Here’s how you can improve production and increase usable space using trellising net!
One of the effective and long practiced gardening techniques which not only keeps your plants off the ground, but also helps in improving production as well as increasing your garden space is trellising fruits and vegetables using trellising net. It is quite helpful in protecting your harvest, especially tomatoes from rotting. There are a lot of trellising options available; however, the trick is to figure out and build the most practical one based on your requirement.
Majority of the tomato varieties are seen to benefit from the strong support provided by tomato trellis. The best way to keep these unruly plants in order however depends on the tomato variety that you have at your end and its growth patterns.
If you have the determinate tomatoes variety, which grow to a fixed size and the fruit ripens in a short span of time, they will benefit if you give them a little boost off the ground using tomato stakes or cages. The indeterminate variety of tomatoes grows the entire season till the plant is eventually killed by frost. This variety of tomatoes thrives well on a trellis system.
How to Stake Tomatoes
- In order to stake tomatoes, you should use metal posts or wooden stakes of around one inch. However, avoid using treated wood. Select stakes which are at least 4 feet in height for your determinate variety of tomatoes. For your indeterminate variety of tomatoes, you may use stakes of around 5-7 feet tall.
- You must set the tomatoes at around 2-3 feet apart and stake them when your plants are still young.
- You should drive the post at least around one foot into the soil at approximately 3-4 inches away from the tomato plant.
- Then you need to tie the plant loosely to the stake using sections of ribbon, old nylons, or soft twine. Later in the season, you may have to bind the branches if they become unruly. But at the initial stage, you should tie it loose so that you do not end up bruising the young stems.
While trellising your tomatoes may seem like a lot of work, the final outcome is worth the effort for sure.
The indeterminate variety of tomatoes often reaches great heights in warmer climates, thereby making them unmanageable. When you do trellising using trellising net, it controls the branches and allows sunlight to penetrate through them to reach the plant and keep the fruits clean. Additionally, trellising helps you to plant closer thereby effectively using space.
One of the Simplest Trellising System
One of the simplest trellising systems is done by using uprights which are fastened together with the help of a top support bar in the following manner:
- You need to drop the garden twine from the horizontal support and then stake it next to every plant, so that the tomatoes are able to take the help of the string for support.
- The climate of your area determines how large your tomato plants are going to grow. However, you may use 2”X2” wooden stakes of around 6-8 inches in height for your uprights.
- Sharpen the uprights at the bottom and then drive them at least one to two feet into the ground at around 5 feet apart. The deeper you drive the uprights the better it is for the plant.
- The next step is to place a 2”X2” horizontal bar across the top. Screw this to the upright. You may pre-drill a small hole in each of the upright in order to prevent them from splitting.
- Now attach a garden twine above each plant by setting it roughly at around one foot apart. Keep the string loose and you must stake it next to every plant.
- As the tomato plants grow, you should loop the string around the branches or lightly tie the plant to the vertical twine.
- Pruning your determinate tomato variety isn’t a necessity. However, if you remove the extra shoots it will improve your tomato production.
- The indeterminate variety of tomatoes needs more guidance. You should improve the main stem by removing the suckers from the side and maintain the side branches to reach a productive length. If the tomato plant outgrows the trellis, you can pinch off the main stem above the flowers.
The benefits of using trellising net are not just limited to tomatoes. You can also train your other crops to grow vertically as against allowing them to sprawl all over your garden. This not only keeps your produce off the ground but it also allows your plant to grow in a relatively smaller area.
A lot of people do not think about training their other vegetables and fruits such as zucchini, small melons, or cucumbers to grow using a trellising net. However, they find it later quite disappointing when they locate a rotten fruit at the bottom where it sat on the ground. If you elevate the fruit well above the ground, it will prevent them from decaying and also make harvesting and weeding a tad easier.
While the initial effort of trellising your vegetables or fruits may seem like a lot of effort, especially when you are busy with your other farming chores in spring, but the harvesting time comes, you will be glad that you took the pains.