Help! The Tomatoes are Out of Control!

A couple of weeks ago my husband saw something outside that struck fear into the poor guy.  An odd assortment of tools, including his drill and a sledge hammer, several enormously long wooden poles, and a step ladder, all within the boundaries of our garden area.  Looking at me with his ‘what on God’s green earth crazy scheme are you up to now’ look, he calmly asks, “So what’s going on in the garden?”
“Well,” I replied, “I know how busy you’ve been, and we’ve really needed to get going on some sort of support system for the tomatoes.  So I thought I’d help you out, so I’m making a cross beam of sorts to tie them up with string.”  Shaking his head, and trying not to laugh and scream at the same time, he says, “Well.  Let’s go look at it.”  I swear my poor husband is going to be one of those old guys that Ken Davis jokes about that just follow behind their wife, all hunched over and mumbling incoherently to themselves.

So a little background on tomatoes.  In case you don’t know the difference between “determinate” and “indeterminate” types of tomatoes, the determinate ones will only get so tall.  We have some of these.  They’re the paste-style called Roma.  And then…. then, we have the indeterminates.  The Beef Steaks and Big Boys that will go crazy nuts and take over your garden and grow a thousand feet tall, like in Jack and the Beanstalk.  Okay, maybe not that tall, but you get the idea.

Every year I fight with these monsters, because I’ve always tried to use the cheapest, flimsiest, wire cages I could find.  Now, these usually work okay for the nice, well-behaved Romas.  Every now and then they will try to ‘escape’ from their cages, but I just stuff them back in.  However, I informed Tim that I refused to go another season trying to fight with the “Big Boys.”  Those things refuse to stay caged!  And I tried pricing the fancy, heavy duty tomato-containment contraptions that are out there, and came to the conclusion that even if I tried to construct my own, I could end up having $10 a cage into them!  I have 40 tomato plants.  Ummm.  Nope.  Not EVEN going to pay $400 to make my tomatoes behave.  So we had decided that, yes, we needed to put together some sort of trellising or climbing system for them this year.  However, one thing led to another, and then the new bees arrived and then the chicks and then the goats….  And, well, Tim does work a full-time job on top of trying to keep up with all of his crazy wife’s homesteading shenanigans.  But those tomatoes were not getting any shorter.  In fact, they were starting to get enormous!  So, not wanting to sound like a nagging wife, I simply decided, “How hard could it be to put something together?”  Yeah.  Well.  Pretty hard, actually.  Anyway, long story short, it wasn’t pretty.

But guess what?  The next day my wonderfully patient husband bought several metal stakes and pounded them all into the ground for me so I could trellis to my heart’s content.  Simple as that.  It’s amazing how quickly projects get accomplished once a man sees his wife messing with his tools. Haha!!  But seriously, I LOVE how beautiful and manageable my tomatoes are now, and I appreciate my husband so much.  He has so much on his plate all the time, and in his defense, I seriously don’t know how he keeps up with all of it.

Here is a picture of my lovely, trellised tomatoes.  It’s so beautiful it almost makes me weepy. Every so often, as the ‘indeterminates’ determine to grow ever higher, I just go out and add another couple of rows of string.  Now.  If you’ll excuse me, I have some small trees to clear so Tim can build a new goat barn and enclosure for the Spice Babies.  Where DID he hide that chain saw?  😉

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