Of all the plants I grow on my farm, I’m most successful with the tomato. Lucky for me, when this hobby of mine was really taking off, we had the best summer for growing tomatoes we’ve had in ages and they pretty much grew on auto pilot. The taste of that success got me hooked and I have since been dialing in my tomato-growing techniques.
As an artist, the appearance of my garden is important to me…except when it comes to my tomatoes. I put their needs in front of my own and keep ’em covered for as long as I can. The cloche frame looks alright, I guess, besides the unsightly pile of excess plastic that hangs off the side of the cloche that must expand as the tomatoes grow.
But now, as the plastic drapes over the fence posts that make up my new trellis, things are really looking unsightly. The plastic eyesore in the middle of my farm is as tall as me. It must be done though. Eighty pounds of tomatoes in Seattle don’t come easy. And for those flavorful gems, I’m totally willing to put my artsy inclination to the side. In this case, the tomatoes win.
I have experimented with all sorts of trellises, from weaving them up through a “wall” of netting to caging them in square tomato towers. I’ve tried the “tie a string to the base of the plant and train them to grow up the string” method and am now trying my hand at the Florida Weave. And as you’ll see in my video today, in my premature attempt at this system, I can tell it’s going to be a keeper. For folks growing as intensively as I am, this method is inexpensive and efficient.
Like all things, this method isn’t perfect. I can already see a few problems I’m going to have to solve. For example, I’ve got indeterminate (vining) and determinate (bush) tomatoes mixed together in the same rows, which won’t need the same type of support. I’ll work around them and weave the ones that do. Or what about the few empty spaces that will soon be filled with the tomatillos I’ve got started downstairs? They’ll need support at different places and different times then the ones already in the bed. Eh! I’ll work around them. If it means putting another level of twine around the existing, already-trellised plants, I’ll do it. There’s nothing I can’t work around.