Tasty Treasures on a Trellis Growing Tomatoes – A Guide for Beginning Farmers

Growing Tomatoes for the Small Scale Grower

I was looking for some information about fusarium wilt in tomatoes the other day when I came across this helpful guide from the University of Wisconsin Extension.

Tomatoes are such a big topic that I usually end up checking several different resources before I feel like I’ve found a good answer – but this publication is a really nice overview of a huge topic that touches on lots of important topics.

Click here to view or download the guide: A Plain Language Guide: Growing Fresh Market Tomatoes.

A One Stop Resource for Growing Tomatoes

The guide starts out with a high level overview of tomato plants and varieties, and then goes into some depth on the specifics of growing and caring for tomato plants.

There is information on seed storage, planting methods, soil care and fertilization, and some tips for extending the season on either end.

There are 10 solid pages on various pests and diseases (this is what I was really here for). One thing to watch out for in extension publications is that some of them default to using synthetic chemical poisons, and only mention organic options as a sidebar. This document seems to give organic treatments fair coverage, and I think the harshest treatment they recommend is a Bt spray for caterpillars (Bacillus thuringiensis).

Video: See a Florida Weave Tomato Trellis

The Florida Weave Tomato Trellis

One thing that I was especially happy to see here is a good overview of the “Florida weave” tomato trellising method (they call it they “basket weave trellis system”).

There is a good description of the method, along with some helpful illustrations to show how it’s done.

Depending on where you live, it might be too late for you to try this space-saving system this season, but hopefully this will reach some of you northern gardeners right in the nick of time. We’ve got one row of tomatoes set up on a Florida weave at my house this year, and we’re taking some pictures so we can show how it works out.


Thanks to the University of Wisconsin – Extension Environmental Resources Center for sharing this helpful guide.  You can find the original document online here: https://datcp.wi.gov/pages/SearchResults.aspx?q=growing%20tomatoes

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Michael Ford


Michael has been the resident editor at The [Grow] Network since January 2015. Michael grew up in St. Louis, where he became a lover of nature - hiking and fishing his way through the Ozark hills in Missouri. He attended Baylor University in Waco, TX, and he currently lives in Austin. Michael has background experience in small-scale farming, commercial growing, vegetable gardening, landscaping, marketing, and software development. He received his Permaculture Design Certification from the Austin Permaculture Guild in 2013.

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  • d. henry Lee

    Good information. Something I read and don’t remember the source. If you use your tomato stakes and cages year after year, mix one part clorox or other bleach to nine parts water. Then spray your stakes and cages to kill any possible diseases that may be on them. I did that this year but haven’t previously.

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