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Trellis question.

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Trellis question.

Post  annasartasylum on 10/17/2013, 3:23 pm

Hi, I just read the SFG book and I'm trying to plan my next years garden. I want to grow 4 different types of indeterminate tomatoes and I was wondering if they can all grow on one 4 foot trellis or is it better to spread them out? I also want to grow other plants that need trellis and I'm not sure if I can just put 4 of them on one 4 foot trellis or will it be too crowded? Thank you!

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Re: Trellis question.

Post  Marc Iverson on 10/17/2013, 4:13 pm

Mel recommends two square feet per trellised tomato. They really can get huge, and even two square feet is not that big for a large tomato. My bush tomato spreads three feet even staked, and I had a couple of brandywines that spread three feet even heavily staked and caged.

Then again, I saw a youtube of a professional grower who grows his tomatoes SFG style, but plants them one per square foot and keeps them trimmed to one main stem. He says you get less tomatoes per plant, but you can plant so much closer that, to him, it's worth it.

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Re: Trellis question.

Post  llama momma on 10/17/2013, 4:23 pm

I have two new beds this year that are 2 x 4 ft.  Each had 4 heirloom indeterminates in them mostly pruned to one stem each.  Every plant had a companion plant like carrots, or basil, marigolds, borage, etc.  So the tomatoes each had one sq. ft. to themselves.  The pic below is one of the beds.  Had to trim the tops 4 times when they went over 8 ft tall.  As far as less tomatoes, these things are still going strong, just had my neighbor come over before to pick over all he wanted, he left with at least 7 pounds of maters.


Last edited by llama momma on 10/17/2013, 4:27 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Trellis question.

Post  annasartasylum on 10/17/2013, 4:24 pm

Thank you so much Marc! That's very helpful! Will cucumbers take 2 square feet too?

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Re: Trellis question.

Post  annasartasylum on 10/17/2013, 4:26 pm

Thank you llama momma! Picture is very helpful!

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Re: Trellis question.

Post  llama momma on 10/17/2013, 4:29 pm


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Re: Trellis question.

Post  Marc Iverson on 10/17/2013, 5:42 pm

@annasartasylum wrote:Thank you so much Marc! That's very helpful! Will cucumbers take 2 square feet too?
I don't have Mel's book handy and don't remember what he said on cucumbers offhand, but I thought he planted them pretty densely, as in multiples per square foot. I grew almost all mine in pots this year. They didn't spread out much, but they were attacked mercilessly by cucumber beetles most of the season, most weren't in enough sun, and again, they were in pots and that can be pretty limiting.

Yet I've seen pics here and elsewhere of people with huge cucumber plants. The leaves alone can get bigger than a hand, so maybe they would benefit from a full square or more? Anyway, mine were fine at two per square foot, but that may not be the case for people who were more successful and grew bigger plants.

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Re: Trellis question.

Post  Marc Iverson on 10/17/2013, 5:43 pm

llamamomma, I love how easy to work those two-foot wide beds look.

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Re: Trellis question.

Post  llama momma on 10/17/2013, 7:24 pm

marc--yeppers

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Re: Trellis question.

Post  annasartasylum on 10/17/2013, 8:27 pm

Thanks everyone! I think I will build 4  4'x2' boxes and use 2 feet each for 4 tomatoes, 2 cucumbers, melons and watermelons. I will plant other plants in front and some short ones in between the vines. I can't wait for the spring! So far I have 1 4'x4' box with plants that grow well in winter in Florida. I just put the seeds in yesterday so wish me luck Smile

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Re: Trellis question.

Post  sanderson on 10/18/2013, 12:48 am

I had to check my chart, but Mel has cucumbers as 2 per square.

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Re: Trellis question.

Post  Marc Iverson on 10/18/2013, 12:55 am

Good luck! Hope you enjoy your winter gardening too. First year trying that for me, and it seems like a great idea.

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Re: Trellis question.

Post  annasartasylum on 10/18/2013, 1:12 am

Thank you and good luck to you too Marc!

About the cucumbers- The book says 2 per square but I looked up varieties I want to grow and the info says that they need a lot of space... Maybe I will try 6 plants in 4 square feet and see how that goes...

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Re: Trellis question.

Post  Marc Iverson on 10/18/2013, 1:29 am

The seed packets often seem to suggest huge amounts of space. I think the premises are that you have infinite land, and also that your plants' roots will need to spread very far to find adequate water and nutrients, and that you need plenty of room to hoe in. All of which the SFG system is made to address: intensive gardening requires less land; the Mel's Mix "soil" is very nutritious and retains water easily so the roots don't have to search far; weeding is minimal and easy in the loose, moist soil and generally done by hand. Seed packets tend to address a different gardening model, or even speak to farming as much as gardening.

All of which is to say that perhaps spacing suggestions on seed packets may be a little cautious for SFG'ers who keep their Mel's Mix adequately moist and well-nourished. Probably not all the time, but sometimes. I planted lots of stuff closer than seed packets suggested and didn't suffer for it.

Still, being cautious the way you are is hardly a bad thing. It will probably be great for most plants to have the extra space you're providing them. They'll have more air circulation, which can help prevent disease, be easier for you to work with, and they'll have more root space if they need it.

It might be an interesting experiment to plant the same cucumber more than one way, and see how you do at the end of the year. That may help you plan things especially well the year after that.

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Re: Trellis question.

Post  annasartasylum on 10/18/2013, 2:01 am

Oh good too know that they like to exaggerate on seed packets Smile It's all very confusing when you don't have any experience! I always wanted to grow my own food.. Now I have plenty of room and perfect weather so I have to learn everything fast so I can start big this spring Smile
Thank you for all your help Marc. I'm glad I found this forum.

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Re: Trellis question.

Post  camprn on 10/18/2013, 6:21 am

I grow the space master cucumbers and plant at least 9 seeds per square. the main reason I plant so thickly is in case of plant failure, I still have a few per square.

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Re: Trellis question.

Post  annasartasylum on 10/18/2013, 9:57 am

That's a good point... Maybe I should just put a few in each square and see what happens Smile

Oh I like your weather sticker Smile

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Re: Trellis question.

Post  sanderson on 10/18/2013, 3:02 pm

Anna, I read back through your topic and I noticed you didn't mention if you were going to use Mel's Mix. Dirt verses Mix will affect your spacing. Very Happy 

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Re: Trellis question.

Post  annasartasylum on 10/18/2013, 6:45 pm

I used and will use Mel's Mix Smile I'm not composting yet but I tried to find as many different composts as possible. It's kind of hard this time of year but my new boxes will get better variety since stores will carry more soon.

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Re: Trellis question.

Post  floyd1440 on 10/18/2013, 7:57 pm

@annasartasylum wrote:I used and will use Mel's Mix Smile I'm not composting yet but I tried to find as many different composts as possible. It's kind of hard this time of year but my new boxes will get better variety since stores will carry more soon.
Hey Anna do you have a Southern States in your area?  There is a Blue Ridge compost which may get you started but need to start your own compost pile when you get to it

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Re: Trellis question.

Post  annasartasylum on 10/18/2013, 8:26 pm

@floyd1440 wrote:
@annasartasylum wrote:I used and will use Mel's Mix Smile I'm not composting yet but I tried to find as many different composts as possible. It's kind of hard this time of year but my new boxes will get better variety since stores will carry more soon.
Hey Anna do you have a Southern States in your area?  There is a Blue Ridge compost which may get you started but need to start your own compost pile when you get to it
I just checked and there is no Southern States in Florida. I also checked Blue Ridge compost website and they don't sell in Florida either... Sad

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Re: Trellis question.

Post  floyd1440 on 10/19/2013, 7:45 am

@annasartasylum wrote:
@floyd1440 wrote:
@annasartasylum wrote:I used and will use Mel's Mix Smile I'm not composting yet but I tried to find as many different composts as possible. It's kind of hard this time of year but my new boxes will get better variety since stores will carry more soon.
Hey Anna do you have a Southern States in your area?  There is a Blue Ridge compost which may get you started but need to start your own compost pile when you get to it
I just checked and there is no Southern States in Florida. I also checked Blue Ridge compost website and they don't sell in Florida either... Sad
Well it was an idea to get you started.  I don't have a Southern States in Pa but there is one in Northern W.Va and may stop by sometime to get a bag for starting stuff inside in the winter.

Anyway it sounds easy enough to just get 5 different types of compost but I had to settle with 4 types.

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Re: Trellis question.

Post  annasartasylum on 10/20/2013, 1:53 am

@floyd1440 wrote:
@annasartasylum wrote:
@floyd1440 wrote:
@annasartasylum wrote:I used and will use Mel's Mix Smile I'm not composting yet but I tried to find as many different composts as possible. It's kind of hard this time of year but my new boxes will get better variety since stores will carry more soon.
Hey Anna do you have a Southern States in your area?  There is a Blue Ridge compost which may get you started but need to start your own compost pile when you get to it
I just checked and there is no Southern States in Florida. I also checked Blue Ridge compost website and they don't sell in Florida either... Sad
Well it was an idea to get you started.  I don't have a Southern States in Pa but there is one in Northern W.Va and may stop by sometime to get a bag for starting stuff inside in the winter.

Anyway it sounds easy enough to just get 5 different types of compost but I had to settle with 4 types.
Yes, should be pretty easy to get it soon once it's closer to spring. I tried to find some now and 90% of compost in stores is cow manure...

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Re: Trellis question.

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