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

Training tomatoes on a string trellis

String tomato trellis

Remember my string tomato trellis?  (Here's a photo on planting day.)  The tomato plants are big enough now that I can give you a bit of data on how the new training method is working out.

The instructions in The Planet Whizbang Idea Book for Gardeners tell you to space the vertical strings six inches apart, but I put mine more like 18 inches apart since I wanted to give my tomatoes plenty of air flow for fungal reasons.  As a result, I had to tweak the design further when the time came to twine the side shoots around their strings --- the strings were too far away for the branches to reach, but I didn't want to wait any longer to tie the tomatoes up.  So I simply slid the bottom part of the two side strings closer to the main trunk, turning the three strings I use for a single tomato into a bit of a W shape instead of a series of vertical lines.

Other than that, training the tomatoes has gone quite smoothly.  I gently twine the stems around their strings whenever I think of it, snipping off extra sprouts at the same time, and I think the process is really easier than my usual method of tying each tomato to a post at intervals.  On the other hand, setting up the trellis would have been a lot more work if I hadn't had a soon-to-be grape trellis handy to work with, so I probably won't expand the string trellis to cover all of our tomato plants in future years.

Growing tomatoes

In other tomato-related news, the sunny microclimate in front of the trailer is definitely doing its job at speeding along our first tomatoes. Both the roma Daddy started inside very early and the Stupice that I started inside at the end of February have big fruits that are at least a week or two ahead of the fruits on our main planting.  Maybe we'll be eating ripe tomatoes before the end of June?

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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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I harvested the first cherry tomato this morning from my simple greenhouse. It was amazing.
Comment by Eric in Japan Fri Jun 6 08:37:30 2014

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