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January 29, 2007



I'm glad you liked my tomato tepees. I have used then forever and find they are really versatile, easy, strong and tall. They look nice, my birds like to sit on them, and they can be conpletely removed so its easy to work the soil. I bet you could invent some triangular arrangement. I think it might be hard to buy the posts, though I've never looked for them in a store. My husband makes the 8 or 10-ft poles, which are about 1x1 inches. He takes an 8- or 10-ft 2x4 board and splits it into 3 2x1 boards by making 2 cuts. Each of these is then cut in half to make the poles. So each 2x4 makes 6 poles.

By the way, I really love your site! (... and my name is Kathy.)


I found plans for an interesting trellis last year here: http://www.cottageliving.com/cottage/gardens/article/0,21135,1174857,00.html

I am thinking of constructing a set of these to test this summer. No matter how well pruned, the tomatoes always end up taking over the garden --probably because I just haven't found a determinate tomato I can love.


I've admired Kathy's teepees before - we did something similar without the cross brace (and not nearly as nice looking) for our tomatoes last year. (http://suburbanfarm.blogspot.com/2006/08/cages-we-dont-need-no-stinking-cages.html) I liked the way they looked, however my partner-in-crime said that it was a pain in the butt to have to constantly tie the tomatoes to the teepee. (Good reason to add cross braces I guess.)


Kathy: Thanks for visiting my blog and letting me know who you are! I love your garden, and especially like your 2nd floor photos - that aerial view really gives another perspective. Thanks for letting me know how they were built. I think I can probably replicate it, or at least try (or, more accurately, Spouse can try).

Ali: That's also a nice-looking trellis . . . more food for thought. I know what you mean about determinate tomatoes - I think the only one I've grown is Principe Borghese, and those even got to at least 5 feet tall!

Gretchen: I also like your trellises, and we certainly have enough branches in our woods to be able to make them. As for constant tying, I find I need to do it anyway, no matter what method I use. Well, I suppose I could make big cylinders out of mesh fencing, but our garden is completely visible from the house, porch and deck.


I would never have the patience to coax those plants along those teepees and trellises! I just love looking at other people's veggie gardens! Mine is always such a mess...


Sissy: I am usually a big advocate of the path of least resistance, but I've found that the tomato cages you can buy are just too flimsy. I've also used spiral tomato supports, but they're too short. Maybe I've just been lucky that my tomatoes get big enough for me to worry about it!


Oh, I don't use the pre-built tom cages they sell. I make my own out of concrete reinforcing wire. It comes in rolls you can buy at the HD, and I cut 7' lengths and roll them into themselves, cutting squares out of the wire for picking! Some of my plants in the south would smother these things, but they didn't blow down-ever!


Sissy: I've always thought of trying your method, but I actually enjoy tying up the plants. It gets me out putz'ing around and seeing what's changed every few days. It's a little like watering by hand - I like to get up close and personal with my plants!


I really enjoy tying up the tomato vines, too. Its a quick job, 5 minutes a day, maybe. And a good excuse to hang out in the garden. I like to use strips cut from supermarket plastic bags (brown colored). Then I feel like I'm doing some useful recycling. The cross-beams don't eliminate this "chore", they just add stability to the structure and increase perching areas for the birds.


Kathy: I agree, tying up the tomatoes doesn't take much time and gives me a chance to make sure that bugs and/or disease aren't taking over. That's a good idea with the plastic bags. However, at our house, any grocery bags I get are designated doggy waste bags. I use some stretchy ties that I bought from Gardener's Supply which work well.

Tony LaPelusa

If you want to see a tomato support that is completely adjustable, is almost invisable after the plant grows, will hold plants that grow to a heigth of 6'6" and will work better than anything else. Go to tomatosupports.com


Those TPs are pretty nice looking but I switched to stakes last year and had the best tomato crop in years. You have to train and prune a lot but I think it's worth it.

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