Well, I’ve been planning this for a while, and I’ve finally started on an 8′ tomato frame. See, last year we grew a Sun Gold cherry tomato that got huge, made the best tomatoes, and didn’t really want to die… Unfortunately, it became a giant cloud of chaos with powdery mildew that my gopher could eat. So, I learned not to use 4′ wire frames anymore. This structure will hold a group of connected string nets that create an “S” if you look from above (see diagram). In each open area of the S, I hope to plant French fillet beans, basils, and marigolds. I plan to install gravity drip soaker hoses about 3″ below the surface, and penetrate the root ball of each tomato plant, which will live in the four corners of the “S” for a total of four. I plan to use stored rainwater as much as possible, but be able to switch to grid water when necessary. Soil is sandy, with homemade leaf compost, worm castings, chicken manure, and I may add some commercial bought mineral powder. Overall, I think this may make very efficient use of the vertical space, and should provide a lot of growing surface area, and be beautiful too.
Next step is to weave the nets through the frame, lay the irrigation and plant the tomatoes. I’ll be planting one Sun Gold, and 3 volunteers which are probably cherry tomatoes of some kind. I also have some select grape tomatoes from Johnny’s seeds, but they aren’t taking off yet.
Overall, I’m very excited. I think this is a design that I may pass on to a bunch of other people who want to do the same thing.
Future possibility: 3D nets.
Oh yes, the total cost of the wood at Home Depot was $20. I expect the nylon string to be about $5. Thanks to Tom Fine for the advice and the screws, they were excellent and deserve a photo.