For those of you growing in Earthboxes...how do you support your tomatoes in these?
Earthbox sells what they call the "Staking System", which gives the whole set-up a 61" height when full assembled (subtract the height of the box plus however high your mounded soil is and that's how much trellis you'd actually have - probably about 4 feet). They also sell an extension kit that extends the height another foot.
I have the staking systems attached to 3 of my Earthboxes for tomatoes and cucumbers. It is fantastic for cucumbers and works well for tomatoes, but we all know most tomato plants (including some determinates) get taller than 4 feet. I purchased 6' stakes from HD and added them to the box when I transplanted and secured them to the cross-bar on the staking system. So far it's working well, but my black cherry tomato is almost at the top of the stake, so I will probably have to rig up additional posts since it's still so early in the season. A friend does not use the staking systems and just has standard tomato cages with 6' stakes and hers are doing just fine.
There are many people who have taken the time to build external "cages", trellises and other support systems to contain the sometimes unwieldy growth. They're not necessary attached to the Earthbox, but they surround it. Now that I see how massive my plants are getting, I'm thinking of doing the same for next season - I don't really see any way around it unless Earthbox makes available a variety of more substantial add-ons.
Below is a photo of the tomatoes taken this morning before sun up.
This post was edited by NBM81 on Thu, Jul 10, 14 at 9:06
Here is another photo (also taken this morning before sun up) that better shows the cucumber Earthbox on the right. I also have two Earthboxes with peppers in them and I just use 3' stakes for support on each, although they are going gangbusters and I may need taller ones before the end of July. I have the pepper plants loosely attached to their stakes with velcro tape, which I also use for the tomatoes. I absolutely love the stuff.
nb...thanks for the ideas and info. Your garden looks awesome! I continue to see great results from these earthboxes...so, I am kind of excited.
Yes, this is my first year with them and I am loving what they're doing (minus some of the BER on my Park's Whoppers). I haven't been removing the suckers and instead prune the branches that get really long and begin to sag since the trellises don't really provide a ton of lateral support. I would like to change that for next year because I don't really want to have to prune unless it's necessary.
I am supporting my maters with concrete reinforcement wire (6"x6") between 2- 8' t posts. It really works well...but I have no more room there! Any secrets to success for these Earthboxes?
That sounds like a really nice, sturdy way to trellis them. I'm probably going to make some kind of external platform/trellis thing with PVC.. I don't want anything permanent in the yard. I am big on having a garden (and all "accessories") that I can manipulate in different ways each year and be able to move around to take advantage of better sun, less wind, overhead protection, etc.
I will say, other than the fact that I think they're too short, the staking systems manufactured specifically for the Earthboxes are really, really nice. They're worth looking into if you want a clean design and don't have the inclination to design your own system. If my plan fails, I'll probably invest in the extension kits and use 8' stakes next year instead of 6'. That would actually solve many of my current problems. :) In the end, I guess it's a good thing to have plants that are growing and producing so robustly!