Introduction: Tormato! Tomato Cage With Trellis and Nutrient Delivery System
The Tormato replaces ugly wire cages or stakes with an aesthetically pleasing cage, trellis, and a nutrient delivery system!
More info @ www.itsatormato.com.
Step 1: Gather Tools
Saw (Hand or Jigsaw works fine)
5/8 drill bit (NOT speed bore)
3/16 drill bit
20 ft of 1/2 inch Pex tubing per Tormato
10 ft x1 1/4 PVC (8 ft will work fine if that is how your store sells it. 10 ft is more common)
Hands - Two works best for me.
Step 2: Snap a Line!
Snap a chalkline down the length of the PVC. This will serve as a guide when it comes to drilling the holes, and keep all the holes roughly on the same side of the PVC.
Step 3: Measure!
Measure and mark for the drilling of holes. If you are going to be putting an end cap on for the trellising system, mark 3 inches from the top of the PVC. All measurements will then go from here. If you are not planning on doing the trellis, skip this steps and all measurements will be made from the end of the PVC. I highly recommend not skipping this step...even if you're not using the trellis now, you may want to try later! You can space your spirals as close or as far as you would like them. I find somewhere between 8 and 11 inches produces the best Torsion/Tension on the pex tubing.
For those who would like to get technical, here are some equations. I have no idea what they mean, so don't ask for any explanations. I only know that it is for a helix, and that is what the tormato is.
The helix is a space curve with parametric equations
x = rcost
y = rsint
z = ct
for t in [0,2pi), where r is the radius of the helix and 2pic is a constant giving the vertical separation of the helix's loops.]
The curvature of the helix is given by
and the locus of the centers of curvature of a helix is another helix. The arc length is given by
The torsion of a helix is given by
which is a constant. In fact, Lancret's theorem states that a necessary and sufficient condition for a curve to be a helix is that the ratio of curvature to torsion be constant.
The osculating plane of the helix is given by
|z_1-rcost z_2-rsint z_3-ct; -rsint rcost c; -rcost -rsint 0|=0
The minimal surface of a helix is a helicoid.
Step 4: Drill!
Drill holes with the 5/8 drill bit. Remember to stay on the top (the chalkline) and drill straight up and down!! Do not apply too much pressure, or the PVC may crack and take out a large chunk! Let the drill do the work and do NOT force it.
Do NOT use a speed bore bit, it will chew up the PVC and send large chunks of PVC flying all over your workspace. The duller the bit, the better.
Step 5: Assemble!
Thread the Pex through the holes drilled in the PVC.
Step 6: Nutrient Delivery System
Cut the bottom end off at a 45 degree angle, roughly 16-18 inches from the last loop. This will serve as a stake and the nutrient delivery system to feed the roots of the plant. Drill holes with the 3/16th drill bit for the nutrient delivery system.
Step 7: Nutrient Delivery System Pt2
Drill hole to insert nutrients (or water) to the roots of the plant.
Step 8: Add Trellis System
Cut roughly 2 to 4" of your scrap PVC and drill a hole near the end to put the trellis string through. Place the elbow tightly on the top of the Tormato, and put the 4" piece you just cut into the other end of the elbow. Put a string through the hole and tie several knots so the string doesn't fall through the hole. The string will be tied loosely around the base of the tomato (allow room for growth!) and the short trellis pipe can be twisted to tighten or loosen the string. Be Gentle with your tomato plants!!!
Step 9: In Action
First picture is watering the Tomato through the "nutrient delivery system"
Second picture is a tomato plant with 2 feet of growth. The leaves rest on the spiral, and the center vine trellises up the trellising system.