Stake And Weave To Support Tomatoes And Peppers

Has anyone ever tried the stake and weave to support tomatoes and bell peppers? Looks like a pretty good system to me because you use a whole lot less stakes which can be kind of expensive these days! I do know that big growers in Florida use this system quite a bit on large scale operations. I was just wondering how many home gardeners have tried it and if so, how did it work out for you? Also, if you can recommend any variation of this method I would like to hear about it. I will be putting out around two dozen plants this spring and need to save some money while also giving my plants some good support to keep them off the ground. Any suggestions would be more than welcomed :) Thanks so much in advance!
Rich
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On Sat, 13 Feb 2010 02:15:40 -0500, White_Noise snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (EVP MAN) wrote:

Isn't stake and weave a technique advanced knitters employ. LOL
Sounds like you're not very sure that you want to grow vegetables every year... this is your first time, right. If you intend to grow each year ask your medical professional for a *CBD immunization shot.
Stake and weave is fine if you have lots of illegals to perform all the labor. And as you've noted decent stakes ain't cheap and don't last long, often they don't last the season. For home grown I've found the square/triangular foldable vinyl clad steel wire cages are best; they offer the best support without damaging plants, are virtually labor free, they last years and years and years and years, and fold flat for storage. I don't like the welded cone shaped cages and the DIY kind made from concrete reinforcement wire are worse.
http://www.extension.org/article/18647
*Cheap Bastard Disease
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brooklyn1 wrote:

We were thinking of two closely spaced rows of fence (probably vinyl), the maters between them. Put up with steel fence posts.
Seems to me I heard that here last year. If you have anything pro or con, let me know.
Jeff

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Hi Jeff, the Amish farm we patronize grows their 'Maters this way. and they remove many of the leaves to cut down the need for water.There are always loads of tomatoes on their vines, and no falling over!! I hope to try this this year. We had a terrible garden year last summer. Too cold and wet, and that damn tomato blight. Speaking of tomato blight, I understood, the virus which causes it comes out of the soil. If that is true, what do we do this year? Treat the soil? Please don't say garden in another spot, that would be way too much work for a couple of old farts. Nan in DE
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com:

sorry, but you really should plant in a different spot. did you have Early or Late blight? has your ground frozen solid? freezing kills a lot of the spores, but if you had late blight, you're better off growing tomatoes in a different location or in pots for at least 3 years. lee
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I hope to grow vegetables for quite a few years to come in my home garden :) Last year I only grew tomatoes but this year I'm adding to the list and will have more plants that require support. Last season I used a single steel T-post for each plant. The green kind that's used to install a fence. They are around $4 each in my area but are strong and should last for many years to come. My tall plants that need stakes will all be in a straight row so I figure if I can use the stake and weave method, I'll only use one stake between every third plant thus saving myself some expense. I plan to use parachute cord which is very strong and weathers well between the stakes. I will prune my tomato plants to a single main stem and plant them about 20" apart in the row. The row will be about 3'x40'. I will plant onions and other lower growing crops in front of the taller ones to utilize as much growing space as I can. The reason I wondered if others have tried the stake and weave support method is because I'm a bit concerned when thunder storms come this summer and we get the high winds along with the storm. Last year we had a single 15 minute storm that broke the main stem on a few plants even though each one was tied to a single support stake. As for using cages, I tried them a few years back and just don't care for them at all. They take a lot of room to store which I don't have much of. The wire that most cages are made of is flimsy but don't have any give at all to it. I found that when my plants got heavy with fruit the branches would break right where they went through the wire of the cage. I do understand there are lot's of different types of cages that may work very well including home made ones. BUT, I'm looking for an easy method that offers good support and is cost efficient as well. Also, no storage required come winter. I would just let the steel T-posts in place come winter.
Rich
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uh... no.

huh? buy 6-8' grade stakes from Agway. i've been using the same stakes for going on 10 years now. if you use bamboo they only last maybe 3-5 years, especially if you leave them out all winter. i tried making a bean teepee from Norway maple branches last summer, trying to get some value from a trash tree, but they collapsed under the weight of the beans.

yeah, those *are* nice. where did you get yours, & how many tomatoes do you usually grow?

they work passably for determinate varieties, but really are useless for indeterminates. lee
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wrote:

I bought mine some 20 years ago, Home Depot... don't recall the price but they weren't very expensive... they also open up flat to use as a trellis for beans and snow peas. I put in anywhere from 30-50 tomato plants... cherry tomatoes and other small kinds don't really need support... I use weed block fabric from LeeValley.com, very heavy weight, lasts many years... smaller tomatoes can lay on it with no damage. I someti9mes find myself with an abundance of tomato plants so I put those inside my fenced foundation plant beds, the tomatoes lay right on the pine bark nuggets with mo problems. I use the cages for the larger/heavier bearing tomatoes. I like that the cages open up, makes it easy to remove when not really needed and place around a plant that needs the support. Nurseries probably should classify tomato plants and tomato cages like bra sizes. LOL
I'm sure vinyl clad galvanized wire is available in rolls... for someone who is handy with a pair of diagonal cutter pliers and round nose forming pliers it would be no biggie to make ones own... can't be any more difficult than when I made up my turkey wire fencing with removeable gates and bent back all the ends so there are no sharp points to jab me. For hinges simply form rings similar to split key rings.
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On Sat, 13 Feb 2010 02:15:40 -0500, White_Noise snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (EVP MAN) wrote:

No, but I like the sturdier large tomato cages. If you have the space, tomatoes are happy vining on the ground without support but you might need straw to protect the fruit.
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Mother Earth News, way back in the 70s (i think), had plans for these raised (about 6") wire mesh platforms to lay your tomato vines on to keep the fruit off the ground. seemed to me to be an awful lot of work when a good mulch would do the same job with far less cost & effort. while there may be some issues with slugs hiding in mulch, a bit of Slugg-o takes care of that. lee
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White_Noise snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (EVP MAN) wrote:

Hmmm...
I have seen one gardener use this method for several years, if I understand the "stake and weave" correctly. It is a low cost system and he set it up quickly. He used 8 ft long notched coated steel poles spaced every 5 ft for 50 ft. Then used garden twine continuously wrapped around the poles and tied the twine at the ends with short ground stakes. He had several rows for determinate tomatoes, peas and green beans. However, his garden had tall shrubs around his garden which helps block strong winds. One will also have to train the plants, labor cost will be higher. One can train them while weeding. The direction of the staked rows may be important to help the plants climb. Direction I am not sure which is best, his was north & south.
I may try this system myself for beans & peas. My garden space does have strong winds, so I may try a test spot for the tomatoes. I plan on at least 50 tomato plants. I do not think this will work for many types of low height peppers or the bush like tomatoes.
Enjoy Life... Dan
--
Garden in Zone 5 South East Michigan.

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White_Noise snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (EVP MAN) wrote:

    Not here. I only ever have seen it used by the commercial growers that once existed, pre-NAFTA, in the neighboring county to the south of me. I use combinations of bamboo and 6" mesh, 5' tall galvanized field fencing. For a number of reasons, field wire is superior to that concrete reinforcing wire.
I use the wire to: Cage indeterminate tomatoes; Cage cucumbers; Trellis garden peas.
I use the bamboo to: Anchor the cages; Anchor the trellis; Stake determinate tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, etc.
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