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Trellis Question

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Trellis Question

Post  SherrieLou on 4/16/2012, 1:41 pm

I am basically a "Rule Follower" by nature and as a newbie I figure my best chance of success is to follow the exact instructions in the book. So I built 2 4x4 boxes, gathered ALL of my MM ingredients, put together the grids, built protective domes and even constructed my vertical trellis exactly the way it is shown in the book.

I was feeling a major sense of accomplishment I realized that I have more vine crops then I expected. I got the idea to place my trellis in between two rows of squares (rather then on the outside edge of the box) and plant tomatoes on each side. I could alternate their vines up the nylon netting and get to use 1 trellis for 8 squares instead of 4.

But I looked in the book and online and didn't see anyone else doing this. So now I can't decide if this is a brilliant idea or a colossal mistake that will mess up my whole garden.

Any advice?

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Re: Trellis Question

Post  rowena___. on 4/16/2012, 2:49 pm

anything on the north side will be in shade when the tomatoes are full grown, so plan(t) accordingly.

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Re: Trellis Question

Post  landarch on 4/16/2012, 4:59 pm

try some lettuce to the north of the vines...or anything that will enjoy a bit of shade to extend their usefulness before bolting in the summer heat.

In addition, keep an eye on your first year's Mels Mix...I've been reading about and probably experiencing lack of nutrients lately with first year gardens. One may have to work in additional compost above and beyond what the book says and/or feed with organic fertilizer until the soil is "seasoned" in subsequent years.

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Re: Trellis Question

Post  jennifer37918 on 4/16/2012, 5:11 pm

@SherrieLou wrote:I was feeling a major sense of accomplishment I realized that I have more vine crops then I expected. I got the idea to place my trellis in between two rows of squares (rather then on the outside edge of the box) and plant tomatoes on each side. I could alternate their vines up the nylon netting and get to use 1 trellis for 8 squares instead of 4.

I'm also new (and a rule follower) and had considered doing the same thing. Keep us posted on how it works for you. :-)

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Re: Trellis Question

Post  floyd1440 on 4/16/2012, 8:17 pm

@SherrieLou wrote:I am basically a "Rule Follower" by nature and as a newbie I figure my best chance of success is to follow the exact instructions in the book. So I built 2 4x4 boxes, gathered ALL of my MM ingredients, put together the grids, built protective domes and even constructed my vertical trellis exactly the way it is shown in the book.

I was feeling a major sense of accomplishment I realized that I have more vine crops then I expected. I got the idea to place my trellis in between two rows of squares (rather then on the outside edge of the box) and plant tomatoes on each side. I could alternate their vines up the nylon netting and get to use 1 trellis for 8 squares instead of 4.

But I looked in the book and online and didn't see anyone else doing this. So now I can't decide if this is a brilliant idea or a colossal mistake that will mess up my whole garden.

Any advice?

This is my first time with a trellis for my tomatoes. From past experience they are very heavy and the concern I have it you overloading you trellis and with a good wind storm it may fall over.

How far are your 2 boxes apart? Could you put a 1 foot box between your two boxes for more vertical plants? Just make you trellislonger.

Just a thought

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Re: Trellis Question

Post  givvmistamps on 4/16/2012, 9:31 pm

First of all, . It's really great to see all the people here who enjoy SFG!!!

Everyone told me (when I asked a different question about tomatoes) that
tomatoes are "space hogs". They DO grow a lot of leaves, and those
leaves are collecting energy from the sun to grow your tomatoes, which means they need plenty of sunlight to make lots of yummy tomatoes. sunny So my
inclination is that this method you're thinking of is not such a good idea. What I ended up doing
was putting my tomatoes into planters so they could have more elbow
room.

Depending upon the variety of tomato you are growing, some will be more
of a vine, and get really tall (referred to as "indeterminate"), and
others will bush lot more and only get around 3 feet tall
(referred to as "determinate"). Both need support, of course. BTW, I was also told that my cherry tomatoes (an indeterminate) could get taller than the eaves of my house!

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Trellis Question

Post  trukrebew on 4/16/2012, 10:24 pm

Hi SherrieLou,
glad you\'re here
I have done this exact thing for 2 years in a row. And, for me, it works. The only reason it works is because my garden is very shady and my tomato plants do not get as big and filled out as most, so there is room on the trellis for twice as many plants. It lets me get more tomatoes than would grow from half the plants in my shady conditions. Also, I do a lot of heavy pruning to keep it "open." The plants need good airflow around them and if they leaves just start packing close together, they will not get the air they need.

If your garden gets a lot of sun in the right way (10+ hours), I think it could work for you, too. The sun moves east to west. If you were to put your trellis perpendicular to that movement (one end on the north, one end on the south), then the sun would shine evenly on both sides and eliminate the shade issue. But it would create a shade issue for everything in the lower squares that would be blocked for half the day. This may be fine if you fill those squares with stuff that does better with some shade, like lettuces in the spring and fall and green beans in the summer. I'm assuming this would work. I know I would have tried it if I could.

You'd still have to do heavy pruning. Especially at the top. True to what Givvmistamps said, my cherry 'mater vines have gone as high as my house, flopped over (when I didn't prune) and grown out another 5 feet. And that was on a 7' trellis!

Also, I ended up replacing the pre-packaged nylon garden netting with stronger marine string since the other didn't hold up in the second year. And it is orange so I can see it very easily.

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Re: Trellis Question

Post  Hoggar on 4/17/2012, 10:57 am

I trellis my tomatoes on a string trellis following the instructions in this
video. (How to Prune Tomatoes) I'm in the process of building a new
2' x 8' box for my tomatoes when its done Ill post pictures. Last year
I had Roma sized yellow pear tomatoes and they were delicious.
I do this with both determinate and indeterminate tomatoes.

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Re: Trellis Question

Post  kbb964 on 4/17/2012, 11:07 am

I found this video very helpful too ! I am stringing my peas and tomatoes this year.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJgA4n-sCE8

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Thanks!

Post  SherrieLou on 4/17/2012, 10:44 pm

What a wealth of information and good ideas. Thanks everyone fo the tips, espcially about watching the soil quality the first year and the pruning tips and videos.

I've decided to play strictly by the rules this first year and just plant 1 row of squares per trellis. As suggested I think I will use palters for my extra tomatoe plants this year.

flower If all goes well then I may get brave and experiment next year. Thanks again for the tremendous response and advice!

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Re: Trellis Question

Post  floyd1440 on 4/18/2012, 8:40 pm

I built 2 trellises using 1/2 sch 80 PVC pipe. The reason for using PVC was due to the 8 foot span I have.

Used 6 foot 1/2 inch rebar for the 3 vertical supports and one one the top 8 foot section to keep it collapsing under the weightof the crops later this summer

Will send you some pics tomorrow.....

Very Happy

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Re: Trellis Question

Post  givvmistamps on 4/19/2012, 4:06 am

Right, I forgot to mention the all-important rebar! We got 2' lengths of in, pounded 1' into the soil beside the SFG, then fitted the pipes over that before attaching the pipes to the box. That way it has some support in wind storms.

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Re: Trellis Question

Post  1airdoc on 4/19/2012, 9:40 am

How do you harvest the fruit at the top of those 10' trellises?

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Re: Trellis Question

Post  quiltbea on 4/19/2012, 10:10 am

I've tried different ways to grow my tomatoes and it seems to me that using a trellis like one does for peas, would make it difficult to keep pushing and pulling branches thru the openings as the plants grew. Those that trellis that way, how does that work?

Right now I use staking and tying (at our community garden which is organic but not raised beds), or caging or stringing mine depending on where the plant is located or its type (determinate bush or indeterminate vining). I would prefer to string all of them, as in the video kbb posted a few posts above this one. More efficient for me; easy to weed, water and sucker, and simple to harvest.

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Re: Trellis Question

Post  camprn on 4/19/2012, 10:24 am

I had some really good results with the Florida weave. But this year I am going to use the 10' strapping because I never know how far they will go. The strapping can be secured with screws right to the bed.

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Re: Trellis Question

Post  Hoggar on 4/19/2012, 11:10 am

@1airdoc wrote:How do you harvest the fruit at the top of those 10' trellises?
The fruit gives enough weight that I can reach the top most by stepping
on the side of the box. I top off the vines and keep things pruned so they
don't get any taller and they put out great fruit all season long. Then at
the first frost I pull up the vines up and cut off the roots. Then I hang
them upside down in the Mud room. We had Tomatoes until January last year.

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Florida Weave?

Post  SherrieLou on 4/21/2012, 1:13 pm

Is that jut square nylon netting?

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Re: Trellis Question

Post  givvmistamps on 4/21/2012, 1:21 pm

@SherrieLou wrote:Is that jut square nylon netting?

The Florida Weave is a way of winding string support around stakes. Look at this website/article to see a visual:
http://www.finegardening.com/how-to/articles/supporting-cast-for-tomatoes.aspx

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