Early in July I posted about a heavy duty tomato trellis I constructed with T Posts and bamboo stakes: T Post and Bamboo Tomato Trellis. I’m happy to report the trellis performed exceptionally well. I’m going to build one again, next year and I already know some minor changes I’m going to make.
Lacing the tomato stems to the bamboo forces the plants to maintain excellent vertical growth. A lot of the plants are growing well over the 8 foot height of the bamboo poles. The tomato fruit had a tendency to follow the foliage growth up the poles so as the season progressed the tomatoes were easier to pick as they moved upwards.
Next year I hope to put the structure up first, then plant the tomato transplants next to the bamboo poles. The traditional conical tomato cages that I used became a hindrance to weeding and I’m going to eliminate them next year. I thought I might need them for structural support, but I don’t think they are necessary.
While I thought the plants were far enough apart, I’m going to open up the spacing and plant less plants. I experienced some leaf blight and that sometimes can be reduced by better air flow. The blight didn’t seem to slow things down, but the closeness of the plants made it a little difficult to prune them and tie them up. I’ll leave out some of the varieties that did not perform well this year. And as we had way more tomatoes than we needed, leaving a few plants out will probably be a good thing.
We’ll be picking tomatoes until frost and I also expect the structure to offer some good support for covering the tomatoes with poly to try to extend the season and get them through the first mild frost.