Tomaotes on a horizontal trellis or utilzing unused space in a greehouse
by Barry Thoele
Tomatoes on the trellis
With all the floor space in a greenhouse covered with NFT systems I had maxed my conventional growing area out. But there was so much space left that wasn't being used it seemed a waste. From 5' off the ground to the 14' peak it seemed to me there had to be some way to fill that space.
I have for the last two years been working on a way to grow tomatoes in bags that would allow growing off the ground to keep the work involved in tying up tomatoes to a minimum.
I designed and sewed bags that allowed me to reclaim excess nutrient instead of drain to waste. Yet still allowed ease of planting, large enough to contain the root system but light enough to still be able to hang.
Trellising and growth would be down instead of up.
Then I got a brain storm. Why not use the 9' feet of space not being used by anything in my greenhouse.
It would take some modification to reduce the temperature up there since in the heat of summer it can reach 165 F at nine feet.(I didn't want stewed tomatoes)
I built peak vent on each end (manually operated) to create a convection flow (draft) of air out of the greenhouse. And a trellis 7' off the ground horizontally across the center.
I couldn't have picked a better system for my tomatoes.
I did little pruning I did not have to tie the vines up since they grew across the 6"x6" square fencing stretched over the trellis and the fruit was easy to pick as much of it hung down at just above eye level.
In my 30x72 drop down side Solar Star building my cherry tomatoes produced 250# to 500#'s for over 15 weeks and were able to withstand the first four frosts without significant loss until the over night temps went below 5 F (my solar heating lost the battle).
There is much more to this but I will let the pics do tell the rest.
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