This year I am trying to improve my garden’s output by improving my gardening skills. This includes improving soil fertility, reducing weeds, AND helping plants grow in such a way that increased yield ie pruning and trellising. I mean, usually I am scrambling to get seeds in the ground and then play catch up on weeding all summer, so this is a different approach, like before I was a teenager in gardening and now I am maturing in to an adult gardener. Ha ha. So here is a breakdown of how I am trellacing my greenhouse plants that is really easy.
First things first, let your toddler use a saw. What?!?! Jkjk. It is actually my tactic to get my son involved in such a way that he feels like a helper, while letting me actually get something done. Cam taught him how to use a saw already, so I just point him in the right direction and get to work. We had a piece of 3/4” PVC pipe that Wilf and I cut to the same length as the greenhouse. Then, using clear zip ties, we attached it to the rungs in the greenhouse. Once it was secured for the whole length, I then put a zip tie around the pipe loosely so I could hang my toma-hook on it. You read that right. After following a million gardeners on insta, YouTube, and reading The Market Gardener, I decided the Toma-hooks were the way to go. I ordered them from Dubois Ag (free shipping) and I was good to go. I ordered the clips too. (And don’t even start to think those are affiliated links. Just more helpful for you then anything.)
Before continuing, I should explain the two different types of tomatoes; there are determinate and indeterminate. Determine tomatoes grow as a bush and indeterminate tomatoes grow as a vine So for determinate tomatoes you usually see tomato cages and for indeterminate, you usually see some kind of trellising.
So then all you need to do, is put a clip under a branch/vine of the tomato, run the string from the toma-hook to it, hook up the toma-hook on your zip tie on the PVC pipe, and done! As the plant grows taller, you just keep using clips to secure the new growth to your piece of string. Even if your plant grows too tall, ie taller than your PVC pipe, you can start to slide your toma-hook across your PVC pipe in one direction and let off a little slack from the hook. So let’s say your plant is getting really tall, move your hook to the left by one foot, and now your tomato can grow diagonally. You can keep doing this, assuming you are growing all the same type of tomatoes, and just have them all growing diagonally to the left.
I am doing this for my cucumbers, tomatoes, and melons, in the greenhouse. Obviously I am not a total adult gardener because I still planted my plants too close together, but you have to cut my some slack because I had sooo many seedlings and only so much greenhouse space, you know?
One thing to keep in mind is that this advice of coming from someone who just turned in to an adult gardener. I would compare that to a grown up kid who pays their first bill by themselves and then writing a blog about it. Like seriously people, if you want to know how to do this properly, I would definitely refer to YouTube... mmm or a book cause YouTube can sometimes be sketchy too.
The toma-hooks and clips can be reused each year, so if they do help, I think it is worth the investment. For myself, I was getting tired of my makeshift twine trellacing that would collapse before the tomatoes had ripened. I will see how the season goes, but so far, I think these will do the trick.
And yeah, I am definitely not giving any advice on pruning. How you prune determinate and indeterminate tomatoes is different, and something I am not even close to having finished yet this year. Google.
What do you do that makes you feel grown up?
And don't say parenting