Taming Tomatoes with a Telephone Pole Trellis

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Our tomatoes are growing well and getting tall so over the weekend we decided to trellis them, but just like in previous years we were at a loss as to how. Over the years I have researched and tried various methods of staking, containing, stringing up and controlling the tomatoes without much success. They usually end up as a viney mess that spreads across the the garden like a giant tomato plant carpet.

This year we discussed tomato cages and almost pulled the trigger but with 10 tomato plants and the cages running $5 each we decided to find a more inexpensive option. We had some old bed slats laying around from a bed that we had gotten rid of. I saved the slats so that I could build something out of them and this was the perfect thing.

I had seen a trellising method similar to what I had in mind at our CSA so I knew the telephone pole look look I was going for, I took 8 of the slats and cut them down to 24″. This made them just wide enough to cover the two 1′ rows in each bed where the tomatoes are growing.

I then took 4 of the slats which were full length an trimmed the bottoms to a point. I assembled the stake to look like the tops of telephone polls with one cross bar mounted at the top of the stake and another about 8″ down. I secured the bars with 1″ galvanized nails.

Down in the garden we pushed, hammered and pounded the stakes it either side of the row and then we hammered nails into the top of each cross bar for the string. This was an afterthought for us and it in fact loosened the stakes a bit. I strongly suggest doing this prior to putting the stakes in the ground.

We then strung the string between the two sets of “telephone polls” taking care to make sure that the tomatoes were supported.

By using scrap wood the only things we had to purchase for this were the nails and some special twine that won’t cut the plants. Those two things ran us a out $6 for total savings of $44. Now to see if it’s going to work. They are looking pretty good right now so time will tell if this method works. How do you tame your tomatoes?

Jennifer

Jennifer Pohlhaus is a busy working mother of two who, along with her husband, has chosen to unschool her children. She currently blogs about her experience with the challenges and fun of unschooling along with her love of crafting and cooking at HarmonicMama.com.

4 thoughts on “Taming Tomatoes with a Telephone Pole Trellis

  • July 14 at 5:43 pm
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    I tried this method last year (no tomato plants this year yet, maybe in the fall) and ended up with the uncontrollable tomato thicket. I think maybe I didn’t put enough rows of string. I do have some of the old fashioned cone shaped wire cages that I got for a quarter each at a yard sale, I shall try them again, and maybe the telephone method too, only with more planning and less random stuff rummaged out of my junk pile.

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    • August 7 at 10:44 am
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      It seems to be working for us, so far. It’s definitely holding them up but they are definitely thick and bushy. I haven’t figured out yet how to have them grow up and not out. Those cages are neat and a quarter a piece is a great deal. They’re $5 each around here and for 16 tomato plants that gets pricey.

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  • March 20 at 12:14 am
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    I conceive this internet site has some very fantastic info for everyone :D.

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  • October 19 at 8:44 am
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    Thanks for the great instructions, and the inspiration of seeing someone else actually embark on a project like this! In our previous residence in College Station, we had a warren of tomato plants this would have been great for!

    Reply

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