Monday, May 31, 2010

Stringing Tomatoes

tomato supportAlright.  The Farmer MacGregor series continues today with his creation for tomato supports.  This season I’m growing heirlooms from seed.  Most of the varieties are vines rather than bushes.  I decided to try stringing the plants to be economic with my garden space.  Plans were drawn.  Lumber was ordered.  The beast known as MacGregor was set into motion.  Points were cut on the top of each stake resembling ancient Egyptian obelisks.  Paint (green of course) was applied to all the lumber and metal stakes.  The frames were constructed and screwed into the metal stakes.  There was a lot of measuring, marking, and leveling going on.  The gentle farmer is a stickler for detailed accuracy.  These are the essential tools for construction:DSC_1525_4180 A square and a durable marker.

DSC_1527_4182 A level.  (MacGregor has several to choose from.)

DSC_1526_4181  Power drill (Snort snort.).

DSC_1529_4184Heavy duty clamps (Don’t let one of these things bite you!).

Also make sure to have a variety of words to use that when spelled look something like this:

F&%K, D@M^ it, $H1zt

Farmer MacGregor is a wordsmith when it comes to using special words to show exasperation.  Noun, verb, adjective – it doesn’t matter.  He’s so skilled he doesn’t even realize what he says sometimes.  Remarkable.

Eye bolts were inserted to the bottom of each stake to string jute.DSC_1571_4229

The jute line helped to mark a nice straight line to plant the tomatoes.DSC_1572_4230 

DSC_1577_4231 Once the tomatoes were planted, jute was tied to the top stake and run down to  the jute below to use as a support for the plants.  It’s difficult to see the jute until the tomatoes grow taller.  The photo above was taken on May 11, 2009.  Below is the same tomato bed today. DSC_1697_4362

The western most bed is planted similarly.

DSC_1694_4365 Please ignore the make shift shade for the camellias and the lounging garden kitty in the background.

DSC_1643_4309Here’s an Arkansas Traveler starting the trip up the line.  I come out and check the growth progress and wind the plants skyward up the jute.  I believe I might need to trim some of the side branches to encourage growth upward. DSC_1699_4367 With the heat turning up, the tomatoes are developing on most all varieties.  This is the same Arkansas Traveler photographed today.  The center stem is quite a bit thicker and fruit is abundant.

DSC_1698_4366 The whiskers on the Arkansas Traveler are really profound.

The tomato supports can be dismantled and stored when not needed.  They will probably take up less room than the old wire cages.  So far, I really like them.  The garden is kept nice and neat.


Mrs. Mac said...

My .. you've been busy! I like the veggie supports you and hubby made! Just got back from Los Osos/San Louis .. to find my garden weeds taking over .. have to get busy today.

Donna said...

Wow, great supports! I should have my hubby make some. We just put stakes in the other day.


Unknown said...

Ooooh- keep posting pictures on how this system works for you? I've moved my tomatoes into the front yard (where I actually get full sun) so I'm still trying to figure out how I can trellis them AND have it look pretty (which yours do!).

Melissa Price said...

So attractive! Much prettier than my unsightly tomato cages. Maybe we'll install some of those next year. : ) Melissa

Anonymous said...

GOOD NEWS!!1 My tomato plant has sprouted two beautiful tomatoes,I had lost hope ,I planted it as soon as I arrived home with it,but it did not seem to be trying to survive,then all of a sudden ,here it is trying its little heart out.I am thrilled.Maybe my purple thumb has a little green in it after all!!!!


*Lyn - that is great news. Do you know what variety you have? Each plant was labeled on the red cup. Since you're a successful gardener, I have another assignment for you. I would like you to learn how to use your name as you post rather than Anonymous.

Congratulations and good luck.