Our gardens are finally in full swing and plants, especially tomatoes, can become unruly. What to do? That’s where pruning and trellising come in. We demonstrated some of these techniques on Farm Day, but here’s a refresher.
Suckering tomatoes can be beneficial for increasing air flow and to direct energy towards fruit set. If the suckers get too large, or don’t start to break cleanly, use scissors or a knife so you don’t injure the plant. I remove all suckers in the high tunnel and primarily remove low suckers outside. If the plant gets overgrown, I’ll remove them higher in the plant to improve air flow which helps reduce disease.
Trellising can also help increase air flow by keeping plants off the ground. It usually makes picking easier as well.
I use a mixed system for cucumbers-a string for the primary leader and Florida weave to give the lateral branches support. This year I’ll try the umbrella system on a few plants. I’ll let you know how that works out later in the season. I use the Florida weave system on most things that need support. It’s a simple stake and string system. I put 2 stakes at the end of rows(they take the majority of the weight) for tomatoes and pole beans. Then a stake every three plants for tomatoes, every 5 plants for peppers, every 5-10 feet for both bush and pole beans and peas.
Tie the string at the end of the row. Then go down the row wrapping the string once around each stake, making sure to pull tight and maintaining tension. When you get to the end, wrap around the end stake and go down the other side of the row repeating the process and tie off when you get to the end. Add another string every 8-12 inches as needed as the plant grows. Happy trellising and feel free to ask questions!