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Trellising a Long SFG bed

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Trellising a Long SFG bed

Post  CarolynPhillips on 10/5/2010, 12:42 pm

Trellising a Long SFG bed.

I cannot remember which topic several of us were talking about
trellising a long 4foot wide bed and how difficult it was to harvest from the trellis and that
(I)(ya'll) we were not thinking when we made the long beds with a long trellis.

Why not put the trellis down the very center of the long bed. Grow small plants on
each side of the trellis. You could put more Heat and Sun sensitive plants on the side
that gets the most shade.......Impatiens, radishes, lettuce, squash etc.....
Of course it would mess up those pretty little perfect 4x4 ( or 3x3) square grids but it does get the job done.

As for the 4ft wide long beds down an existing wall-----haven't figured that one out---except just growing bedding flowers on the back side for less maintenance and putting trellises on the ends.
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Re: Trellising a Long SFG bed

Post  Squat_Johnson on 10/5/2010, 2:56 pm

When I did 4 x 24' beds, I put a trellis every other 4' section, so I can reach around the side. It works pretty well.
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Re: Trellising a Long SFG bed

Post  acara on 10/5/2010, 6:17 pm

Kinda scary .... I was working on the same challenge this morning.

I was trying to work out a solution to put all my spring tomatoes in one box & was trying to come up with a "long-box" solution (then Boffer had to post that "wicking box" topic & now I'm redesigning from scratch ...LOL).

I intend to grow all large heirlooms (Amana, Big-Rainbow, Black Crimson, Zogola, Green Zebra & Cherokee Chocolate), so I'll need something more robust than the Frankenstein Box.

I came up with one conclusion ..... anything 4' wide & over 4' long wasn't going to work if your doing a 100% vertical plant/grow with heavy (weight) bearing plants.

I came up with a couple of possible solutions, which all revolved around a 2' wide box ...




Solution "A"; Plant Tomatoes in the green squares & marigolds (or another pest deterent, or something low) in the blue squares & install classic flat trellis to the edge of the box.

Solution "B"; Plant tomatoes in all squares, but use "Florida Weave" trellis method with the trellis runs parallel to the 2' dimension.




I had to short-span the trellis due to the anticipate load for the larger tomato varieties & I'm planning on building the trellis poles with the mounting support and first 12" above the edge of box as straight pipe, then a 45-degree bend, then a 5' section of straight pipe.
This would give a "Y" shape to the trellis arms & allow for sprawling width, without changing the footprint of the box. It also makes a good attachment point/frameworkfor a cover, sunscreen or pest/bird netting.

Of course now I have to figure out how to do this AND incorporate the "wicking" process Rolling Eyes

On second thought .... maybe I'm sticking with my DIG micro-irrigation system on a timer...LOL

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Re: Trellising a Long SFG bed

Post  boffer on 10/5/2010, 6:31 pm

When it comes to growing lots of big red tomatoes, I can only dream about being in your league. But, why wouldn't a T post on each end, connected with clotheslines, and dangling training cords work?
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Re: Trellising a Long SFG bed

Post  acara on 10/5/2010, 7:57 pm

@boffer wrote:When it comes to growing lots of big red tomatoes, I can only dream about being in your league. But, why wouldn't a T post on each end, connected with clotheslines, and dangling training cords work?

Distributed weight/lineal foot is what kills you on that. Unsupported, on a 10' run, your PSI/PSL would cause "sag" (a.k.a. deflection) on anything under bout 9" centers on the support wire spacing.
The cost of materials would kill your budget on anything that would support that kind of weight over a "long span" (anything over 4')

Spanning the short dimension is the only way I was able to accomodate the anticipated weight/load on a long-box. If your growing something with smaller fruit/veggy (like beans) ....you could probably get away with it on a 10' unsupported span.


Last edited by acara on 10/5/2010, 8:01 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Trellising a Long SFG bed

Post  Megan on 10/5/2010, 8:00 pm

Only input I can provide is that having parallel trellises like your Solution B, each 4 feet long and 4 feet apart, didn't really play well in my SFG. I thought they would be far apart enough, but I had several issues with it:

First, they grew into each other despite the spacing (not a big deal if it's just one crop, I guess).

Second, I had trouble reaching. I am 6 feet tall with long arms, and my trellises were 6.5 ft high (I wanted to go higher but then thought better of it), and I still had trouble reaching to the middle of those trellises because I didn't want to step on my Mel's mix. If your boxes are only 2 feet deep this might not be so great a problem.

Third, I had some shading issues. Though my whole garden plan was a bit weird because it was on the north side of the house.


Last edited by Megan on 10/5/2010, 11:14 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Fix typo.)
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tomato boxes

Post  ander217 on 10/5/2010, 8:17 pm

Our setup may not be what you're looking for, but here is what we did for our tomatoes.

Our garden is 35' wide, including a 3' gate in the center. We made four 1' x 8' boxes and put two of them end-to-end on each side of the gate, next to our hog panel garden fence. We planted our tomatoes in two of those boxes. We made the conduit trellis mostly as Mel suggested, but we tied our strings from the top of the trellises to the top of the hog panels, and threaded our plants through the fence until they reached the strings. We set the rebar and upright trellis supports every four feet, then joined them across the top with four foot lengths of rebar. Instead of using the more expensive t-connectors we used electrical boxes to connect them across the top. I posted a photo of our set-up back in the spring. Someone later posted a set-up that was even more economical.

You could do the same thing with 2' wide boxes. It just worked better for our garden to use 1' boxes.
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Re: Trellising a Long SFG bed

Post  acara on 10/5/2010, 11:08 pm

@Megan wrote:
Second, I had trouble reaching. I am 6 feet tall with long arms, and my trellises were 6.5 ft high (I wanted to go higher but then thought better of it), and I still had trouble reaching to the middle of those trellises because I didn't want to step on my Mel's mix. If your boxes are only 2 feet deep this might not be so great a problem.


Current box build has a 4' wide outrigger trellis on the back of third row & I agree it's an uncomfortable stretch.

Also had same experience with heights ... SFG box trellis is 80" at top & I'm topping off growth at the top of the trellis to avoid a "Stanley" situation. The novelty of a 8'+ plant wore off about the 3rd time I had to haul out the ladder to trim/trellis .....lesson learned.

The 2' wide box should be accessible, based on a 18" reach (elbow to fingertip) ....assuming access from both sides.
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Re: Trellising a Long SFG bed

Post  Megan on 10/5/2010, 11:13 pm

@acara wrote:
@Megan wrote:
Second, I had trouble reaching. I am 6 feet tall with long arms, and my trellises were 6.5 ft high (I wanted to go higher but then thought better of it), and I still had trouble reaching to the middle of those trellises because I didn't want to step on my Mel's mix. If your boxes are only 2 feet deep this might not be so great a problem.


Current box build has a 4' wide outrigger trellis on the back of third row & I agree it's an uncomfortable stretch.

Also had same experience with heights ... SFG box trellis is 80" at top & I'm topping off growth at the top of the trellis to avoid a "Stanley" situation. The novelty of a 8'+ plant wore off about the 3rd time I had to haul out the ladder to trim/trellis .....lesson learned.

The 2' wide box should be accessible, based on a 18" reach (elbow to fingertip) ....assuming access from both sides.

That's assuming you top them off. My pole beans went well beyond 2 feet over the top of the trellis before gravity finally brought them back down again...then, they were only 18" over top of the trellis..... Shocked

Plant exuberance is such a joy! Very Happy
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