Want to build a tall/tan/handsome tomato trellis on which your indeterminate varieties can cheerfully grow? I have good news for you! The trellis in question is very easy to make. The only tools required are a hammer and some wine. I mean twine.
My favorite trellises are the “Tee-pee” and the “A-frame.” Both types are sturdy, secure, and devilishly attractive. I make them this way:
The Tee-Pee Tomato Trellis
Arrange 3 posts in tee-pee fashion at each end of a bed, and pound them fully 12 inches deep into the ground. Tie the posts with heavy twine (I use Jute twine). Arrange another post as a cross beam on top. Then place pairs of posts 18 inches apart along the cross beam, and hammer them into the ground. Tie the posts in place with twine. And remember: If you can’t tie a knot, just tie a lot.
Note: I use inexpensive 1″x 1″x 8′ pine posts for all of my trellises. If you are flush with cash, then by all means use expensive rot-resistant redwood or cedar.
The A-Frame Tomato Trellis
This structure is exactly what it sounds like — pairs of posts, or “A-Frames.” As with the previously-described trellis, I hammer the posts twelve inches into the ground.
Why do I trellis my tomatoes instead of caging them? Because common wire tomato cages are poorly soldered. My husband nearly poked an eye out on a loose wire while bending to pick a caged tomato. Furthermore, all but the expensive “Texas” -type cages are too short for indeterminate varieties. A 7-foot trellis admits plentiful air circulation and sunlight, two factors that promote healthy plants. A trellis is good for the gardener, too. I can tie the vines to their posts, prune off suckers, and harvest fruit with only minimal bending.
Oh. As mention in last week’s Tomato Planting and Growing tutorial, I use green Velcro tape to secure my tomato vines to their trellis posts. The tape is both inexpensive and reusable. Nylon stockings — such as the black fishnets I wear on Saturday nights — are great for vine-tying, too.
Is a tee-pee or A-frame trellis in your future? Or do you prefer some other tomato-support system? Speak your mind in the comments field below!