High density sowing is possible by using HORTOMALLAS® trellis net.
HORTOMALLAS® presents this excellent introductory article on its trellis net and plant support system for vegetable like tomato and cucumber, whether they are cultivated in greenhouse or the open field. Vegetable plant tutoring (specially using trellis net) aims to keep plants straight and to support the big loads the plants withhold when hybrids or high yielding crops are sowed. Also helps a lot keeping foliage and fruits away from soil reducing disease incidence and improving production quality.
HORTOMALLAS® is the perfect plant tutoring system to keep plants elevated so they do not come in contact with the soil, avoiding unwanted diseases and fruit damages, which increases useful life of the plant and harvesting yields.
What are tutoring objectives when growing vegetables.
Trellis net allows higher density when planting and sowing.
Whenever high density sowing takes place to raise crop production, stalks are not that firm, comparing to low density sowing. Tutoring the chosen crop allows to make the main stalk stronger so that it supports properly the harvesting weight.
Using trellis net is adequate for high yielding crops.
By using high yielding seeds varieties or hybrids, the weight and the amount of fruits will make it necessary to reinforce the stalk using trellis net. The strongest case for this technique is chili pepper growing using the Yolo Wonder variety which resisted properly the weight of the fruit since they have a little and thin wall which makes them lighter fruits. This trait helped to keep the plant straight. By changing to modern hybrids it became imperative using modern plant support netting so growers can have large harvests of thicker walled heavier fruits and avoid broken stalks due to the exceeding fruit weight.
Trellis net improves fruit quality
Crops like cucumber which it may be grown at the ground level, by being in touch with the soil, will present problems such as a green pale stain that decreases it commercial value. Tutoring net will prevent and solve this problem by keeping the plant away from the humid soil reducing diseases that stain and disfigure the fruits.
Trellis net allows growing all the crops all the seasons.
Tomato for instance has weak stalks and branches are that are overwhelmed by the weight of its fruit bunches. During the dry season tomato can be grown prostrate as it is destined for industrial processing, however during the rainy season tutoring will become mandatory in order to avoid mycoidal diseases such as Alternaria, tomato´s grey stain, and Phytophthora to list just a few pathogens that propagate well under humidity conditions. One must keep in mind that besides multiple rotting by fungus and bacteria that diminish the fruit´s commercial value, disease outbreaks reduce considerably total tonnage.
Trellis net improves greenhouse performance
In spite of having controlled climate conditions to reduce possible diseases, cultivating inside greenhouses requires the use of good tutoring so as to take advantage of production rate potentials, not only as surface plant density but also considering the greenhouse´s upward volume. This tutoring is well justified due to their high costs of greenhouse growing. Melon crops have started to be grown on the ground in Spanish greenhouses due to the unavailability of qualified manpower at a reasonable wage, while this may not the case for our Latin American countries.
Vegetable Plant Tutoring generates job opportunities for field workers.
Growing vegetables generates many job positions mainly because the plants need tutoring and pruning. Tomato growing needs more manpower than cabbage. In the State of California, USA, tomato for industrial processing is grown prostrate and sowing and harvesting are mechanized, this allows to grow the cheapest tomato in the world even though their man labor is one of the most expensive.
Plant Tutoring techniques
On yam and vainitas or climbing caraotas the plant is allowed to entangled to the previous corn plant´s stalk which was sowed as part of a crop rotation system and this is the way they use it in Conucos ( Small farms) so the plants entangled the corn plant.
Sticks, metal tubes or even concrete posts are used in open field plantations to support cultivars, in professional greenhouses the mechanical designs takes into account wind and rain force plus the fruit weight, using the structure for high-wire crop tutoring. On less professional greenhouses the crops are not tutored making them weaker.
Tutoring net is supported by wires or cables and crops are tied to them. In the State of Lara, Venezuela, growers use cane sticks placed horizontally to substitute the wire used to support the crops.
For tutoring crops they use a string that could be or not UV resistant or a vegetal string raffia (henequen) extracted out from plants from the Agavacea family.
Parchita or grape cultivation can be tutored using wire crossed horizontally so they support plants that develops on top, just like they do it on Maracaibo Venezuela´s South lake. However it is more widely used vertical trellis technique which yields better results and allows crop mechanization. For grape cultivation every modern plantations are now made with vertical trellises using several wires that allow stalk leading and leaves it well arranged.
To tie tomato plants, several strings are attached to every branch so all of them are supported. Stalk excess are pruned for better aeration. This same technique is used for cayenne pepper in places such as Santander State in Colombia and in Táchira, Venezuela.
As a reference we cite the experience obtained using this technique on La Mesa de los Morenos and on La Grita town also, both places located on the previously mentioned countries.
In greenhouses, raffia twines are tied to the stalk´s bases , which are then rolled like a snake as the plants grow. Lateral shoots are suppressed to let one, two or three axis per plant. This technique is used for tomato, cayenne pepper, melon and cucumber to cite only a few. It is important not to tie too strongly the twine around the stalk as not to cut the nutrients´ flow, induce adventitious roots, and basically not strangulate the plants and fruits. This was observed during our professional field trips with producers associated to our technical assistance program in Montalbán on the State of Carabobo Venezuela.
In an open field, cayenne pepper is locked between two paired ropes that support the growth in the middle of the strings. Lateral movement is suppressed using the support of neighboring plants. This technique was also successful used with eggplant.
Flowers such as carnation and chrysanthemum among others are grown in the middle of horizontal nets that allow the stem to grow straight. Straight flower stems are a factor of quality for cut flowers both for domestic and international markets. Roses are also tutored in a very similar way to cayenne pepper as mentioned, but using wire or flower tutoring net and with sticks separated a meter from the other.