Saturday, April 01, 2006

T Frame placement

Grow-Boxes, or even 18"-wide Soil-Beds:
Do not place the T-Frames in the center of the bed or box, but rather place them on the same side the plants are on - but still within the confines of the bed or box.

Treated-lumber 4 X 4's are recommended for T-Frames because they maintain their perpendicular shape and last much longer than 2 X 4's. They should be no further than 10' apart. That is not to say that you can't make frames any way you want, but those of you who've read all the books Dr. Mittleider has written will see that over the years he has experimented with a great many different types and styles of cages, stakes, and frames (as well as box and bed sizes, etc!), and his massive experience - always keeping records as to which method produced the most success - led him to settle on the sizes as described in The MIttleider Gardening Course.

BillSF9 posts also, suggesting 2 X 4's just outside both sides of the box, and that would probably work. However, we like the clean look and feel of a single post inside the box, out of the way, so the frames are not taking up aisle space. Also in response to Bill, we have found that a 4 X 4 is usually stable with only 15" in the ground, since the pressure is all down. That's unless there is a strong side-wind! If that is a likely event, then you may need to buy 10' posts and bury them much deeper, or alternatively, put side braces in to keep the wind from pushing things over when the tomatoes are tall and they become a big sail to catch the wind (I've doen that).

Now, for those of you who want to do T-Frames in 4'-wide Grow-Boxes, if you will build T-Frames with tops 5 1/2" wide, and plant your vining plants at least 9" apart and 4" in from the outside edges of your boxes, all plants will have equal 24" spaces at the top of the T-Frames for light and air. This is 6" less than they receive in Soil-Beds, so you will need to be strict and regular with your pruning.

Place #6 nails at the top edges of your T, with a second nail 1" in. That will hold your first pipe or re-bar. Then move in 24" from the outside edges and place another nail, with a second nail 1" in. Set pipe or rebar and run four sets of strings down to the two rows of plants and tie to wires run at ground level adjacent to the plant stems. This is the safest way to avoid pulling plants out of the ground or choking them from tying too tight.



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