Week 17 For Tomatoes

 Do Tomatoes Need A Trellis


Week 17 is April 26 - May 2 in 2010

Tomatoes not need to grow on a trellis. They’re perfectly happy  to crawl over the surface of the soil. That’s how many commercial growers do it.  However, when allowed to sprawl depending on the variety,  one tomato plant may take up as much as 12 to 15 ft.² of growing space. When grown on a trellis, it will take up only 2 to 3 ft.² of  garden real estate. I prefer to trellis my tomatoes.  Tomatoes that are grown off the ground are clean and avoid problems such as soil rot and bug and slug damage. The leaves of vertically grown plants get more exposure to the sun, and  improved air circulation around a vertical crop reduces the chances of disease. Also vertically grown crops dry off faster after a heavy dew or  rain, and this further reduces disease problems.

Homemade trellis vs. commercial options

If you’re handy you can make a perfectly good tomato trellis yourself. You can find all sorts of design ideas on Google. Some folks just drive long wooden stakes into the ground and tie up the plant as it grows. The mistake tomato gardeners sometimes make is to construct a trellis that works just fine early in the season, but when the plant is loaded with tomatoes, it collapses.

I am perfectly happy with the wire devices sold at the garden center. I’ll pay a little extra to get the heavy duty models.  Whether using the light weight or heavy duty models    I always use a sturdy wooden stake or a piece of iron re-bar attached to the metal cage to ensure my tomatoes will remain standing after that inevitable windy day in September.

Gardeners Supply Company offers a great selection of tomato trellises.

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