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Tomatoes and Trellis issues

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Tomatoes and Trellis issues

Post  jczimmerman on 5/20/2010, 10:17 am

Hello everyone - new to the forums and to SFG!

This is our first SFG year, and I just got done with filling our boxes. Unfortunately my wife did not read the SFG book, and she's the one who is home tending the garden and preparing the plants, etc. So she planted lots and lots of seeds, and didn't prune them early. We have tons of little plants, growing in little pots all over the house.

We made 4 nice 4x4 boxes, and before I got home from work my wife planted cucumber plants on all 16 "North" squares, and also the three "East squares. So 2 sides of each box are filled with cucumbers. I'm planning building the trellises from conduit for the north side of each box. I don't know what I am going to do for the "east" cucumbers. Any ideas?

Second question - it looks like I will have to build more boxes for the tomatoes. Anyone make bigger boxes, like 2 x 6 or 2 x 8, and put the tomatoes up there? It seems a waste to make more 4x4 because we don't have anymore plants that really need full sun. We do have a 4 ft chain link fence, but it is on the east side of the yard. If you use bigger boxes how do you trellis them?

Last note - when Alicia planted the tomatoes in pots, she did not save the seed pack. She has no idea if they are vining or bush type. Can bush type be tied up to the trellis and "trained" to climb up?

Thanks SOO much in advance for the help. It's really cool to find such a friendly and responsive group of fellow gardeners!



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Re: Tomatoes and Trellis issues

Post  Retired Member 1 on 5/20/2010, 5:38 pm

Welcome! Oh my. You are certainly going to have a bumper crop of cukes! Don't want to come between a husband and wife, but if I read this right you will have 28 squares of cukes? If that is correct, might I suggest you pull some up as you will be innundated with them. In an ornamental 4x4 bed I trellised two sides with conduit -- just like in the book and it is working fine. It might be a bit dicey to pick the cukes on the inside, but you should be able to reach over.

My veggie vining bed is 2x14' with a trellis running down the long side. Then in front I have shorter veggies -- peppers, eggplant and such. You could make on just 1 x ?? if you only wanted it for tomatoes. Again, you can make the conduit trellis and ziptie sections together. I used T posts and cattle panel because that is what I had.

As to tomatoes. Does your wife remember the names of the tomatoes? If so you can look them up on the internet to find out if they are vining or not. Determinate do not vine, so even if you put them next to the trellis, there's nothing you can do to make them climb, and they need at least 2' of room on a side.

Good luck and remember that surprises can really be fun -- like the year my okra grew to 8' and I had to use a step ladder to harvest it!

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Re: Tomatoes and Trellis issues

Post  jczimmerman on 5/21/2010, 2:12 pm

Hi Belfrybat, thanks for the nice reply.

As to your statement below -
<< If that is correct, might I suggest you pull some up as you will be innundated with them>>

Your math is correct. I'm not sure you understand, my wife is Italian and she never does anything small!! She *wants* to be inundated with these cukes - they are the small size and she cans them into dill pickles which "everyone" loves. She is sick of paying $8 a peck or whatever she has to pay for the 2 weeks in the summer when they are out. I hope she follows through with the hundreds of cukes that we will get!

thanks for the other tips too. Last night I made 2 2x8 boxes. I'm going to put one in the shady area by our deck and dedicate to lettuce and plants that like it a bit cooler and shadier. The other will go in the backyard in full sun. I think there are enough other plants that we could pick out to use up the front squares in the tomato boxes. I will make 2 4 ft trellises per the book, and zip tie them together for the back.

She says she does not remember at all what kind she planted so we may be in trouble. maybe I'll keep the front squares of the tomato box empty and not build the trellises until we see what we've got. Mistake made, lesson learned,we'll do it right next year!


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Re: Tomatoes and Trellis issues

Post  Retired Member 1 on 5/21/2010, 5:36 pm

Ah, no such thing as mistakes -- just opportunities for learning! You might want to consider planting the tomatoes close to the edge and 1-1/2 ft. apart instead of one foot, and then something fairly quick maturing in front in case the tomatoes end up being bush. If you end up with vining tomatoes, having them 18" apart means you can let more suckers grow and get a larger harvest per plant.

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Re: Tomatoes and Trellis issues

Post  WardinWake on 5/21/2010, 6:39 pm


My wife did that too! I said honey, "Make sure you write the variety name along with the plant type". "OK, she said. All of her markers read, "tomato" or "bean" or "cucumber". So we have 3 different varieties of "unknown" tomatoes and several "we will have to wait and see" cucumbers along with "potatoes".
Even that little bit of info is lost as we also used non-permanent markers for writhing. The first rain...

If nothing, gardening is an adventure.

Our tomatoes are on the north side of two 2 X 8 SFG's placed in an L shape with smaller non-climbing plants on the front sides.

God Bless, Ward and Mary.


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Re: Tomatoes and Trellis issues

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