BUILD YOUR OWN DAMN TOMATO TRELLIS

Our preferred  method of keeping tomatoes off the ground is string trellising. This is a great method for those that want to have multiple different varieties but have limited space availability. It requires a bit of maintenance but it does make for a well organized plant that is easy to work with.

The process involves training the tomato plants to a designated number of “leaders” - usually one to four. For the home garden, four would work quite well. “Leaders” are the main shoot of the plant (leader # 1) and then additional leaders are suckers. 

Tip - wait until a sucker presents that is close in size to the main leader.  In red, is the original leader and then, in the crotch of a leaf branch, a sucker grew and became the second leader. In this case, all other leaders will be removed. 

Tip - wait until a sucker presents that is close in size to the main leader.  In red, is the original leader and then, in the crotch of a leaf branch, a sucker grew and became the second leader. In this case, all other leaders will be removed. 

To tie them up, regular twine works great and can be bought at any garden center or hardware store. The knot used at the bottom is a bowline know. It forms a loop that won’t tighten even when pulled. Consult the internet to learn about a bowline. Other knots would certainly work too as long as they allow the stem to grow. The twine is then tied to something on the top such as a tall post, or a DIY structure of your choice. 

BAMBOO TRELLIS INSTRUCTIONS

1. Bring home at least a dozen bamboo poles 6-7 foot lengths. (depending on how many plants you have)
2. Using a trowel, dig a hole. Drive the bamboo stake into the hole. Make another hole opposite the first, about 4-5 feet away, and drive a stake into it. 
3. The bamboo poles should come together like a teepee. Wrap twine around the two poles where they meet at the top. Repeat this process to create 2 more teepees. Leave about 4 feet between each teepee.
4. Then place the last bamboo pole across the top of the structure in the “V” created where the poles meet, connecting all the teepees together.
5. Tie twine from one pole to the next along each side. Leaving about 12 inches between each line, continue up the teepee structure. You should have about 3 or 4 lines strung up by the end. This reinforces the structure and adds support for the tomato plants as they grow and climb.

* Instructions adapted from the following article.
Many thanks to French Lake Farmer for their growing expertise and help with this post!