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Tomato Arbor

Post in 'The Green Room' started by SolarAndWood, Oct 25, 2011.

  1. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    Has anyone done an arbor like below in a northern climate? I am wondering if the vines will just spend all their time growing and just end up with a bunch of green tomatoes come frost time?

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  2. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    Seems a common method in Italy, even in greenhouse tubes.
    Lots of greenhouse tubes to protect them from wind, hail and heavy downpour damage.

    You can prune tomatos.
  3. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    They have a much longer growing season don't they? We have snow in the forecast and can't put tomatoes in the ground safely until almost Memorial Day. I used 5 ft stakes this year, tied them off twice but didn't prune. They don't seem to start producing fruit until they are done climbing though? I like the light and ventilation benefits of the 10' arbor, but am wondering if all I am going to end up with is a nice green arch when the frost hits? Maybe with pruning they will cover the arbor quickly and produce fruit at the same time as my staked plants?

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  4. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    I am going to start mine the first week of Feb this season. Adding another row to. I did lose quite a few green ones to the frost on last Friday.
  5. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    We do green tomato salsa this time every year.
  6. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    LEARN something new everyday! Going to start some later this afternoon.
  7. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    My tomatoes went nuts this year. I bet the vines were 12'. I had them staked up 6' high and they kept growing back to the ground again.

    Picked the last of my green tomatoes yesterday...supposed to get frosty later in the week.

    Need to know more about this green tomato salsa...do tell.
  8. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    Nothing fancy, just jalapenos and onions. Do you prune on the way up? Did you prune at 12' or did they just stop when they hit the ground? Were they producing fruit the whole time?
  9. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    Making some tonight. Have to pick the last of the peppers tonight anyway. Vinegar and sugar, or do the tomatoes have enough to get the job done?

    I don't prune my tomatoes...my mom always did, but I haven't learned the craft yet. I just let them do as they may.

    My cherry tomatoes and heirlooms both grew 12' or more....and kept on producing...and producing some more. They actually kept growing after they hit the ground too. I would venture a guess that we got 40 - 60 lbs per plant, but that's pure speculation. I had 24 plants. Do the math. Froze a bunch. Lots of salsa. Gave a bunch away.
  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I think you got them in too late. Or maybe it was your wet summer? We had a cold spring and a late beginning to summer (mid-July), but still managed an excellent crop. Harvested almost all of our tomatoes by the beginning of Oct. There are some green ones left, but they will have to ripen off the vine soon.
  11. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    I use cages and stakes - prefer cages, but only have about 30 of them - I try to prune everything that grows a few inches outside of the cage on all sides and above - this seems to direct more energy into fruits earlier. With the stakes, it's harder to make as compact and neat form since you don't have the guide provided by the cage. I think I'm in the same general gardening zone as you solarandwood (5b) and we usually harvest the bulk of our tomato crop in August sometime - I plant out sometime in May, depending on how the Spring is going.

    The arbors look great but would you leave them in place? This might be a pain for crop rotations, but I supposed they'd work just as well for beans or peas.
  12. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    That pic was in June, we were in right on time. Last year we lost 75 plants a week before we planted this year. Irene and the storms thereafter shut us down this year for tomatoes. We did very well before that but I'm pretty sure arbors would have gotten us through it.

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  13. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    I think the tomatoes get it done as long as you keep your expectations in line. We ripen a bunch on the vine in the house but usually have a pile of green ones and I hate tilling them under. Tilling the garden under is a real downer for me.
  14. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    I'm thinking I will do a 6 posted arbor next year. The idea is that it is more or less free standing as it would be hell to drill in the glacial till I built the garden terraces out of. I'm thinking I will build it like the left side of the pic in my original post except three rows wide. That way I could pick them up with the loader and move them into place with the idea being they would come down every year. Then connect them with 2x4x16s and deck screws. I've gotten used to being able to run the garden out quickly and don't want to interfere with that with anything permanent.
  15. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    The arbors are fine. Have you thought about setting them up so that you can tent the tomatoes when the weather is not cooperating? I did that this year and am sure it's what saved our crops. Most people locally complained about this being a lousy tomato year, yet for us it was great.
  16. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    Is it the water physically hitting the plants that shuts them down? I assumed they were too thick and not getting enough ventilation after the big rains? Tenting shouldn't be too hard with that plan. The first one will be about 16x10 if I do a 4 post system. I could probably just pitch the horizontal members enough that tenting it would form a shed roof.
  17. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    I tilled under a bunch of cherry tomatoes last weekend. There was nothing wrong with them, but I'm so sick of picking them this was the lesser of the two evils. Gardening is a lot like wood burning for me....can't wait to get started...then at the end of the season can't wait to be done.
  18. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    "Gardening is a lot like wood burning for me….can’t wait to get started…then at the end of the season can’t wait to be done. "

    I feel the same way - I'm gung ho the beginning of the season, but by September am done. I keep wanting to get serious about extending the gardening season via row covers, perhaps a hoop house, cool weather crops (reading Elliot Coleman), but when the time comes all I want to do is transition to wood burning, wood working, and homebrewing.
  19. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    I like the garden because it forces me to slow down and relax at least a few times a week. I guess I need an off season compliment.
  20. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    Huh? Relaxation and my garden are two words that don't go together!

    I suggest you take up woodworking - I find it extremely relaxing. I'm slowly getting into using more hand tools, especially as my sons get older and can participate more. The hand tools move slower and make less noise/sawdust.
  21. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    I agree...but the new car smell wears off around September.

    I need a distraction for my distraction...LOL
  22. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    Another favorite winter hobby is fire gazing - you know, gazing at the stove whilst sipping a homebrew. This is an end of the day hobby of course.
  23. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    I think we have finally gotten to the place where it isn't a lot of work compared to when we started. The tractor makes the prep and clean up pretty quick. Mulching everything and having the irrigation system in makes the in season work a lot easier. The addition of the compost has made pulling any weeds that do make it through the mulch pretty easy.
  24. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    This never gets old for me.

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  25. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    Yea me either, and my chairs and garden are nowhere near that nice.

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