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Old April 19, 2017   #5
BakedIn's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Zone 6
Posts: 23

Originally Posted by ddsack View Post
I understand what you are trying to do, but I don't think it will work without you having the same kind of maintenance you are trying to get away from. Most tomato plants really want to sprawl downward, they are not true vines that try to clutch onto support. As they go through the wires, most branches will naturally want to droop down with gravity as they get longer and heavier. Without you actively weaving them in back upward, they will just end up on the ground, even if you angle the panel.

If you want to try it, maybe you could use cement blocks to raise the bottom of the panel up to your angle. There are various masonry block configurations that might allow you to wire the panel to the blocks. You might have to sink short pieces of rebar in front of the blocks to keep them from slipping forward if the later season weight of the vines start pulling the panel down and out.

I remember reading about someone laying the raised up panels horizontally over the bed on four corner posts, and then adding horizontal stacked panels on top every few feet as the plants grow larger. I was wondering how easy it would be to harvest the tomatoes if you had to get in the middle of a set of horizontal panels.

I've used cattle panels vertically on my raised beds for over 20 years and really like the system. Would never go back to cages. But as you pointed out it does take a bit of maintenance to weave in or tie up branches as the plants grow. Since I walk my garden a couple times a day, it's not a big deal. Generally I have somewhere around 80 plants each season, although probably about 20 are in pots without panels. I love to see people experimenting and trying new methods, so if it works for you, please come back and tell me nya, nya!
Yep, the masonry blocks occurred to me as probably the cheapest route available. Maybe turn on their side and put small piece of rebar in the hole to keep the panel from creeping forward.
You bring up a good point about the tomato plant habit though and throws a little water on the idea. I was thinking about planting the tomato in that small part of the angle so that it would grow up through one of the first big squares on the panel and grow upwards. But you're right, once it reached a certain point, it would probably head straight for the dirt, not up.
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