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Florida Weave: Distance between plants

Posted by garystpaul z4 MN (My Page) on
Fri, Mar 25, 11 at 21:04

I don't wish to do this topic to death, and I've consulted a lot of threads, but I'd like to hear from those with experience with the Florida Weave: with two plants between poles and probably 10 plants per row, all indeterminates, how far apart should I set them? Three feet? Farther apart? Closer together? This will be my first time using the FW and I'd like to get it right. Thanks in advance for any tips. GaryStPaul


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Florida Weave: Distance between plants

I too am interested in knowing what the experienced Florida Weavers have to say. I did it last year with 3 plants about 2 feet apart in between stakes. Of course I only used 5ft high stakes which after putting in the ground are about 4 feet and not quite high enough for Indeterminates! What does everyone use for staking. I am going to buy some but its tough to find something that isnt treated with chemicals. - Thanks!


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RE: Florida Weave: Distance between plants

18 inches between plants...

stake...9in...plant...18in...plant...9in stake.

Pound your stakes at 36in and put a plant 9in off each stake. Done it a million times.


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RE: Florida Weave: Distance between plants

what height on your stake, and width?


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RE: Florida Weave: Distance between plants

  • Posted by bets z5A ID (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 26, 11 at 1:34

Hi garystpaul,

I've been using the Florida Weave for several years now. I set my stakes 6 feet apart, and have two plants between then that are 3 apart.

So my layout goes: Stake <-18"-> plant <-36"-> plant <-18"-> stake. <-18"-> plant <-36"-> plant <-18"-> stake. Repeat as needed.

I would not put the plants any closer together than 3 feet unless you were pruning them. They tend to be pretty friendly and believe in togetherness. For that reason I put my rows a minimum of 6 feet apart.

For my end stakes, I use the tallest T-posts I can find and drive them at a slight angle outward. For the center stakes I use 2" x 2" x 8' lumber that I have painted or soaked the bottom 18" or so in linseed or tung oil which makes them last longer. I've been known to rip 2x4's down the center, or buy the precut but slightly rougher in texture 2x2's, which ever is cheaper. (The rougher texture actually holds the twine up better, but also makes it harder to tighten it as it stretches with the weight of the tomato plants.)

Oh, and I use baling twine, that does not compost, but eventually does break down. And we have a place to recycle it here. I usually get 2 or 3 seasons out of a piece of it before I give up on it. It doesn't stretch like some twines do, so I spend less time tightening it up. It's also pretty economical. I bought a big ball of it several years ago for around $30.00 and still have about half of it left.

I hope that helps.

Betsy

Here is a link that might be useful: Florida Weave


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RE: Florida Weave: Distance between plants

I like Timmy1's arrangement, That is steak 9" from the plant. This way you can tie the plant to the stake. BUT on the other hand, I think 18" spacing is too close and would require a lot of pruning. I would consider 24"-28", if I have enough garden space. Maybe I will have two plants between stakes.
stk--9"--plnt--24"---plnt---24"--plnt--9"--stk.
This way stks will be 5.5' apart.
One thing that is not discussed, and I would like to know is : What kind of twine/weaving material is best to be used?...


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RE: Florida Weave: Distance between plants

I plant the maters two feet apart and two plants between a stake. I also trim the bottom leaves from the plants.

Mike


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RE: Florida Weave: Distance between plants

  • Posted by bets z5A ID (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 26, 11 at 9:20

seysonn,

As I stated above I use polypropelene baling twine (I think it is polypropelene) that can be purchased at a farm store. Others use jute (which will compost) but does stretch, some use cotton twine but it does stretch a lot. You could use any twine you want, but bear in mind that you may have to do a lot of tightening during the season if what you use tends to stretch.

I tried putting 3 plant between the posts one year and found I didn't like it to well, the center plant tended to lean to one end or the other a lot. If you look at the link I provided, The Barefoot Gardener shows the twines crossed near the posts with the plants in the same "loop". When I started, I crossed the twines between the plants as it gives them a bit of seperation. I don't acxtually recall if I ever did it the other way, except when I had 3 plants between the stakes.(And yes, I do like the idea of "steak" with my tomatoes!)

It's not as pretty as the Barefoot Gardener's diagrams, but you can see what I mean. Perhaps, if I remember it, I will try some with both methods this summer and take pictures if I notice a difference between the weaves. I've been doing it this way so long

Betsy


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RE: Florida Weave: Distance between plants

Thanks, everybody. On the question of twines, in addition to Betsy's note, I've heard several recommendations: polypropylene twine (like the one at Home Depot: Everbilt 230 ft. Polypropylene Twine Natural, $2.98), parachute cord (aka 550 cord), various nylon twines (such as the ones sold at Johnny's, though I don't like the look of bright white myself). I use Sisalana baling twine, mainly because I have a huge roll on hand, bought from a local farm supply. It is quite substantial (biodegradable over time), and I doubt it'll stretch much. BTW, I found 8' t-posts at Lowe's around here. Gary


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RE: Florida Weave: Distance between plants

The best distance between plants depends quite a bit on the growth habit of the tomatoes. Rampant indeterminates will not be happy with 18" but most determinates will do just fine at that distance. Dwarf varieties can be much closer together.

Climate is also a factor. If you have a long growing season, the plants can be much larger than areas with a short season. This means further apart in long season areas.

Here are the "minimum" distances I've worked out over the years.

Indeterminate - 2.5 feet apart in the row with 4.5 feet between rows.

Determinate - 2 feet apart in the row with 4 feet between rows.

Dwarf - 16 inches apart in the row with 3 feet between rows.

If you are planting a mix of varieties, then I recommend using the above spacing for the variety that gets the tallest.

If you are willing to prune the plants to a single leader, you can cut the above distances in half. I do not recommend doing this for the simple reason it is way too much work unless you are growing a commercial crop in a greenhouse.

DarJones


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RE: Florida Weave: Distance between plants

I do exactly the same spacing as Betsy (stakes 6 ft apart, two plants between).

I also use the same type of posts. The end posts are tall (7ft) T-posts and the in-between posts are 2" x 7ft wood. The only difference for me is that for the wooden posts I cull 7ft tall, 2" saplings from my woods and chop a pointy end with a small hatchet. Saplings here are free and plentiful and they last several years if stored in the shed for the winter.

To keep things manageable, I do prune the large indeterminates to 3-4 major vines. My rows are 5 feet apart.

I use parachute cord for the weave. Thin cord tends to cut into the stalks.


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RE: Florida Weave: Distance between plants

I plant my tomatoes on 18 inch centers and use the Florida Weave. On the indeterminates, we sucker to the first cluster and trim off leaves a foot off the ground. I also trim off any leaves that stick out in the walk way too much. I have also planted 12 inches apart and trained to one leader. It was more work, but we did have a really good harvest.

These tomatoes are grown in a high tunnel.

I attached a video of me weaving the tomatoes. It should have been about a week before this, but I didn't have the time.

Jay

Here is a link that might be useful: Florida Weave


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RE: Florida Weave: Distance between plants

I'm using the tomato twine in a box with the belt loop... And a 36in piece of 3/4 pvc pipe to thread it.

Here is a link that might be useful: johnny's video


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RE: Florida Weave: Distance between plants

I LOVE the Florida Weave!! This will be mine third year.

I tried three plants between stakes and it works ok, but 2 plants between stakes is much much better. My plants are 3' apart between the stakes.

My rows are 8' apart. I also trim the bottom branches, so no leaves touch the ground. I end up having to trim the tops as they grow so long, they flop over and you can't walk through.

Creates a wonderful hedge of tomatoes!!

This year, I am going to try to alternate the fruit color, so I can figure out what is what when someone asks, what kind is this??


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RE: Florida Weave: Distance between plants

  • Posted by corin99 7b Triangle NC (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 28, 11 at 10:37

I set mine 2' apart and use t-posts and poly twine. Also, to get extra height I got some smaller t-posts and knocked the spade part off leaving just the pole. I seem to remember using a small sledge and chisel...It wasn't easy, but they'll last a long time.

I then bolt the pole to the larger t-posts as the plants get taller. Works pretty well and you can go as high as you want.


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RE: Florida Weave: Distance between plants

corin99 - I LOVE that idea to extend the height!!


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RE: Florida Weave: Distance between plants

If you want everything picture perfect, go for two plants per pair of stakes, and the average spacing described above.

I've gone as far as 9 feet between stakes, and 4 large indeterminate tomatoes between those stakes. This in North Dakota, where 30mph wind is normal, 40-50mph blows weekly, and up to 75-80mph gusts occur once or twice during the Summer.

Use baling twine, and be sure to tie the twine taut, so the plants can't move much, if at all. Baling twine is UV resistant, mildew resistant and barely stretches. Plus, it has a much higher tensile strength, than your garden variety jute twine or synthetic cordage. A spool of baling twine can be spendy, but if you price it by the foot, chances are its your most economical choice.

I'm cheap with T-posts, because they are needed for livestock. I usually take the ones that a bull or tractor has bent into a pretzel shape, and bend them straight-ish for use in the garden.

Should have well over 300 tomatoes and peppers on the windy prairie this year.

Knock wood.


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RE: Florida Weave: Distance between plants

I really want to try out this method on one row of tomatoes this year as I have run out of cages already. I have the posts already. So going to get another six pack of tomatoes on my next trup to the nursery and see what I can do.


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RE: Florida Weave: Distance between plants

austinnhanasmom, great idea about alternating the color. Since most of mine are red, I might alternate leaf type and fruit type as well.


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RE: Florida Weave: Distance between plants

Here are my tomatoes this year. I am going to be adding extensions to my 8 foot posts this year. My tomatoes are already 4.5 to 5 foot tall and it is only May!

Photobucket

Jay


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RE: Florida Weave: Distance between plants

Jay, your set up is ideal. Love that hoop house greenhouse you have. My plans are much more modest. Hoping to put in a row of six plants Florida weave style.


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RE: Florida Weave: Distance between plants

I went to the nursery today and I bought 12 more tomato plants. Planned on buying a six pack of BIG BOY tomatoes and doing a row of six in the Florida Weave style. Well, I did buy the six pack of BIG BOYS but I have no will power. I swear I would buy every type of tomato plant in the nursery if I had room. So I saw these lovely single plants of SUN GOLD and CHEROKEE PURPLE, bought those. So my row of six idea was changed to two rows of 4 idea instead! Then bought a Siberian tomato I will plant between two others already planted here by the house. And I found this patio garden growbag that is 39 inches long so I will put the last three (two FOURTH OF JULY and one SUGERY ) in there.

I had to buy bagged compost as I will be using to set up the new tomato garden area.


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