Tomato Trellising!

Even though the rain doesn't seem to be letting up, our soil is beginning to reach temperatures between 80˚ and 85˚. This temperature range allowed us to plant one of our last varieties, the Okra. Different seeds germinate at different soil temperatures and therefore, must be planted with respect to those temperatures. This year, the Okra provided a perfect case in that point. We planted when the soil was between 80˚ and 85˚, the ideal temperature for Okra seeds to germinate. With ideal soil temps, warm weather, plenty of water, and at least a little sun everyday the Okra germinated two days earlier than it's seed package said it would.

Despite the rain, we were able to construct four different types of trellising techniques for our tomatoes. The four different techniques fall under the categories of Florida Weave, Freestanding Structure, and Overhead String.
The Florida Weave technique uses stakes and twine. The stakes are placed at the end of the tomato rows and act as anchor points for the twine. Twine is rapped around stakes and supports the tomato plants on the outside of the rows. If looked at from above, the twine would form a oval shape with tomato plants in the middle of the oval, and the stakes at either end.

We decided to use two types of Freestanding Structures this year. Freestanding Structures provide each plant with their own supporting structure. Individual stakes, tomato cages are the two structures. The tomato cages completely surround the tomatoes, while the stakes stand next to the stem. We'll see how it goes but, the staking method may prove to be more maintenance than the cage as the stem of the tomato plant needs to be continuously tied to the stake as the plant grows.

The last method, Overhead String, is exactly what it sounds
like. Single strands of twine are dropped to the tomato plants from above. For this technique, some type of structure above the tomato plants is necessary to fasten the overhead strings. The strings drop all the way to the plants and can either be rapped around, or clipped/tied to the stem.

While the incredibly saturated soil didn't halt the germination of Okra, it will most likely cause issues for the varieties that are already well established. Too much water in the soil means not enough oxygen, and it's safe to say we have too much water, at least at times. If you're interested in learning more about trellising techniques, or seeing first hand the effects of Vermont weather check out our next Organic Garden Seminar. More info is available with a subscription to the sustainability email list.


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