Why am I planting tomatoes now, at the end of the summer? Because last week, someone stole all my ripe tomatoes. Unfortunately, they also did a fair amount of damage to the plants, so I’m not expecting to get too much more fruit this season.
Because I’m a generous and forgiving person, I only spent a few hours scheming about ways to booby-trap the garden before deciding to take the moral high road. (Also I’m too lazy to install motion sensors, hidden cameras, and high-powered sprayers.)
Instead, I just planted some more tomatoes. I know: in most areas, planting tomatoes in August is crazy talk — fall frosts would kill them before the fruit was ready to harvest. But we don’t really get frost around here, and early autumn tends to be the hottest time of year.
And anyway, I refuse to just give up and accept the end of my personal tomato season.
I usually prune my tomatoes to a single main stem, and train them up strings or ropes instead of trellises. Pruning out the side growth focuses the plant’s energy on the fruit, while eliminating the kind of crowding that leads to mildew.
It also gives the plants a smaller footprint — all their growth is vertical, instead of sprawling all over the place — so even though you may get fewer tomatoes per plant, you’ll get more tomatoes per square foot of garden space. This also means you can fit a lot more varieties of tomatoes into a small garden.
And it’s kind of bad-ass to have a bunch of ten foot tall tomato plants.
You can hang the ropes from any sturdy structure. Here’s a post on my original string trellis for tomatoes, built from EMT conduit.