Thursday, October 13, 2016

Trellising Tomatoes...

I'm not even sure trellising is actually a verb.
After working at the farm last year, 
it definitely feels like an action word.

In years past, we had lost a large percentage of our harvest. 
The loss was due to the fact that the weight
of the tomatoes actually bent the vines down. 
The vines then grew along the ground
and produced more tomato fruit. 
The result was the tomatoes that touched
the ground went bad very fast. 
After all of the effort in growing the seedlings
and tending to them in the garden beds,
to see them go bad was heartbreaking.

While I wasn't the person who actually did the trellis work at the farm,
I understood the principle behind it.

With that knowledge, I felt better equipped this year.
My husband and I do not spend money on our garden.
We get the majority of garden-related stuff by donation or trading.
When I suggested we invest in metal T bars this year
it took a bit to convince the husband.

"It is an investment!"
"They will last for a very long time!"
"They are reusable!"

These were just a few of the sales pitches I tried out.

In the end, he relented and we purchased the T bars.

Luckily it wasn't the sort of thing we had to buy right away!
We planted our tomato seedlings at the beginning of June.

It took a few weeks for them to be tall enough for us to work with.

We hammered in the T bars at the end of each row of tomato plants.

(There are two rows of tomato plants in the bed shown above.)

Then the REAL fun begins!

Next we grabbed some baling twine.

We started at a spot that is near the bottom of the T bar.
Tie off one end and go around the inside of the first plant,
then outside of the next plant,
and so on...until to reach the end of the bed.

We tied off the twine at the other end just in case.

Then we came back to the beginning,
reversing the direction of the twine for each plant.

We had to grab the odd vine that was growing this way and that.

What you are left with is a great way to keep the tomatoes
standing tall without strangling the life out of the vines.

For the record, we've never seen the walkways look so great!
You can even see the recycled water jugs we use.

Cut the bottom off of a jig and
plant the spout end in the ground.
Its like a funnel right to the roots!

This method works best if you organize the jugs as
you plant the seedlings.

It also works best if you place the jugs between
the plant and the walkway...rather than beside the plant.
(we discovered that placing the jug beside the plant
results in losing the jug in the jungle of tomato plants)

It might be difficult to see in the above picture...
But our tomato plants are up to my shoulder!

Our tomatoes thrived this year!
Our walkways were clear enough that we could access
all of the plants for watering.
We also had way less loss due to mould.

Almost none of our plants had vines or
fruit which touched the ground!

The results speak for themselves in this instance.

Perfect tomatoes!