I will go back to moving the spools along the cable diagonally. Thanks again for taking the time.
Kathy


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