Garden Notes: My Tomato Arbor progresses.

The big news in my garden this year is –my Tomato Arbor!
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Did I invent the tomato arbor? Well, I might have –I’ve never actually seen one anywhere else. There was that scene at the end of “The Godfather” where the Marlon Brando character has a heart attack. The tomatoes in that scene seemed to be about “head-high” to Marlon but they did not form an arbor “ceiling”.
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How do I define “tomato arbor”?
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A “tomato arbor” is a structure of stakes that allows the vines to grow upwards –in my case, to a height of about eight feet– after which they are trained across more stakes arranged like beams in a ceiling. In effect, one has an 8-foot “wall” of tomato vines, topped by a ceiling of trained vines.
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I have about 16 vines altogether –arranged in an L-shape, one side of which has 10 vines and the other, 6. Most of the vines have already reached 8 feet high, and many of them have already started growing across on my arbor-staked structure. Some have already added about another 2 feet.
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I think I am already seeing one great advantage of the arbor structure: it means that the “roof” of tomato vines receives a lot more continuous sunlight than if they were lower, and my impression is that there is a lot more fruit on the upper end of the vines, than closer to the ground.
[This IS only an impression and I will have to check it.]
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And there is another possible advantage –it seems to me that the vines in the Tomato Arbor are healthier than the others, for some reason: lots of green leaves and with very much fewer yellowing and/or spotted leaves.
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Last year I devised a sort of canal system –about 4-6 inches deep– that allowed the water to run very close to the vines. On top of that, so to speak, I drilled down another foot or so right next to each vine, so that each vine had its own “mini-well” of water available to its roots. All this, hopefully, without over-watering them –which of course is the great no-no for tomatoes.
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I have the feeling –I certainly have the hope– that the arbor will be producing and ripening fruit right up to the Early Frost Date, which will probably be some time in December. That’s more than two months from now.
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So far I have picked about 200 tomatoes, and expect to pick much more than this in what remains of the season. Which prospect fills me with great tomato pleasure– I will keep you posted. Or staked.


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