Tomato Trellis and Garden Update

The last time I pruned the tomatoes, my other half objected that too much was taken off. I don’t think so. In fact lets look at some growth shots:

April 27                                                May 5

May 7                                                May 15

May 22

I am truly astounded by the growth of these tomatoes. The Basil on the side is really crowded and the peppers are overshadowed by the tomatoes.

The importance of pruning and maintenance in a small space:
The more branches you have, the more roots you have, do you have enough root space to support all of the branches you let live? All of the tomatoes planted in the raised beds are indeterminate. So they will continue to grow and grow and grow until they die.

We have used string to wind around the tomato branches to support and also very cleverly, to mark which branches we are keeping and whatever grows out of the assigned sections can be nipped in the bud. If you have refused to cut off any suckers and they are large branches themselves, do not fret, they can still be used – I’ll let you in on it soon.

The string is tied as low on the branch as possible and then wound up the plant and tied at the top. I’m hoping the bale string will be enough to support the weight of these tomatoes:

Between May 5 and May 7 I was able to go through and identify each branch that I wanted to keep from the tomato plants, about 4 or 5 on the larger ones and 3 to 4 on the younger ones. Once they start taking off its hard to figure out what is where and the suckers were already established on the older plants so cutting them off could be more harmful than good for healthy growth.

Here is what 1 Hour of work on the tomatoes looks like:

Before                                                 After

Here are the castoffs:

Everything in the bucket on the left is going to be composted. Everything in the Orange bucket(otherwise known as really big suckers that I am not allowing to be branches on my plants) is soaking in water and will be placed in a soil-less mix to begin the adventures of a new tomato plant.

Here are the outside Tomatoes. They are going to get a support system built up sometime this week.

May 7

May 15                                                      May 22

I could go on for hours about the tomatoes, but lets move on for now. Check out these Watermelon!

May 07                                              May 15

May 22

Mad Explosion of Growth! String was tied to the post and green ties used to attach the watermelon to it. This will work until a sturdy trellis is set up.

For an interesting comparison, look at the watermelons that were planted in the greenhouse:

May 15

May 22

The Greenhouse watermelons were put in the bed around May 15, but all the watermelon seeds were started at the same time in small 4″ pots. The only difference between the outside and Greenhouse watermelon is when they were placed in the bed. What we see is how growth is directly proportional to root space.

The cucumber and eggplant bed is looking good, with the exception of either bugs or water burning the leaves:

May 05                                                                  May 15

May 22

It looks like only 1 or 2 of the may nasturtiums planted were eaten up, as were the radishes planted between the cucumber. Got some baby cucumbers on their way!

The newest bed is made up of bush beans, carrot and radish for now.

May 07                                                               May 15

Since the seeds are being sown directly, the area was sectioned off to illustrate where everything was. Only the 3 left squares are being used at the moment. The top has bush beans, then carrots (I think those seeds went bad…) and radish. The beans are emerging but the radish seem to have been eaten alive.

May 22

The beans have sprouted and looking good, some of the radish are struggling through it. In the top middle square are some bush beans that were started in 4″ pots and transplanted, not looking the best, they don’t seem to like being transplanted. In the top 2 right squares is corn that was started in 4″ pots. I’m considering putting in another square of corn for pollination purposes, these are more for seed than for consumption (how many ears will we get from these few plants? Not much, but surely enough).

The beds are filling up and it looks like there is more space to plant. Time to make some plants.

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