Trellising Systems

Flower Trellis System

We trellised the flowers using plastic netting. Initially we were going to use electric fence posts but then switched to cut 3/4″ plastic tubing which we were using as row cover supports. It supported the trellis nicely.

Trellising with electric fence posts
Trellising with plastic tubing hoops

Bean Trellising

We put t-posts at 20 foot intervals and strung electric fence wire at the top and bottom of the posts. Baling twine was strung in zig-zag fashion between the top and bottom wires and the bean plants were trained to it.

Training bean plants to trellis
Beans on trellis
Bean harvest

The Florida Weave – Tomato Trellising System

The Florida weave trellising system is used for tomatoes. T-posts were used at both ends of the row for extra support, but wooden stakes were used for the majority of the trellis system. The 2″x2″ stakes (which we found for free as waste wood from a local lumber company) were cut and pounded into the soil using a t-post pounder. Plastic tomato twine and baling twine was used to trellis the tomato plants. Sisal twine stretches and therefore is not recommended.

The twine is tied to the t-post at the end, and then weaved between the tomato plants to the first wooden stake. At that stake, the twine is wound around it, pulled taut, and then continued down the line. As the plant grows, additional lines of twine are added about every 8″ up the stakes (see photos below). It is important to keep the twine very tight otherwsie the plants sag down and the benefit of the trellis is lost. Here’s a great tool to make the job easier: an 18″ piece of 1″ pvc pipe – which the twine is strung through before tying to the end post- gives your arm an extension to reach between the plants. Tomato twine comes in a small box which can be put on your belt, freeing both hands to handle the twine.

After the first few times the plant is “twined”, it is not necessary to do a “figure-8″ around each plant. The idea is that the plant is supported by the twine on either side of it. We did some pruning of the lower stems during trellising. The trellis was effective, however we found that we needed posts taller than 6′ aboveground for the vigorous indeterminate types like heirlooms and that thicker posts driven farther down into the soil would have also been more sturdy. Our salvaged 2″x2″ stakes (which were often 1″x1”) were not strong enough to withstand high winds and many broke.

Cutting Stakes
Pounding Stakes
Twine winding demonstration
Tomatoes on trellis
Close-up of trellis
Tomatoes supported by trellis in full vegetative growth

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