Friday, July 4, 2008

Trellis or Else

First, my confession. I trellised too late. Yes, I had a plan, a good plan, for trellising my tomatoes. But I had no time to get to it and boom, the tomatoes were large and trellising more difficult. Trellis early, and spare yourself the broken limbs of those rapidly growing vines.

I had a good plan- a trellis method I had used when tomatoes were planted in rows in the earth. Do it early and it works, do it late and all you do is curse.

The Plan:
  1. Take 6-foot long, 1 x 2 inch wooden stakes and pound them into the ground, evenly spaced and two for every plant.
  2. Then roll out 2 x 2 inch poly mesh, cutting it to the length of the row.
  3. Slide the mesh over the stakes, keeping it level along the way.
  4. When you reach two feet above the ground, staple the mesh to the stakes.
  5. Do this every 12 to 16 inches above that first layer of mesh. The quantity of layers depends on how tall you expect your tomatoes to grow.
  6. Let the tomato grow through the mesh, weaving vines through as needed.
This is how it looks on my wooden planter:

I needed four per plant for this tomato because I am growing it in a pot.

Now my other tomatoes were too large to use this method. So my emergency method happens to look like this:

I used 6-foot long bamboo stakes from the local nursery attached at the four corners of the wooden planter. I braced the stakes with common pipe brackets bought at my local hardware store for 15 cents each. Then I tied twine to each of the stakes, going all around and repeating this up the stake.
The braced bamboo stake looks like this:

I also used the poly mesh to keep squirrels from digging holes in my cilantro and parsley. Little boogers like to dig.

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