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Florida Weave Method
of Trellising Tomato Plants
by Mike Dunton

There are many methods that you can employ for keeping your tomato plants off of the ground. Along with the method described on this page, we also use tomato baskets here on the farm. You can review the basket information by clicking here.

How you support our tomato crop is not important. The main factor is that you keep them erect. By doing so, their contact with the soil is minimized and air is allowed to circulate around them. This helps reduce disease and promote even ripening.

The Florida Weave method is very simple and the only supplies required are some form of posts and string. We personally use steel fence "t-posts" and sisal binder twine. The only reason that we chose these two materials is that we started out with a lot of t-posts that were left over as a result of ripping out pasture fences. The binder twine is cheaply available from our local farm supply store.

The installation process is easy. After laying out the rows in your garden and planting your plants, a t-post is pounded into the ground at the end of each row. T-posts are also placed every two plants.  As in the picture to the right, if you have an odd number of plants, you can stretch to three plants between posts.

Starting in line with the base of the plants, tie off the spool of twine to the first end post. Pull the twine down the row, weaving behind the plants, then in front of the second post, then behind the next section of plants, then in front of the next post, etc.

Florida Weave Method - Side View Sketch     Florida Weave Method - Top View Sketch
The sketches are a bit crude, but hopefully they will help you better understand my instructions.

When you reach the end of the row, pull the twine tight, loop around the post a couple of times, and return at the same level, this time reversing the path you initially took.  When you reach your original starting point, pull taught, tie off the line, and cut. If the plants are tall enough, go ahead and make another run, a little higher up on the plants.

You will continue this process throughout the growing season as needed. Yes it takes a little bit of time, but the results are worth it. The photograph on the right shows plants fairly early in the season. Notice that we mulch with straw or grass clippings. This also helps to reduce disease infections from soil-borne pathogens and acts as mulch to help retain soil moisture.

I hope that you found this page useful.  It is intended as an informational resource and advice based on our experience. It should be used as a guideline and tailored to your own personal gardening adventure.


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