Secret 4 : Grow tomatoes vertically.
The other new thing we did which made a huge difference is to build a tall trellis and tie strings between the top and bottom rail to wrap the tomato vines around as they grow.
We made our tomato trellis from pallets, using 2x4s as the main X frame and 1x4s to join them together. Here are tips on where to find and how to take apart pallets!
As mentioned in tip #3 we prune each plant to keep only two stems growing. Each stem wraps around a string, keeping good air circulation and making any pruning and harvesting super easy.
We used thin jute twine but they deteriorated toward the end of the season. We will use heavy duty garden twine in future.
( This method is suited to indeterminate tomatoes which we talked about at the beginning.)
Secret 5 : Keep the plants dry.
Gardeners who grow tomatoes know how quickly blights can kill all the plants. To prevent blights, water the plants at soil level and keep soil or water from getting onto the leaves.
It is easy to water under the plastic mulch: just insert a hose from one end, or install a soaker hose before laying down the plastic.
We planted these tomatoes in early May. Believe it or not, our coastal San Diego weather is not the best for growing tomatoes.
We get “May Grey” and “June Gloom”, which is 100% real. See weather data below-
Because of these new methods we tried, we were able to get a much bigger harvest than ever in not-so-ideal conditions.
Between July and early September, we harvested over 100 lbs of tomatoes, usually around ten tomatoes at a time.
We did let some plants grow to 5 stems which lead to disease build up at the end. I think by keeping the plants better pruned we can actually grow over 200 lbs in 20 square feet!
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Happy growing! Wish you lots of great tomatoes this year!