Friday, June 13, 2014

Dream Big - Extending My Tomato Trellis

Trellis needs to be taller.
The time has come to extend my tomato trellis. The vines are 6 feet tall and it's only June. These are indeterminate tomatoes and their trellis is a simple one, but it needs to be taller. I'm dreamin' big.
Extended trellis gives room to grow.
I started my trellis by simply pounding 4 stakes in the ground and adding rows of wire spaced approximately every 6 inches. I use 7 ft metal garden stakes with the "T" at the bottom for stability. They have knobs spaced 6 inches apart and I wrap the wire tightly enough that the knobs prevent the wire from sliding down the stake. I was careful to make the tops of the stakes level so the wire is level which makes it look nicer.

Early in the season I start at the bottom and add a few rows of wire, then as the vines grow, I add more wire. I find spacing the wire 6 inches apart allows great support but also easy access to those huge tomatoes I plan to be picking. 
April 2014
At each end of the trellis, two stakes are placed about 12 inches apart so that after the wire is placed, there is a long cage one foot deep. In this space are two tomato plants. The trellis is about 5 feet long. 

For added stability I tie guide wires from the stakes to the raised beds.

Every few days I go along and push the new growth under the wire to keep it controlled.
Vines poking out
Vines controlled.
That's a fun little chore because it's amazing to see how fast they grow!

The problem with this trellis is that it is too short. It is not as tall as my other tomato and bean trellis which is made of wood. We are at the point in the season where I need to add extensions. Last year my tomato vines grew to 9 ft tall.
Summer 2013, with my tomatoes and sunflowers
This year I decided that I would extend the trellis to around 9 ft high. To do this I added some round garden poles which are 8 ft long. To make them the same height, I marked each pole 3 ft from the top. This mark will line up with the top of the metal stakes.

I wrapped wire tightly around the stake and pole to hold them together. 

Next I will string the wire at 6 inch intervals. Now they have room to grow.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful, detailed, helpful advice. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Cant wait to read more of your articles.