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Tomato support review

By Penny Stine

I started all my tomato plants from seed this year, and I think I'm growing at least eight different kinds of tomatoes. My goal was to grow enough of my own to can so I wouldn't have to go buy any from Rettig Farms in East Orchard Mesa. Although, really, the farmers at Rettig are perfectly lovely people and their prices for U-pick are beyond reasonable (last year, I think they charged $11 for a bushel), so a sane person would wonder why I bother.
But my fellow gardeners (who probably aren't quite sane, either) know that there is nothing like picking YOUR OWN TOMATO from a plant IN YOUR YARD that you have watched grow from tiny seedling to big, honking plant knocking over the cage.
Before I wander too far away from the point... thanks to the boatloads of plants that I'm growing, I decided to try different types of tomato plant supports. I've got two trellises that my wonderful husband built for me growing tomatoes.
This trellis was actually supposed to be for the beans.




In that deep jungle of stuff, there are dozens of Anasazi beans intertwined with cucumbers, a strange melon and two tomato plants. I strung up netting from the bottom of the trellis to the top on both sides and just poked the tomato between strings as it grew.

As you can see, the tomato plant was quite happy with my treatment and is huge.

I saw this technique on some internet site for secrets to tomato growing success. Same type of trellis except that I run a single piece of twine from the bottom support beam to the top beam. This should work, because tomatoes are supposed to do well when you train them up a central leader.

Mine did not do so well. I should have mulched and monitored their water better.
I think the heat in June really stunted these tomatoes' growth, too. (Mulching and monitoring probably would have helped)

If we had two more months of growing, I'm sure I'd get plenty of tomatoes. Since we only have a month or so, I'm not sure how many I'll get.

I also have tomatoes in cheap cages. Usually, my plants get big enough to make the cage fall over, but this year, I pounded stakes in the cages before I even planted the tomatoes. It looked silly in early June to have four-feet cages and stakes with four-inch tomatoes, but the stakes did their job and held the cages upright.

I haven't counted every last green tomato I can find, so I'm not sure whether or not I'll have enough (eventually ripe) tomatoes to fulfill all of my pasta fantasies over the winter, but I'm hoping for the best. In the meantime, this is the time of year to begin thinking what to do to make it even better next year.  


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