The tomato trellis system that was featured in a video last summer has received lots of interest and many questions about how well it worked out, so today I want to offer another update on the results that I experienced last season.
First of all I can tell you that I’m definitely sticking with the tomato trellis and it worked far better than any tomato cage, stakes, tomato weaving system, or other training method that I have seen or tried out. There are a few modifications that I’ll make this year but they are totally optional and we’ll get to them a little later in this article. But first, if you haven’t watched the original tomato trellis system video take a minute to view it now before we continue with this update…
Here is what I loved about the new tomato trellis system:
- Easy Setup – The only tools needed were something to drive the fence posts into the ground and a pair of pliers or wire cutters. Grab the tallest metal fence posts that you can find along with a spool of galvanized wire.
- Reusable – You’ll be able to reuse the fence posts year after year and with a little care even the wire can be saved and reused. As far as storing the trellis during the off season, it takes up no space compared to a dozen tomato cages and the posts are actually durable enough to be left right in the garden if desired.
- Great Support – My tomatoes loved the trellising system and had no problem staying upright and growing tall. Once they reached the top strand of wire they could grow along it horizontally or drape back down towards the ground.
- Clean Harvest – The fruit was kept up off of the ground, away from slugs, and made things a breeze at harvest time. It was also easy to spot the tomatoes as they ripened without loosing them in the plant’s foliage.
- Simple Removal – At the end of tomato season it was easy to unclip the spent vines, roll up the wire, and pull the fence posts to make way for fall vegetable crops.
Here’s what I didn’t like about the new tomato trellis system:
Fine Tuning the Tomato Trellis the Second Time Around
Okay, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, there are a few things that I’m doing differently this season. I’m using a 20 gauge, four-strand braided style of wire this time around and it seems a bit easier to work with. Last season I just wrapped the wire tightly around the posts, this year I’m using eye bolts and nuts to secure the wire to the end posts. And along the row I’m simply running the wire through the holes or cutouts that are prefabricated into the metal posts.
I did get a small amount of sagging as the tomato vines grew last time around, so these changes should help in that area and also provide a way to adjust the tension along the line if necessary. I also received feedback from others who use some type of stake and line setup to brace the end-posts, it can help to include that additional tension support but I’m not going to bother with it on my own trellis.
I’m also changing up with the type of mulch that I am using on the tomatoes this time around. Rather then a thick layer of straw, I decided to use the red plastic mulch that is reported to increase the production of tomato plants. All of these modifications are minor and the tomato trellis will work fine either way.
The Final Verdict on My Favorite Method of Taming Tomato Vines
What’s the ultimate proof of how much I love the new tomato trellis system? How about this… I’m finding other uses for the same technique in various parts of the garden! Venture over to the blackberry bed and you’ll find a tidy patch, thanks to a familiar looking system of posts, wires, and clips. Check out the asparagus ferns and you’ll notice some inconspicuous support keeping the ferns upright and contained.
So if you’ve been wondering how the tomato trellis system worked out for me, now you know. It gets a big seal of approval and high recommendations from the Veggie Gardening Tips heirloom tomatoes and they are looking forward another boost up this summer! Please let us know how it works in your own garden if you try this technique for yourself, or if you have your own modifications to make it even better.
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