I was more than a bit skeptical that a large indeterminate tomato plant could be grown in 1 square foot on a vertical frame. Well…I did it and it was great! The plants grew without disease and were easy to manage. My favorite part was picking the ripe ones. I no longer had to “dive” in the green to get the red. I grew three plants in side by side squares with a basil plant on the end nearest the path.
This is a Cherokee Purple on the Vertical Frame
The construction of the frame was easy and inexpensive. All the materials you need to build a vertical frame are usually available locally. I picked up the 1/2″ conduit, 1/2″ rebar, and elbow connectors at the home improvement store. The nylon trellis netting is available at Wal-mart or Amazon.com.
I will be adding a vertical frame to each of my boxes next year. Place them on the north end of the box so you do not shade any of your other crops. This simple addition to a square foot garden allows you to grow more kinds of crops. I plan on doing tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, zucchini, and maybe even a small watermelon on mine next year.
Lots of green tomatoes, but so far very few red, orange, purple, or black ones. The only tomato plant I have harvested of of is the Piccolo. I got about a dozen for that one and they were good!
Here are some pictures of my progress so far:
Cuostralee Tomato - Large beefsteak. This plant is doing very well. I am really looking forward to this one. I bet I will get a couple of 2 pounders plus of this plant.
Lime Green Salad - 2-4 ounce green tomato. This plant’s blossoms all got zap by the early heat. It is only about 18 inches tall, but is now setting some fruit.
Riesentraube Tomato - Lots and lots of grape tomatoes on this one. I am just seeing them start to turn. I have over 150 tomatoes on this plant.
Sungold-F5 - This plant is growing like crazy. It is almost of of control in one of my homemade earthboxes. It is getting very close to becoming a long and productive producers.
Purple Passion - This is an inderminate plant grown on a trellis in a one square foot area. It is doing well. It is producing nice fruit without any signs of Blossom End Rot (BER). I am pleased with this method of growing tomatoes and will grow a lot more this way next year. The nylon trellis grid is great.
The blossoms are coming on all of the tomato plants. The plants have only managed to set a few fruit though. It doesen’t look like the weather will be getting better to help this. The forecast calls for highs in the low 90’s and low’s around 70. This is on the upper limits of tomato’s being able to pollinate. Only time will tell. I do feel lucky that I am getting sun though. This Omega high pressure system is keeping all the rain and the front to the west. My lawn is brown, but the tomatoes are doing great.
New Blossom on the Lime Green Salad Determinate
Tomato Flower that just opened
Success! Tomato are stating to set on the Piccolo plant
Until now, I have just focused on my square foot garden. I decided I wanted to share images from my “other” garden. It is made up of four homemade Earthboxes. I created these boxes and grew peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, and more in them. They were a great success, but did not reach their full potential on any crop except tomatoes. That is why I decided they are going to be tomato only this year. These self watering containers are perfect for tomatoes. They provide the correct amount of water and nutrients the tomato plants needs. I have fence U-bars set up
to support the plants with the Florida weave. It worked perfectly last year. All the plants in the earthbox are heirloom varieties. Some of the cherry tomatoes, Sungold Select and Piccolo, are already setting fruit. The tomatoes in the square foot garden are also doing well, but they did get about a 2 week head start. It might become an interesting study on these two techniques. I will continue to post photos of both.
Here is the site I used for plans to build my own homemade EarthBox: http://hometown.aol.com/jmalt31/myhomepage/