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How to trellis vegetables using what is available in the market and what is best for your crop

For years I had been using raffia twine, but it was too expensive when it came to installing it as it required hundreds of man hours per acre.   Then fortunately I discovered   HORTONOVA, a white polypropylene
trellis netting
manufactured by TENAX, this netting for tutoring vegetables worked quite well on my fields.  The mesh size was quite small, but we adapted to the smaller than desired size especially during pruning and harvesting.

We alternate in open field cultivars of various crop cycles, usually starting the season with cucumbers, long beans changing again to peppers or tomatoes (depending on market projections) and then back to a leguminous as sweat or snowpeas, it is very important to return nitrogen to the soil using leguminous species, but one must keep in mind that beans and peas attract white flies, so your pest control protocols must be really in place and working in order to have the optimal phytosanitary conditions for the following cucurbits or solonaceae.

So by alternating species and doing what is normally called crop rotation we are able to utilize the same soil preparation, much film, posts, trellis netting and drip irrigation for about 18 months without having to spend more on infrastructure or plow the grounds over.  We then leave the field rest for 6 months so it can incorporate all the organic matter left from the 5-6 crops prior.

One day (almost the end of 2014) surfing the internet I was looking for price alternatives to this HORTONOVA vegetable support net I was buying thru Amazon, and I came across a brand out of Mexico in Facebook, called HORTOMALLAS, so I decided to give it a try.  At first I was reluctant in buying from a foreign supplier, but when I called (you must ask for Saturnino as his English is nearly perfect) I was impressed by the knowledge base they offered as they solely manufacture trellis netting and have a whole staff with Phyto-biologists and Agronomists that can help one with ideas and methods of growing crops using their trellis net.  Not only have they helped me with practical installation ideas (we started training tomatoes installing HORTOMALLAS  ( hortomallas.com) horizontally after Saturnino convinced me  about this method sending me this picture.

Now mind you, most of their technical information is in Spanish (which I can understand given that most of our temporary field workers come from Mexico) so I suggest people look up their blog for words like “entutorado” or “entutorar” and you will find an incredible amount of information on growing and training tomatoes, cucumbers, bitter melon, melons and of course chilies and peppers (it is Mexico after all!).  As you surf thru their pages you will see that in Latin America and Spain Entutorar is our English equivalent to the action of Plant Training , while Entutorado refers to the still object of the HORTOMALLAS trellis netting .

What I really liked about the HORTOMALLAS´ site is the empirical (but also academically proven) correlation they make between the tutoring by hand with raffia twine and the transmission of pathogens as the hands of the field workers become the vectors of transmission of viruses and bacteria or fungi and as a matter of fact it is something we are always concerned about but just cannot control, as the workers can be pretty careless when it comes to washing their hands before changing plants for pruning or tutoring with raffia.  So this HORTOMALLAS method of double row netting really works wonders when it come to reducing labor intervention during training as the plants will be supported passively by the HORTOMALLAS mesh.

One last point worth noting, by trellising with HORTOMALLAS instead of raffia, mechanical stress to the plant is reduced and this per se will increase yields (in tomatoes according to their published study) by 8-10%, so not only did I save about 30% over HORTONOVA´s price, but I learned something that increase my crop yields and turned from a savings to an investment.

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