I was inspired by the video I posted yesterday on suckering and stringing tomatoes. Over the weekend I decided I MUST try stringing, suckering and fertilizing my tomatoes more diligently this year. The fertilizing was easy. I already had an organic tomato and vegetable fertilizer from Whitney Farms on hand. I side-dressed the tomatoes with the fertilizer, tilled the soil a little, and the first part of my goal was complete.
Suckering turned out to be pretty easy too. After watching the video I easily suckered every plant in only a matter of minutes. Figuring out how to string them for growing…hmmm…not so easy.
I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on creating/building a permanent trellis. I gave the problem some thought and remembered the mop handles I had saved from another project for garden stakes. Would these work? No, when driven into the ground they would be too short. What if I attached two together? I’d have plenty of height if this solution worked. How to attach them together though? Aha…DUCT TAPE!
I went to the dollar store in search of more mop handles. I couldn’t find them, but I did find brooms that would unscrew easily leaving a handle for me to use. I also purchased some plastic spoons and two packets of thin little screwdrivers. This all cost me less than $20.00. The duct tape I had on hand.
I constructed the trellis piece by piece from the ground up. I had no plan to follow, the process was a little bit like putting together Tinker Toys. (Oh my, I’m giving away my age) To strengthen the structure I added some old curtain rods taped on at the diagonal. My son, who is a builder, told me I needed to do this to keep the base steady. I also used curtain rods across the tops of the handles. Duct-taped again! An old sectional window frame was taped on top of the structure for stringing the tomatoes.
My junque trellis is not pretty, but oh my, it is interesting! Best of all, the basic concept works perfectly. We have already had heavy rains and not a curtain rod or handle has budged a millimeter. I LOVE DUCT TAPE!
How to anchor the sisal string beside each tomato plant was my next problem. I used spoons for the soil. I looped string onto the window frame first with a type of slip-knot then let the free ends dangle down and tied them to a spoon. I pushed the spoon into the soil beside the tomato and the string was anchored. I used small screwdrivers driven into the wooden slats for the tomatoes near the border of the garden.
I’m hoping for hundreds of tomatoes. I want to give them away to everyone I know. If this one-season fix works for me then I will consider spending a larger amount of money for a more aesthetically appealing structure. Something portable, but also permanent in durability. I know that what I’ve built for this season will not last forever. Happy Gardening!
Gardening Tip: Dollar stores are terrific places to find unusual items to use in gardening. Take a look around your home too…you’ll be surprised at some of the “stuff” you have stashed away that will work as trellises, etc., in the garden.