The Best Tomato Trellis

The Best Tomato Trellis

October 23, 2019 100 By William Morgan


Hi. I’m Gardener Scott. I grow
a lot of tomatoes and I have for years.
And for years I’ve been searching for the best way to keep tomato plants off the ground.
I think I’ve found it.
Join, me as I share with you what I think is the best tomato trellis.
Tomatoes are the favorite plant of
American gardeners. A lot of us grow
them, a lot of us have success with them, but a lot of us don’t really trellis them to get the best production.
This trellis behind me is one that I think accomplishes that.
You may have one of those flimsy tomato cages
that they sell everywhere.
I have many of them and they’re mostly stacked in the back of my shed, because as people that grow tomatoes know,
tomatoes can get quite large and those flimsy cages really don’t do any good to keep them under control.
What you need, is something sturdy,
strong and capable of growing the tomatoes to their full potential.
The tomatoes I grow in my garden are typically six, eight feet tall and
I need a trellis that can handle a
tomato plant that is six to eight feet tall.
I discovered cattle panels years ago. They’re heavy gauge
galvanized steel and they’re used to keep livestock under control so they’re pretty strong
What I’ve done is taken a cattle panel and turn it into a tomato trellis. Now there’s a lot of other videos out there
that use cattle panels in the garden, but typically they’ll use them
vertically, where they’ll take this panel and they’ll make a wall and they might have a
steel post or a wooden post at either end to hold the wall in place,
essentially creating a
semi-permanent trellis.
The reason I think these are a more perfect
tomato trellis
is because they’re movable, they’re stackable. You can shift them from bed to bed from year to year.
But yet they retain that strength
that is inherent in a cattle panel.
These are heavy gauge
usually about 8 gauge steel, galvanized
About 50 inches wide and about 16 feet long
They’re, difficult to cut. I like to use bolt cutters to make it a little bit faster.
You decide on the size of your trellis and then you take the bolt cutters
Cut it to size
I begin by using the bolt cutters to cut off the end four rows
That’s about two and a half feet
which makes the remaining cattle panel just under 14 feet
By cutting off the end piece, what’s remaining
are tips
that actually work very well as anchors when I put the trellis in the garden bed
On the other end I still have a flat bar
so to get the same anchoring ability
I want to cut off this end piece by cutting through
each of the vertical
steel pieces
Now I have
50 inch wide trellis
with anchor
points on each end and
all I need to do now is just to bend it into shape.
This really is heavy duty metal so you will have to put your
whole body behind the bending of the cattle panel. I do it myself. I would recommend that
two or three of you get together to make these
panels. That might give you a little bit more control and it might actually be a little bit safer so you
don’t accidentally poke yourself with those sharp tips.
I begin by selecting a point
halfway from end to end
which corresponds to
ten rows on either side.
At that middle point
I’ll use my feet to begin the bend
get the panel bending in the direction I want.
Then I’ll step around and continue
putting pressure, not to bend it into a point but into a slight curve.
At this point the trellis becomes very manageable
I can lift it,
carry it, with ease, in between the beds
to the bed that I want to place it.
Once the trellis is in the bed now comes time to anchor. These points
will go all the way into the ground
up to that first crossbar.
So I just pull it towards me and it actually just slides very easily and
now this side is anchored. I’ll go to the other side
repeat that process,
just pulling it vertically towards the wall of the bed and
then sink it down. And now this trellis is in place
very sturdy,
and able to handle the weight of whatever I put underneath it.
I think being able to move the cattle panels is a very important aspect
to this particular design that I developed.
I practice plant rotation. This year
this bed has tomatoes and I’ve got my trellis over these tomatoes.

Next year it’s going to be a different crop. Even in my home garden I practice
rotation, so the ability to move these panels from bed to bed, from year to year is really a big advantage.
A single trellis 50 inches wide
is good
for about two rows of four
tomato plants
allowing for the tomatoes to grow along these vertical nylon strings
and that gives space on the end of the bed
to grow an additional plant.
In this case, basil and
Nasturtium, to help deal with some of the pests that might
impact the tomato plants.
I also like to use a double trellis system.
With these trellises I’ve
trimmed off the
lower two pieces of the panel
giving me two panels, each about three feet wide
So in this bed I can actually
increase the number of plants
because I’ve got two trellises.
Another advantage to this type of system, even though I have them running
parallel to the side of the bed, they could be turned
perpendicular, depending on what you want to grow,
with each of these trellises taking up about half of this 8-foot bed. Because they are only three feet wide
they can easily fit if they’re turned 90 degrees.
By the end of the season your plants can
completely fill this tomato trellis and because of the dome design all that weight is evenly distributed.
They won’t tip, they won’t blow over, they’re very stable and the tomatoes that are growing vertically will start to peak out
through the sides which makes the harvest very easy.
I’ve used my cattle panel tomato trellises for years and I plan to use them for many more years.
Once you build one
They’re virtually
indestructible and will last for about as long as you continue to garden. That’s one reason why
I think they’re so wonderful. There you have it. What I think
Is the best tomato trellis. If you have any comments or questions, please let me know below.
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I’m Gardener Scott
Enjoy gardening.