Instead of staking tomatoes cascade them over a raised bed

Discussion in 'Fruit & Vegetable Growing' started by Mark, Oct 14, 2014.

  1. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Over the past few months I've been trialing cascading tomato plants over a raised garden bed instead of staking or trellising them and I'm pretty happy with the results.

    The raised garden beds I have are about 800 mils high (maybe a metre in some cases) and although it's a fair height it still could be twice that to really let a larger plant hang down so I'm thinking of somehow raising a large pot off the ground about 1.5 m and trying that out for a tomato plant or two.

    I know upside down grow bags have been around for awhile but I'm not a fan of the concept because what tends to happen is the tomato plant grows under the container and the water drips through the plant foliage and fruit when it is watered. Also, I just don't think the growing medium is solid or big enough to grow tomatoes properly.

    A large container safely raised off the ground at least 1.5 m is the go I reckon but I'm going to have to build some sort of framework to do it and then probably tap it into my irrigation system. Any other ideas are welcome :)

    This is a Tigerella tomato plant I trained over and down the raised garden bed instead of up a trellis or stake.

    tomato plant cascading over a raised garden bed tigerella.jpg
     
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  2. Jenni

    Jenni Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Great Idea. In the wild what would they normally do? Just run along the ground?
     
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  3. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Yes I suppose that's right Jenni! I guess that works for for the tomato plant because it doesn't care how its fruit ripens and spreads seed but for us growing them along the ground just ends up with a heap of wasted fruit as they tend to rot on the side where the fruit touches the ground.
     
  4. Tim C

    Tim C Two heads are better than one Premium Member GOLD

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    A good thick layer of straw could stop them rotting-maybe?
     
  5. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Yeah, you're probably right! Bit like how it works with strawberries hey. You know that's probably not a bad experiment to try also. I know it would take up more space than the conventional methods but it could produce good crops especially if a few of the side shoots were buried as it sprawled along to form extra roots.
     
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  6. Jenni

    Jenni Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Do you cut the bottom limbs off your tomato plants. I sure I read somewhere that people do? If so what is the benefit.
     
  7. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Yeah you can Jenni but through my experience it really doesn't make a hell of a lot of difference to disease prevention if you are removing branches which are already diseased - it does look better to remove old dying and diseased branches though and it can help with ripening of tomatoes.

    But, keeping the plant off the ground may help with disease prevention like pruning sprawling branches etc especially those lower lateral limbs which tend to grow down and out (which is what you're probably talking about). Also, removing the first or even second limbs from a young plant before planting does work - I remove them and then bury the tomato seedling deep so that extra roots grow from the buried stem.
     
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  8. Jenni

    Jenni Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Thanks Mark I am glad you knew what I meant... Answered my question perfectly.
     
  9. Jenni

    Jenni Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Trying out the cascade method. Have what I believe to be a self seeding tomato plant come up so rather than stake it I have draped it out of the garden bed. Will see what happens.
    IMAG0361_1.jpg
     
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  10. Tim C

    Tim C Two heads are better than one Premium Member GOLD

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    That's a potato-leafed tomato I reckon?? My Italian Tree Tomatoes are, but there are many more potato-leaf varieties...
     
  11. Jenni

    Jenni Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Cool thanks Tim. It hasn't flowered yet but are all tomato flowers the same or do they vary according to type?
     
  12. Tim C

    Tim C Two heads are better than one Premium Member GOLD

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    The same as far as I know. Some capsicums have purple flowers though.
     
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  13. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    That looks great Jenni! Most of my tomatoes are dying back ATM :( whatever you're doing keep doing it LOL Be keen to see what the variety is?
     
  14. Jenni

    Jenni Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Funny enough because I don't know what I am doing I am really not doing anything... :dunno:
     
  15. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    It must be your pot mix with the right nutrients and the positioning possibly not in full sun so it's slightly protected from the heat but still getting enough light. When it starts to set some fruit give the plant another feed (as directed on the fertiliser pack) or sprinkle half a handful of blood & bone around the outside edge of the pot and water in - that should kick it along well.
     
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  16. Jenni

    Jenni Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    My rogue cascading tomato is starting to fruit. Not sure what type of tomato it is or how to tell...

    IMAG0399_1.jpg
     
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  17. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Great! Your tomatoes are doing better than mine at this time of year good to see you're getting some fruit. I suppose you'll just have to wait until the tomato fruits mature so we can see what type it is...
     
  18. Elle 's Belles

    Elle 's Belles Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Am hoping someone may find the link below either interesting, worth debating, or worth trying when it comes to alternate ways to grow tomatoes without staking, etc? Seems like an awesome idea to me, but I've not had much luck with blinking full size tomatoes, only those yummy little teeny ones! I have a few bags of seeds I'm going to plant in this manner and see what happens. Happy to report on the success - or lack of! - in the near future if anyone is interested ... :cheers:

    http://eatlocalgrown.com/article/13883-genius-idea-to-grow-tomatoes.html
     
  19. Tim C

    Tim C Two heads are better than one Premium Member GOLD

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    Yep Elle. That pot in the middle gives them the moisture wick they need to stop the leaf, therefore growth sporadic-ness. As the days humidity and heat change, it gives them a chance to recover in an ongoing fashion. Good find!:):thumbsup:Like a micro-climate.
     
  20. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member GOLD

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    My neighbours tomatoes cascade over the 6ft high fence on my side, that seems to work well :cheers:
     
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