The Dirt Diva

Tailoring your garden to your needs!

Tyin’ tomatoes

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A-frame tomato trellis

Trellising tomatoes is kind of an art. I’ve seen all kinds of ways folks keep their tomato plants upright, from the sturdy metal cage to more sculptural folk art- type methods involving several stakes, string and wire. The tomato plant evolved as a sprawling vine, so it needs to be tied to keep it upright. With trellising, the intent is to keep the branches and fruits off the ground where they pick up insect bites and rot. I prefer the method in the photo, making a series of A frames in a row, to which I tie the tomatoes right to the “legs” of the frame. Alternately, I’ll run twine from the horizontal cross piece down to the ground, where I begin twining the plant around as soon as it starts getting tall.

tied tomatoes close up

These little guys are tied directly to the legs with strips of an old sheet. I like using strips of cloth because they don’t cut into the tomato’s stem as the plant grows and pulls against its ties. A tomato plant mid August resembles kind of a multi-armed sea beast loaded with fruit, and the gardener has to stay on top of tying in order to keep branches from breaking under this load! ¬†Another cool method if you have long rows of tomato plants is the “Florida weave”. The Hudson Valley Seed Library site describes this method in a bit more detail. I learned this method working on a vegetable farm one summer- it was a revelation! Its kind of fun once you get the hang of it, and you’ll be rewarded come harvest time. Your fruits will be clean and easy to pick, and your plants will be more productive.

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