How to Stake Tomato Plants

Backyard Tomatoes with wire tomato cages by Hawk3ye.png

Photo courtesy of flickr.com/Hawk3ye

In the post on determinate and indeterminate tomatoes it was recommended to stake indeterminate tomatoes. But even determinate tomatoes could benefit from being stakes and supported. The main reason for staking and supporting tomato plants is to keep the plants and fruit off the ground and lessen the chance of transmitting diseases to your plants. There is also the possibility that your plants could be damaged by wind, rain, pets, garden pests or the occasional stray ball from kids in your neighborhood.

The photo above is by Hawk3ye and one of her gardening photos that she shared on the Chicago gardeners Flickr pool. You can see more recent pics of her caged tomatoes here and here.

Ryan in hoop house on Hull House Heirloom Farm.png

Tree trunks used as tomato stakes.

This photo is of the urban heirloom farm on the UIC campus. If you read the post on the Hull-House urban heirloom farm you'll see that Ryan is using the tree trunks of an invasive tree to stake the tomato plants growing in the hoop house on the farm.

Tomatoes Staked With Bamboo Stakes.png

This photo is of tomatoes staked at the demonstration garden at the Garfield Park Conservatory.The tomato plants are tied to bamboo stakes, which are a favorite of mine to use in the garden to stake plants. Bamboo, like the invasive trees that Ryan, used are great to use because they are sustainable and last a long time in the garden. A couple of years ago I purchased a bundle of them for a few dollars at Home Depot and I still have them and bring them out every year to stake all kinds of plants in the garden. In the winter I pull them out of the ground and store them in the attic until I need them again. You can find bamboo stakes painted green which will naturally blend in with the foliage in your garden. It may look better than the natural colored bamboo stakes. My family says the garden looks like the Blair Which Project at the end of summer with all of the bamboo stakes used throughout the garden.

This post on the Chicago TomatoFest blog shows a more elaborate and decorative way of staking tomatoes in your garden. If I had the room for creating something like that I'd probably go that route too. Looks like a great weekend garden project for that handy person in your life to tackle.

One thing you want to take into consideration when staking tomato plants, and really any garden plants, is that you don't want the tie to be too tight. Leave the tie a little loose so the plant has some room to move in the wind or if accidentally tipped. If you don't have any garden tape like in the photo from the Garfield Park Conservatory use an old pair of stockings or cut an old t-shirt into strips.

How do you stake your tomato plants? Found a creative use for materials you salvaged or made something yourself? Share your tomato stake photos on the Chicago Gardeners Flickr pool or put a link to your garden blog in the comments.

Comments

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  • Fine gardening magazine has a video on pruning/tying tomatoes to a long stake here. I've used cages int he past but am using poles this season. So far, not much to tie up as the weather has been so cool, but I'm patient...

  • In reply to gardenfaerie:

    I know what you mean about not much happening with them. I'm beginning to suspect the tomatoes I have are plastic and that is why they are not growing.

  • In reply to gardenfaerie:

    I like bamboo, and metal stakes - couldn't find thick enough bamboo stakes when I needed them, so I have metal. I really like velcro ties. The local nursery sells 30' rolls for $2.50. They're great, and they're reusable. Of course cheap is good, but free is even better.

    My yellow pear tomato plants are gorgeous and full. The others are getting pretty good sized too, with blooms but no fruit yet. They've been staked for a few weeks. I think it helps that my veggie bed is a sidewalk away from the garage brick. The brick really heats up when the sun's on it, and holds the heat during the night too. I think it's making a difference in the growth of the tomatoes. I had to move the potted peppers out onto the sidewalk instead of on the stones next to the garage - the leaves were starting to cook from the radiant heat in the brick.

    I'm tempted to experiment with pruning to see how much difference it makes. I've always just let them grow how much they want to and I've always gotten lots of delicious tomatoes. I'll probably have to prune them here since the garden is so small.

  • In reply to ssgardengirl:

    SSGardenGirl,

    I saw your metal ones in the Chicago Gardeners Flickr pool and I like 'em.

  • In reply to gardenfaerie:

    My favorite tomato trellis of all time: http://www.flickr.com/photos/joesabol/138030973/

  • In reply to naxn:

    Hi Xan,

    That trellis is so cool. Thanks for sharing it.

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