Growing tomatoes vertically in a Mittleider garden
We’ve got half a bed of tomatoes in the garden that needed twine to train them to grow vertically. The tomatoes are planted 9 inches apart and alternate which direction they will be trained to grow. Growing them this way ensures they will get adequate light and space when pruned properly.
We will also be growing other things vertically in this manner such as cucumbers, squash, pole beans and melons.
Growing tomatoes vertically with either t-posts or a-frames
So what do you need to grow those tomatoes vertically? First of all, you are going to need a structure that is capable of supporting the weight of the plants and the fruit that they will eventually bare. It is built from treated lumber comprised to 2x4s and 4x4s.
For the gardener who decides to grow a single row of vertical crops you will need to build a t-frame. The Mittleider Gardening Course book discusses building t-frames on page 132 and has illustrations of them on page 278.
You can see the A-frames we built over our 18 inch grow boxes in this video:
What twine do I need?
The twine you need for growing tomatoes vertically needs to be rated at 170 pounds or better. The common 110 pound is cheaper and often more readily found on shelves, yet it is too small in diameter and will end up killing your tomatoes.
To help identify the correct twine for growing vertically in your garden look at the package. you will see numbers similar to “9600/170” That means that on one roll there is 9,600 feet of that twine which is rated to support 170 pounds. Do NOT settle for the 110 stuff.
Here in our garden we use Tytan International twine. It is orange in color and is generally sold in a two pack. Especially relevant in your choice of twine is something that is UV stabilized. UV Stabilization helps ensure your twine can be used year after year and won’t breakdown under frequent exposure to the sunlight. Rather than replacing twine every year buy something UV stabilized.
This is a picture of what we use in our garden.
Rather than buying this online you can try and source it locally at a farm store. In my area we have Orscheln’s, $31.99 at Tractor Supply and even grain elevators and Coops that sell grain and other ranch supplies to farmers.