How To Grow Espalier Tomatoes? – There are several reasons why growing espalier tomatoes in courtyards or on patios is desirable and primarily because they can be grown by taking up only a small amount of space that is available. Another benefit of growing this way is that by spreading the branches out the fruit receives maximum sunlight. The warmth from the wall also speeds up the ripening time of the fruit.
The espalier system also makes tending the tomato plant easier as all the branches are accessible and therefore control of pests and diseases is easier. As the branches are spread out and the leaves get a better chance to dry, there is less chance of blight and other diseases taking a hold on the plant.
The job is to decide on a nice sunny position. Healthy tomato plants need 6 to 8 hours sunlight. Once the location is decided then the next steps can take place:
1. Decide on the trellis style, locate and attach it to the wall;
2. Have a pot that is a minimum of 12 inches (preferably 18 inches) across at the top or even bigger;
3. Cover the holes on the bottom of the pot with fine mesh and fill the bottom 3 inches with small rocks to help with drainage;
4. Prepare the soil so that it is the right mix for tomato plants and it will probably need 8-8-8 fertilizer, organic compost and check for other nutrients as well;
5. Plant the tomato seedling in the pot up to the top 4 to 6 leaves (yes, that is right as the stem will grow roots and be a strong plant to support the weight of the tomato tree);
6. As the plant grows spread the branches out to the left and right (although they can be taken one way if the pot has been placed at the end of the trellis) and tie to the trellis. Use 2 inch strips of nylon stocking or rag to secure the plant as they do not cut through the soft stems of the tomato plant.
7. Prune unnecessary branches coming from the V-joints so that the branches that you kept have room to grow.
All other requirements of growing a strong tomato plant apply to one growing in a container, whether espaliered or not. It will need fertilizer, and organic compost. One step not to miss that is very important is to water the plant every day, preferably early morning. So when you have got this all set up, sit back and enjoy the growing process and most of all those delicious tomatoes at the end of the growing season.