Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Staking Tomatoes 

When it comes to growing a caring for tomatoes, I don't over do it. Many of my colleagues trim and tie and care for their tomatoes plants much more than I do. I transplant my starts, which I acquire from The Farm on 7th, a local grower, and from Headstart Nursery which ships to me from Gilroy, California. Once I am sure those plants have grabbed their new soil abode, usually about 10 days in, I begin to place stakes and tie up support string. 

Many growers put up a stake every plant or two, however, for cost savings, I only place a stake at every 3 or 4 plants. Then I attach hay string between each stake along the row. The string is wrapped around each stake to provide maximum support. I run two or three lines along the row. One at about 12 inches above the soil surface and another 24-30 inches and so on as needed. 

Once my string lines are up I attach tomato plants to the stake and string as needed to hold the plants up and off of the ground. I trim the lower 8-10 inches of branches off of each plant to encourage upward growth and to allow for easier weeding and to prevent transfer of pests and pathogens from soil to plant. 

Scientifically Laying Out My Corn Rows- LOL

To most people, the picture above looks like tools laying on the ground. But to the select few who understand the mind of a farmer, this is in fact a scientific method for laying out rows of corn on flat ground in an environment that otherwise would be 30" raised beds. 
The Flathead shovel represents the furrows and is about 11 inches wide. The green leaf rake is 30 inches wide and represents the bed top. The rock rake, which is on top of the green leaf rake is 16" wide and represent the separation between rows of soon to be planted corn. You can see the black and blue loc-tight valves attached to the 3/4 inch poly mainline. These will soon have drip tape attached that will run the length of the 100 foot rows. 
This ridiculous, but effective measurement system allowed me to plant 4 rows of corn on the exact same space that will eventually make up two 30 inch semi-permanent beds without having to redo irrigation lay outs or remeasure the space nlater. This way, once the corn is done, I can simply use the flat head shovel to cut my furrows, add some compost to replace lost nutrients taken up by the corn and use the 30 inch leaf rake to level the bed top. replace the drip tape and plant. 


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