It's getting close to that time of year again it may even already be time for some. We always wait until Memorial Day to be confident that we are past the chance of frost date. I thought I would bring this post forward early this Spring so those of you wanting to try this method will have plenty of time to gather supplies and prepare.
We were taught this by a farmer at our local CSA when we lived up north and have used it ever since. Now instead of having big green bushes with a few tomatoes that turn red before frost IF we are lucky. We now have skinny tall vines that are always loaded with bunches and bunches of fruit that can see the sun and turn red in plenty of time before frost. In fact we have been known to have ripe tomatoes from July clear until Fall.
Okay I'm going to try to explain it as best I can so you can try it if you want. I think you will be as pleased as we have been.
What you will need -
- Tomato plants, planted about 18 inches apart closer if you are really pressed for space.
- Next you will need some sort of clip we love these Tomato Clips
- Then you will want a bunch of twine some good strong stuff works best don't use string
- Something to be used as a frame to tie the twine on, you can get creative with this, we use rebar
- You will need something to tie the twine to and stake in the ground we use whatever we have available at the time, sticks, old tent stakes, pieces of wire hanger, gardening hose stakes or these Garden Stakes would work really well
- As the vines get tall enough clip the main center stalk to the stem
- Also as they are growing pluck off all the suckers. Sorry we don't have a picture of what a sucker looks like but I noticed that there are lots to choose from here so take a look if you don't know what I am talking about.
- As the plant grows just continue to clip it up to the twine and pluck off suckers as they come.
- Then as things start to cool off (usually early to mid-October maybe sooner) cut off the tops with new growth and pick off all little green ones and blossoms. At this point you don't want the plant producing more fruit you want it to be ripening what's there. This works really good to ripen them up before frost.
P.S. Here are a few more recent pictures of how we have been stringing up our tomatoes since we moved 5 years ago.