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caging determinate tomatoes and zucchini?

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caging determinate tomatoes and zucchini?

Post  kbachli on 2/6/2015, 12:10 pm

Hello,
Brand new to gardening and I've read the SFG book cover to cover and I was very happy to find this group!  I've been working on my compost and have started my seeds indoors.  I'm planning on planting everything outside in 1 week.  I live in the desert and our day temps are already hitting the 80s! 

Question: When I bought my seeds I didn't really understand the difference between determinate and indeterminate tomatoes.  Turns out I bought the determinate kind of tomatoes, so I'm going to go with it.  I'm also going to be growing zucchini.  In the book it says this uses 9 SF for both of these.  I read somewhere that you can put a cage on them to save space, perhaps only using 4 SF?  What do others think?  Any experience with this?  I've only made two 4x4 boxes and having 9 SF for each of these will take up so much space!  So I'm trying to see if I can fit more in.  Or, I may just build more boxes.  Would love input.

Thanks!
Kelley
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Re: caging determinate tomatoes and zucchini?

Post  quiltbea on 2/6/2015, 12:37 pm

I rarely grow determinates in my raised beds, using large containers now instead.  But one year I planted 3 determinates (Oregon Spring) in the northernmost foot width of space of my 4 x 4, placing one at each end of the bed and one in the center.  Those darlings grew just fine in that spacing.  The foot-wide row in front of them I planted lettuces so they could have some shade and grow further into the summer.   It was pretty crowded, but workable.  So, yes, you can grow them in  less than 9 Cu Ft of space.  By planting them on the end, they had space to spread beyond the bed. 
They also say that determinates only grow one flush of fruit within a couple weeks time.  Well, I didn't have time to pull out those 3 after harvesting so was surprised when those Springs (a cold tolerant and early tomato) were putting out new blossoms and baby fruits by October that same year.  Too bad I have a short season or I would have had another harvest of tomatoes that year, but frost came too soon.
I would post pix but they were lost in my old computer when it died.

So the answer is, yes you can grow determinates in less that 9 Cu Ft if you place them carefully.
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Re: caging determinate tomatoes and zucchini?

Post  Turan on 2/6/2015, 12:42 pm

Welcome Kelley!

As in so many things in life it depends....  some determinate tomatoes are less space users than others.  I grew 5 Oroma tomatoes in a 3x4 area with cages last summer.  They did fine.  I did no pruning.  They did sort of merge into each other.  Another way would be to put them in 5 gallon buckets with a cage and let them take up extra room.  Thus leaving the SFG bed open for other things.  Zucchini is an incredible space hog with those big leaves.  Sanderson manages to train it up a trellis.  I put it on the edge of a bed where it can hang over the edge and make it hard to walk by. Others put it in a 5 gallon bucket.

Good luck and happy gardening!

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Re: caging determinate tomatoes and zucchini?

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 2/6/2015, 12:52 pm

I have grown both determinate and indeterminate tomatoes and would recommend that you have a very strong cage if you plan to use one.  The little cages you buy at the stores are worthless.  You can make a cage using wire fencing wired into a circle with a couple of stakes down into the ground that they're wired to.  

As to zucchini, they can get huge.  Even wired up on a trellis an heirloom variety that I grow will have 6-8 different growing stems and sprawl.  It's best to put them at the edge of your boxes where you can allow them to roam outside the space.  I happen to have very good soil where I live so I put them into the ground and let them go wild up my bank in the backyard.  I like when they're trellised as it makes spotting the fruit easier.  I will inevitably find 3 or 4, 5 lb zucchinis during the season that just got overlooked even as carefully as I search, LOL!  Fortunately they make great zucchini lasagna "noodles"

The bucket approach can work well with any of your sprawling vine type fruits or veggies. I've grown cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon and other melons in the same way. You can even set them up with drip emitters for watering if you need to.
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Re: caging determinate tomatoes and zucchini?

Post  Kelejan on 2/6/2015, 1:25 pm

glad you\'re here  kelley. happy hi
I am still a novice at growing tomatoes so although you are a beginner, your questions help others as well.
The is one of the nice things about this site, everyone is so helpful without belittling novice questions.
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Re: caging determinate tomatoes and zucchini?

Post  kbachli on 2/6/2015, 5:20 pm

Thanks for the tips!  I like the idea of using containers for the tomatoes and freeing up space in my beds.  Thanks!
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Re: caging determinate tomatoes and zucchini?

Post  sanderson on 2/7/2015, 2:55 am

Kbachli,  Welcome to the Forum from Fresno! glad you\'re here Last summer I had caged zucchini and yellow straight neck (summer squashes) in 12" pots with 3-rung tomato cages, plus 3 planted in three corners of a couple beds where they could fall over and run amok.  I like the cleanliness of potted squash so I placed plastic on the ground where the "free range" squashes fell over the boxes.  Either way, in hot summers you will have to mulch to keep from losing too much moisture to evaporation.  I have 6" spaced drip lines for all boxes and containers / pots.

Two summers ago, I grew a determinant Roma in a corner square and it grew 8-10' tall and had successive tomatoes through out the season.  I kept the suckers pruned except for 2 which I treated like separate plants, supporting them on their own stakes at the lower part of the stems then tied with stretchy green tape to overhead structure for the upper part of the stems.  Over 8 feet, they just grew wild as I couldn't reach them easily for pruning.

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Re: caging determinate tomatoes and zucchini?

Post  plantoid on 2/7/2015, 4:38 am

My experience is similar , though I used 7 foot long plastic coated hollow steel posts to make a circle around the bed and used soft thick nylon cord to make the boundaries &  criss-crossed it across the circle to stop plants swaying about if it got windy . It looks pretty / pretty awful Wink  when you use a snow white cord . a few plants suffered friction burns form the cords but nothing too drastic

  Like has been said the pruning and any hand pollinating you may chose to do takes a bit more care and accuracy ,  I chopped off several  wanted main stems by accident . It could be that the nine plants I had in my corral were too many  .

 You may also  have a bit of difficulty stretching /reaching  in to pick up the stripped fallen leaves .
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Re: caging determinate tomatoes and zucchini?

Post  quiltbea on 2/7/2015, 11:19 am

I don't prune my determinates.  I let them grow naturally and await their harvest time.
Probably growing in Maine makes a big difference.  I don't get gigantic plants here.  No time and no warmth for it.
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Re: caging determinate tomatoes and zucchini?

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 2/7/2015, 11:35 am

In a hot summer climate like we have here, the tomatoes will sometimes take a hiatus in the heat of the summer and start producing again in the fall.  Often I have fully loaded, but still green tomatoes at the first frost.  It's a good plan to prune all the tips of your tomato plants 6-8 weeks before your expected frost date so that they put their effort into ripening the fruit rather than continued growth.
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Re: caging determinate tomatoes and zucchini?

Post  sanderson on 2/7/2015, 11:49 am

Yes, I forgot the tomatoes take a heat break.

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