The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

String tomato trellis

String tomato trellis

The second project I'm itching to try out this year is training tomatoes onto a string trellis.  As long-time readers know, fungi thrive in our wet climate and we're always battling blight on tomatoes.  We already stake carefully and prune heavily, but Kimball's idea of separating out the three stems to each be supported by one vertical line is a very good one.  Since we have some space below our new grape/kiwi trellis this year, I'll try two or three tomatoes there using Kimball's string method, and may also experiment with adding additional supports for my other tomatoes so I can separate out their three stems more carefully as well.  (In the past, I've trained to three stems, but have tied them all to one stake.)

While I'm talking trellising, I should add that The Planet Whizbang Idea Book for Gardeners is full of trellises and other structures based on t-posts.  I have a feeling that Kimball loves t-posts as much as Mark loves 5-gallon buckets, so if you have an equal affinity for the lowly t-post, you should definitely give his book a try.  You'll find t-posts turned into grape trellises, pea trellises, hops supports, bird feeder supports, and much more.

This post is part of our Idea Book for Gardeners lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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We tried the string trellises one year. We had two problems with them. First, they were a lot of work--the tomatoes wouldn't climb the string trellises naturally but needed the gardeners help to make it up the trellises. Second, we live in a high wind area of Virginia. We had many problems with trellises being knocked down, or tomatoes being pulled off of the trellises by the winds.

As I recall, our entire string trellis project was a loss, and the only thing we managed to recover were some of the tomatoes that grew across the ground.

In other words, YMMV.

Comment by Dan Wed Mar 19 14:44:55 2014
Keep us posted on how it works and if it ends up in looking like a strip of light bulbs. :)
Comment by Maggie Wed Mar 19 15:02:45 2014

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