Staking Tomatoes: Growing Strong, Healthy Plants by Staking
There are many reasons to stake your tomato plants, all just as important as the last. When growing tomatoes, you may find they are top heavy, they are not growing straight, they fall once fruit begins to grow or the plants are growing onto other plants in the area. By staking tomatoes, you will be able to stop this and as an added bonus, produce healthy, large fruits. There are 4 major ways to stake tomatoes.
Tomato stakes are usually long, thin wooden or metal sticks that stick into the ground and support your tomato plants. In order to stake a tomato plant, you should place the stake about 8 inches deep and 3 inches from the base of the stalk of the plant.
As the plant grows, you should tie the actual plant to the stake using twine or even zip ties. You want to monitor the growth and as the plant gets higher, keep tying it to the stake. You can also tie it to the stake if you notice it sagging when your fruit begins to grow.
Cages are another way to stake tomato plants. You can buy tomato cages at most gardening stores or greenhouses. You can also make your own with thin wire fencing. A tomato cage will allow a plant to grow over the cage and grow more fruit.
Place the cage around the plant when it is young and as it gets taller, it will surround the cage, clinging to it. You can make sure it is growing around the cage by manually placing the leaves and branches onto the cage.
A tomato trellis is similar to a cage, but it will add a sense of decoration to your yard or garden. You can have one large trellis for several plants or a series of smaller ones. A trellis can come in different shapes and sizes. Again, you can even make your own if you are feeling creative.
Placing the tomatoes about 4 inches apart when planting will give you the best results when using a trellis. If they are any closer they will become overcrowded and become too tangled as they grow up the trellis.
Stringing tomatoes is a relatively new method of staking. By stringing, you are training your tomato plants to grow upwards instead of sprawling out. Stringing your tomatoes is ideal if you have a small area to utilize as it doesn’t take up as much room as caging or trellising.
In order to string tomatoes, you will need to take a strong piece of twine, for instance, and tie it from the ground to an anchor, such as an overhead bar. The tomato plants will grow directly up the string instead of outwards. As the plants grow higher, you need to make sure they are getting tied to the string as well.
Using the above methods to control your tomato plant growth will ensure they are growing correctly and you are getting as much yield as possible from each plant. Some methods, like using a tomato stake, will give you larger tomatoes. Using a cage will give you more tomatoes than using a stake, but they will be smaller. All four methods can have advantages, depending on your personal situation and what you want from your garden.