LIVE AND LEARN, RIGHT? This summer, I gave up my sturdy, dependable, Joan Crawford-approved tomato trellis in order to try the much-touted “Florida weave.” Apparently Ms. Crawford was not amused. What the system looked like at the beginning, and how it ultimately collapsed during a rain-storm:
The Florida weave — at least as I practiced it — was easy enough to arrange. I simply hammered two stout, 8-foot-tall wooden stakes one foot into the ground, and then bolted them to each end of the hemlock-framed raised bed.
J.C.: It’ll never work. Sounds like something Bette Davis would try.
As the vines grew, I ran lengths of twine between the posts. The twine held the plants in an upright position. I also pinched off suckers to keep the plants from growing too bushy.
J.C.: I’m no stranger to pinching off suckers. Just ask Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. And Franchot Tone. And Phillip Terry. And Alfred (“Mr. Pepsi”) Steele.
J.C.: I assume you were very proud of this arrangement.
J.C.: Just wait until a monsoon strikes.
Then, on August 9, a pounding rain-storm arrived. Scratch that. It wasn’t a rain-storm. It was a monsoon!
Can you guess what happened?
J.C.: Let me guess. Did the wooden stakes lurch forward?
J.C.: Now I’m laughing.
Would steel stakes have held? I don’t think so. First, I could not find such stakes locally in 8-foot lengths. And secondly, once the soil became saturated — as it did during the monsoon — the heavy posts would have loosened and pitched.
J.C.: Well, that was a waste of time.
In the future, I plan to only grow tomatoes on a Joan Crawford-approved trellis. Such a structure is easy to build, and you don’t need tools (except for a hammer) to construct it. The frame is so well-balanced that it merely yawns in the face of a monsoon.
Dear Joan: Never again shall I forsake you for two poles and a ball of twine.
So…who else has tried the Florida Weave tomato-trellising system? How’d it work out for you? As always, I cherish your comments.
Don’t miss anything at A Garden for the House…sign up for Kevin’s weekly newsletter.