Tomato Support Idea

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EVP MAN wrote:

I do something similar. I make a teepee fram from three stakes lashed together at the top, so each helps support the others, and I don't have to drive them into the ground as far. Then I use whatever I have to lash the plants as they grow. Around here the commercial farmers don't stake their tomatoes at all, but when I let one get too near the ground the various bugs get into it.
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I think most commercial farmers grow determinate plants. I grow indeterminate plants which get much bigger. When these load up with fruit, they can become quite heavy and good support is needed. I have heard of the tee pee method but never gave it a try. Seems like it should work quite well also. The reason I want to drive my stakes a foot or more into the ground is because of high winds we get during thunder storms in our area. That wind can really do a number on the garden plants. I always prune my tomato plants so none of the leaves ever touch the ground.
Rich
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For Determent tomatoes I use heavy steel ladders and/or steel post with garden twine. Determinate's use a single stalk that grows straight up. For indeterminate I use those lighter circular tomato supports because they are bushier.
I usually just have three indeterminate plants for eating. The five dozen determinate plants are for canning.
--
Enjoy Life... Nad R (Garden in zone 5a Michigan)

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Commercial growers spread about 6" of straw for their tomato plants to vine on, keeps the fruits off the ground so they stay dry and prevents back splash onto leaves during rains, less chance of mold. I've tried that method but there's more bending required and the plants use a lot more space than staking. I found quality cages work best.
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On Tue, 28 Dec 2010 00:16:57 -0500, EVP MAN wrote:

I think your method sounds fine, but just to toss out another method someone might find interesting, a local greenhouse uses twine hung from overhead pipes to support their tomato vines, and I swiped the idea for my outdoor garden. Since I already had an 8 foot high fence to keep the deer out, I put a few pipes (1" schedule 10 fence pipe or EMT) across the top. When the tomatoes are big enough to need support, I hang 16 foot pieces of twine from the overhead pipes (toss mid-twine loop over the pipe and pull the length through the loop, no knots) then twist the twine around the vines at about one rotation per 6 inches. Near the bottom come back up with the twine enough to pass under the previous loop to prevent unwinding without strangling the vine. As the vines grow twist them around the twine; no tying required. I have tried between one and 4 vines per plant with this method but usually use 2 vines per plant, one 16 foot piece of twine hung between plants supporting one vine from each of the adjacent plants on the two ends. Once set up it is very quick and easy, but does require something to hold the overhead pipes up so it is a lot of trouble unless you already have a deer fence around your garden. I find it easier than stakes or cages, but not enough to justify installing posts to hold up the pipes if they aren't already there.
Glen from PA zone 5
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