What is the best way to prop up tomato plants laden with fruit?
Tomatoes are content to grow in any direction, right side up, upside down, left or right. So why bother erecting sophisticated and very costly support systems to hold them up? To understand why, you must first realize that the demands of a tomato plant and your needs as a tomato consumer are not the same. The plant “needs” to mature, bear fruit, and reproduce via the seeds of fallen, rotting fruit. All of this may be accomplished without the need of a support framework. But, your needs are to gather those fruits before they become one with the soil. Support structures like cages and trellises help you optimize your yield by keeping plants and fruit off the ground. The photos below will give you some ideas about some of the different ways you can support your plants and achieve true tomato transcendence this season.
1) Stake them
Use whatever stakes you have on hand – wooden stakes, bamboo, metal – just be sure that they’re at least 4 feet high. This isn’t the simplest approach since you have to maintain tying the plant up throughout the season, but it works and is inexpensive.
2) Fence them
If you already have a fence structure in your garden, you can use it for supporting tomatoes or other vining crops. If you don’t have one, you can get some lightweight wire fence like the one seen below.
3) Cage them
These cone-shaped cages are inexpensive and simple to purchase, but they are prone to tipping over when the plants get top-heavy with foliage and fruit. You’re best off securing them with a heavy stake driven at least a foot deep into the soil.
4) Cage them – maximum security edition!
Cages are divided into two types. These heavy-duty square-shaped cages (also known as tomato towers) are safe and spacious, but they are not cheap, generally costing about $25 apiece. They will, however, hold up for many years and allow for carefree growing. Other than tucking inside your wallet, no tucking or tying is required. If you’re a handyman, you may want to try making your own robust cages.
5) Trellis them
To maximize output rates, farmers and skilled gardeners often train their tomatoes to a single vine. Support structures for this form of gardening may be expensive in terms of both money and effort, but they can pay off in the end. The plants in the system below are supported vertically by the wooden posts and horizontally by the string connecting the stakes.
What can I use to hold my tomato plants up?
You may use tomato stakes made of wood, bamboo, metal, or other materials. Traditional wooden stakes or bamboo poles need fresh growth to be tied to the support every 10 to 14 days. Use plant ties or garden twine to wrap around the stake and loosely secure it to the stem.
What kind of stakes are best for tomatoes?
T-post stakes are the most sturdy and will last you until the following year. The single-stake method works best with determinate tomatoes, which only grow to a certain height and produce most of the fruit in a short window of time.
Should I prop up my tomato plants?
Raising and supporting the plants keeps the fruit clean and pest-free, improves air circulation to help prevent disease, and makes the fruit easier to view and pick. Trellising allows me to cram more plants into a smaller space. All of this results in more and nicer tomatoes.
Is it better to stake or cage tomatoes?
Staking is less space-consuming than caging. Installation is simple. Since the vines and tomatoes are raised off the ground, the fruit is cleaner and less likely to spoil. it is easy to see the tomatoes and easy to harvest.