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MichaelC
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Location: Scotts Valley, CA

Overgrown - what now?

So, my tomatoes have reached the tops of my 6' stakes, my cucumbers are overrunning their trellis, and my beans have reached the top of not only their trellis but the pea plants that first reached above.

Lessons learned regarding numbers of plants and trellis size. I won't make these mistakes again, hopefully.

But what now, with two months of summer ahead? I'll add some current pictures tomorrow to aid those who might be so kind as to advise.

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applestar
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Re: Overgrown - what now?

Easiest way to expand the trellis is to put more 6 ft stakes on either side and secure a sturdy cross beam (I use 3/4-7/8" bamboo) with zip ties at the top. I tie on nylon "vegetable trellis" or zip tie on wire fencing, or even just a few rungs of jute string. (Tomato vine stems can be wound on the string as they grow. Other climbers will hold on on their own.)

Prune off side shoots and branches that are growing in "wrong direction" -- outward away from the trellis, interfere with each other, or overlap -- so they don't densely shade each other. Open up enough space for good air circulation. Start spraying thoroughly with milk solution.

At some point, if you live in humid area, you will need to sacrifice one or the other since all of them can suffer from fungal disease. Pea vines first, I think. probably cucumbers next, unless your tomatoes are determinate variety.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

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GardeningCook
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Re: Overgrown - what now?

Honestly - when/if my vining crops outgrow their trellising, I just let them trail back down. If they break, I just consider it "self pruning", but I've yet to have the trailing growth damage the plant or affect production.
My body is a temple. Unfortunately, it's a fixer-upper.

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MichaelC
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Location: Scotts Valley, CA

Re: Overgrown - what now?

Some good advice so far, which I will reply to later as I'm short on time. I took a few quick snaps to show the problem areas in question.
1.jpg
2.jpg
3.jpg

Igotworms
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Re: Overgrown - what now?

I have the same problem as you. I'm not sure what I'm going to do either. so far I'm with GardeningCook and just thinking about letting them "self prune" but I'm also doing as applestar said and trimming off branches that aren't growing the way I want them to.

imafan26
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Re: Overgrown - what now?

I have tall tomatoes, but someone said they should not be that tall and it is because I am feeding them too much. It may be true. I have a 7 foot trellis but they surround the 18 gallon tubs and are not in them so they are effectively 5 ft tall from the base of the tomato. I let them curl over and come back down again. I prune out the ones that are coming into the path or grabbing on to the kaffir lime tree. I could pinch the tops but most of the time as long as I can wind them back inside the cage, I let them do their thing.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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MichaelC
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Location: Scotts Valley, CA

Re: Overgrown - what now?

I think I've decided on a plan based on your suggestions. It would be easy to extend the tomato stakes by attaching another with zip ties. The cucumbers, I'll just have to keep pruning once they entirely fill the trellis. The pea/bean trellis is far too flimsy to extend upwards in any way, and there's no room horizontally. I'll let the beans do whatever they do, unless they start winding up the drain pipe.

One thing I hadn't thought about is what to do when the peas start to die off, which I figure isn't too far off. The beans are using them as much as they are the twine. Can I cut the peas off at ground level and let them just dry out there? Perhaps remove the leaves and leave the stems?

My climate is, luckily, free of all troubles from humidity during the summer.

jsturm
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Location: Detroit, MI (zone 6)

Re: Overgrown - what now?

Sounds like my tomatoes are doing about the same as yours. I planted my tomatoes in cages in front of my cucumber trellis, and the tomatoes are fighting for supremacy while the cucumbers simply trying to get any light at all. The vines will reach the top in another week or so and things will even out.

I have peppers and bush beans in front of the tomatoes and had to prune back the tomatoes so they don't choke off the peppers.

Tomato fruit has been slow to develop, vines are growing like crazy. I don't know if I overfed the tomatoes. I used chicken manure this year which I have not used before.

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