This year we’ve decided on an alternative method for providing support for our tomato plants. In the past we’ve used bamboo canes … but this week I’ve been looking at using string for the tomatoes in the polytunnel.
I’ve had problems with canes in the past pulling the plants over with the weight of the tomatoes but I’ve seen other gardeners wind their tomato plants around a string line and it seems to work really well.
Not sure if this is the standard way but this is the method I used earlier this week.
1. Dib a 12” deep hole next to the plant. The depth is important to ensure the string isn’t pulled out when the plant is laden with tomatoes.
2. Take a ball of nylon string and dropped one end into the bottom of the hole. You could always use natural string but make sure it’s nice and strong or it may perish before the end of the season.
3. Back fill the hole with a few small stones and soil and use the dibber to ram the string in nice and tight. Keep ramming the string in until the hole is full to the top and level with the soil.
4. Tie the other end of the string to the ridgepole making sure it’s nice and tight.
5. Finally … wrap the tomato plant as it grows around the string until it reaches the ridge.
Using this method also increases the harvest as when the plant reaches the ridge you can lay it down and send it up another string where it will produce even more juicy tomatoes!
Wow … what a couple of weeks it’s been!
Firstly we decided to move the polytunnel … and if that wasn’t enough we also decided to move the potting shed … and in between that we managed to squeeze in a few days in Cornwall.
Reason for moving the poly and the potting shed is we needed to free up more space at the bottom of the plot to provide better access to the plant nursery.
It was backbreaking work … especially digging the trench for the polytunnel skin. Piece of advice if I may … if you ever find yourself installing or moving your own polytunnel invest in a ground fixing kit. It takes all the hard work out of it and you’ll get the job done a lot quicker. Look up First Tunnels for details of the ground fixing kits.
The upside of moving the tunnel is we could rearrange the inside to work better for us. Instead of one path down the centre we now have two smaller paths down either side of a central planting bed into which we planted this years tomatoes. This still leaves plenty of space around the outside for the melons, peppers and cucumbers.
At the end of the summer the tomatoes will be removed and replaced with a manure bed to provide stored heat in the winter.
We’ll keep you posted on how the tomatoes are ‘holding up’ as we progress through the season.
The plants are doing just great with the string supports. I took this pic earlier today (11th August) and the tomatoes are holding up really well.