Trick Tomato Trellis Systems
Every year, I try to keep my tomatoes up off of the ground by installing a trellis system in advance of the tomatoes needing to be trellised. My usual system is the "post and twine" system in which 2 inch posts are pounded into the ground using a stake pounder at 10 foot intervals and then wrapping/weaving the twine around the poles at 10 inch vertical intervals. It works pretty well and I am not unhappy with it. However, the downside is that the cotton jute that I prefer to use because it is compostable stretches, sags and becomes brittle as you go through the summer. The plastic twine that most "growers" use works better but it has to be disposed of in the landfill since it isn't recyclable or compostable. This year, as an alternative to trellising, I planted a compact determinate variety of tomato from Johnny's selected seed called BHN-444. I chose it partly to being determinate and partly because it was resistant to Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus, which devastated my crop last year. It is producing beautiful, large red globe like tomatoes with excellent flavor. (Okay, maybe not as good as some of the heirloom varieties but at least I have a crop!)
But back to trellising....one of the best sites I have seen that identifies to pros and cons and relative costs to a variety of trellising system is one done by the Santa Clara County Master Gardeners. They have tried a number of trellising systems over the years at their demonstration garden. Their reviews will help you better select a trellising system that works for you. For details go to: http://www.mastergardeners.org/picks/tomato_staking.html
Share your tomato trellising stories by sharing us your comments on this blog. And Special Thanks to the Santa Clara County Master Gardeners for their great work!!!