Tomato Trellis

This year, I’m trying out a new location for growing my tomatoes. (Assuming the weather warms up, and they actually grow!) Last year, I staked them in the garden bed in the backyard, where they didn’t do very well at all. I think the problem was mostly the crummy weather we had — gray and foggy most of the summer — but also the brief window of direct sun they got on the rare sunny days. The backyard garden bed has a tall wall to the east, and the house to the west, and really only gets good sun from around 11am til about 4pm.

The front part of the front yard gets sun from early morning til late afternoon. So, I decided to till up a small section in the far corner of the front yard, near the fence, and plant a couple of tomatoes to see how they like it. I blogged about the work that went into this set up earlier.

Tomatoes, enjoying the afternoon sun.

The little guy on the far right gets some late afternoon shade from the street tree, which may be problematic. But it’s a little Supersweet 100, so maybe it’ll just grow taller.

You’ll also probably notice that I planted them a bit closer together than is usually recommended. Instead of the usual 36″ apart, I went with just under 24″. The reason for this is that I wanted them all to get as much sunlight as possible. And I intended to build a trellis system to train them up.

We built the trellis yesterday. I got the plans from the folks over at Vegetable Gardener. I had to make a few adjustments to the list of lumber pieces, as our Home Depot didn’t have the needed lengths in the right sizes. And I didn’t go with the suggested hard wood or treated lumber options, as I’m still not sure if this will be something I’ll use again. Instead, I went with the less expensive pine studs, and will just keep my eye on how it holds up over the summer.

Cutting the lumber.

Thankfully, a good friend has been keeping his table saw at our house. It sure does come in handy!

Laying out the pieces to screw together.

Finished A-Frame.

Helping the top cross piece into its groove.

Getting the bottom cross piece settled in.

Once the frame was put together and positioned where I wanted it, it was time to tie on the strings. I placed these every 12″, but if that doesn’t seem like enough, I can go back in and add another set between them to give more support.

All ready to grow!

You’ll notice there’s more room on the trellis on the right. I intend to clear off those rocks and soften the clay with some compost and soil, but not sure what I’m going to add there. I’m contemplating whether to insert another tomato, or maybe a cucumber. I’ll probably decide sometime this week, depending on which seedlings look hearty enough to go out.

Have you ever grown tomatoes on a vertical trellis? How’d it work out for you?


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