I am not a fan of tomato cages, so when it came to trellising my tomatoes this year, I knew I wanted something different. I had heard all kinds of great things about cattle panels, but getting a bunch of 16-foot long metal things home in a Honda Civic seemed complicated.
Then I stumbled on the Florida Weave, and am SO happy I did.
It’s simple, looks great, and is really effective.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is the Florida Weave
- 2 Tips
- 3 Materials you need for Florida Weave
- 4 Let’s Get to Weaving!
- 5 Can You Florida Weave Cucumbers or Peppers?
What is the Florida Weave
The Florida Weave is a faster way to trellis your plants that essentially squeezes the plants between two lengths of twine. It’s the method farmers use since it’s quicker than individually trellising tomatoes.
You can use this method on both determinate and indeterminate varieties of tomatoes. This is also a great trellis option for cucumbers, pole beans, peppers, and any plant that needs staking and grows upward.
Good trellising helps create great airflow between your plants and reduces disease. It also seems to make it easier to find tomato worms and pests that might be targeting your precious plants.
- Do it before the plants grow lots of roots
Materials you need for Florida Weave
You don’t need much for this option, but you will want to choose the right materials.
There are plenty of options for staking with a Florida Weave. You’ll want to make sure your stakes are around 6-7 feet tall to accommodate your tomato plants as they grow.
I used T-posts because they won’t bend over time and can be used for a wide variety of things in the garden. They also have looks nooks you better support the twine when you run it around the back of them.
If you go with T-posts, get this and save yourself time getting them in the ground.
Wooden stakes are often a great option for this (and other) trellis ideas, but with the cost of lumber being so high, it might make sense to choose another option this year.
Bamboo is super strong and makes a good option for the Florida Weave, just make sure you get ones that are at least 6 feet tall to support your taller tomato plants.
Rebar can be a good option if you get the right size. I bought rebar for this and made the mistake of buying the 1/2 inch wide option, which wasn’t sturdy enough at that height. Go with the thicker version and trying and get ones that are between 6-8 feet tall.
2. Twine AKA Jute
The other thing you’ll need for the Florida Weave is some good quality twine, or what gardener’s call “Jute”.
Look for something that is 3 ply which makes it stronger and more durable to hold up in the rain and wind.
Let’s Get to Weaving!
Alright, now that you have those 2 things covered, we can get started.
1. Placing the Stakes/Posts
I have 50 foot rows, and used 7 T-posts along that route, with one on each end. I spaced them about 8-9 feet apart, and I’ll admit it wasn’t a perfect amount of space in between each. But it was close enough.
I made a really basic plan in Google sheets before I started, just to help me visualize it.
Yes, I have 25 tomato plants, and no, you can’t judge me for it 🙂
I’d recommend keeping the stakes less than 10 feet apart, or else the weight of the plants as they start bearing fruit might be a little too much for the twine.
2. Plant Your Tomato Seedlings
This step comes next because you want to get the stakes in the ground before you plant anything. This makes sure you’re not injuring any established roots as well as getting the spacing right.
Stakes can be placed between every other plant, or farther apart if the stakes are stronger, like T-posts and wooden posts.
3. Starting Weaving
Here’s where the fun begins. About 6-8 inches off the ground is where you’ll want to put your first line.
Securely fasten one end of twine around your first stake. Then pull the twine towards the next stake around the side of your first plant. Move the twine the other side of your second plant, creating enough tension to help support your plants, but not too tight that you damage the stems.
Weave back and forth around the plants until you reach the next stake. Wrap the twine around that second stake a few times for security, and then weave back around the same plants but on the other side of each this time.
The above diagram shows how to do this, and below is a picture of how I set up my Florida weave this year.
The two colored lines show which side each is weaved around the different plants.
You’ll want to repeat this throughout the gardening season as your plants grow. I like to do this every 6-8 inches of growth to make sure your plants don’t start to droop.
As the plants grow, you won’t need to weave back and forth as the main stalk will be strong enough and you can just wrap twine around one side with one piece of line, and another piece of line on the other side.
This method allows you to support your plants as they grow, without having to thread them through a tomato cage or cattle panel.
Can You Florida Weave Cucumbers or Peppers?
You can Florida weave almost any plant that grows upward.