This spring I decided to try string trellising my tomatoes. In the past, I’ve used stakes or tomato spirals to support my tomatoes. The benefit of using stakes is that they can be easily moved around my garden each season. If you practice any type of crop rotation this can be helpful. However, my indeterminate tomatoes often grew much taller than the stakes and they sometimes tipped over due to the weight.
You can find more details about a few different options to trellis your tomatoes in this post.
To string trellis tomatoes, you attach a string to an overhead structure and then either twist or clip the tomatoes to the string as they grow. This method is commonly used in greenhouse structures.
I made a structure out of wood around the raised garden beds that I was planting tomatoes in. It allowed for two rows of tomatoes per bed. The structure was made with what we had on hand and there is definitely room for improvement in the aesthetics in the future, however overall they functioned very well.
What Worked Well
- Season Extension
- Because the string wasn’t required when the tomatoes were first planted in the garden, I was able to cover the tomatoes with hoops and frost fabric when the temperatures got a little cool. This is great insurance as our weather can fluctuate significantly in the spring.
- Multiple Leaders
- I was able to allow two stems to grow from one tomato plant which increases the yield of tomatoes. It also allowed for some flexibility if another plant isn’t doing so well.
Areas for Improvement
- Quality of Twine
- I tried to use a twine which could be composted at the end of the year, however it degraded too quickly over the gardening season and a few of my tomatoes ended up falling to the ground. I was able to add new string and trellis them again for the remainder of the season, but definitely something to keep in mind for next spring.
- Height of the Trellis
- Some of my cherry tomato plants reached the top of my trellis, about seven feet tall, before the end of the gardening season. I didn’t consider in the way that I attached the string to the trellis so I wasn’t able to use the lower and lean technique. I will considering this next spring when I’m setting up the trellises.
Overall I was very happy with the string trellising for my tomatoes. It was easy to manage and allowed for some flexibility to allow multiple stems to grow. I will definitely be using this method again in the future. What type of tomato trellising do you like best? Leave a comment below.