A super savvy tomato trellis

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Last summer I had the opportunity to visit the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh, a truly remarkable botanical wonder with 17 distinct garden areas. My favourite Рof course Рwas the kitchen garden, a colourful and productive garden with dozens of types of edibles, many contained in tidy raised beds. Of particular interest to me was this tomato trellis, a structure that was used in several of the tomato beds to contain the rampant growth of indeterminate (vining) types of tomatoes. 

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Every gardener has their own way of staking or training their tomatoes. Many use those widely available cages, while others opt for stakes, towers, fencing or simply allow their plants to sprawl on the ground (not the best option if you hope to avoid soil-borne diseases). I typically stake my tomatoes on 8-foot tall wooden posts, securing the plants to the stake with garden twine as it grows. Dwarf and bush varieties are caged or staked with 5-foot posts.

A tomato trellis:

tomato trellis

A side view of the bamboo tomato trellis at the Phipps Conservatory.

This tomato trellis at Phipps is ideal for raised beds – mine are 4 by 10 feet – and is both inexpensive and quick to construct. It’s made from bamboo stakes, tied into an A-frame shape with twine and has some strips of plastic fencing to hold and support the plants as they grow. The plants looked extremely healthy and were laden with both blossoms and developing fruits. I’m definitely going to give this clever tomato trellis a try in my veggie garden¬†this year.

Related Post: Five questions with tomato expert, Craig LeHoullier

How do you support your tomatoes?

tomato trellis

A close-up at the tomato trellising system at the Phipps Conservatory.







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One Response to A super savvy tomato trellis

  1. Sue Gilmore says:

    I’m planting 3 varieties of tomatoes this year. The tallest, Tappy’s Heritage, can grow up to 7 feet tall, so it will be grown on our berm and trained on our 8 foot trellis. My husband built this for squash 5 years ago–it has 8 foot high posts with a matching cap on top. 6 strands of wire are fastened to the posts, making a very durable trellis. I’ll be planting an Amish paste tomato using another trellis. This one isn’t a permanent fixture in our garden. We’re thinking of using green fence posts and wire for this one (it’s supposed to get around 4 feet tall). For the 3rd variety, Plum Dandy, which is a determinate, we’ll be using tomato cages. I’ve seen some videos lately by Monty Donn who trained his on a single bamboo cane. That looks really interesting to me too.

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