2 Ways to Stake Tomatoes
There are many ways to stake tomato plants. I have used most of them. At this point I have 2 favorite ways to stake tomatoes and a couple ways I will never try again. Ugh.
I have tomatoes growing in 2 different places on our farm at this moment.
Because I’m a disaster and inconsistent and haphazard (which drives my mom and DH crazy) I opted for 2 different methods to tie up my tomatoes. I also didn’t have enough cages (my preferred method) for all the tomatoes, so I had to get about 20 tomato plants off the ground without any cages.
If your tomatoes are draping along the garden floor and you have been dreading staking them up – I am going to make this sooooo easy for you.
2 Ways to Stake Tomatoes
METHOD 1 FOR STAKING TOMATOES
THE FLORIDA WEAVE
- How it’s done – Each tomato plant has a tobacco stake hammered into the ground next to it. Using garden twine, just start at the end of the row & wrap the twine around each stake as you go. Travel down one side of all the tomato plants. Once you reach the end of the row, tie a knot and then begin going back up the same row this time on the opposite side of the tomato plants, wrapping the twine around every stake as you go. Add additional twine up and down the rows higher on the stakes as the tomato plants grow. It’s amazing how well this stabilizes and holds the tomato plants up.
- Ease – This is by far the easiest way to tie up dozens and dozens of tomato plants. If you have an acre of tomatoes this is the way to go.
- Cost – Around here (this is Kentucky & lots of tobacco grows around these parts) used tobacco stakes are free. Twine is almost free, so The Florida Weave is easy on the budget.
- Time – I can tie up 20 tomato plants with this method in a few mintues. Super fast.
- Problems –
- Falling over: if your tobacco stakes are not far enough in the ground, or happen to break because of the weight of the tomatoes you can have problems. If one of the plants falls over it can create a domino effect. Be sure to get those stakes in the ground well.
- Not high enough: this is my biggest complaint. Tomato plants are wonderful in that, no matter how horrible the bottom of the plants may appear, they are constantly growing and shooting forth new green blossoming branches on the top of the plant. Once the plant reaches the top of the stakes, there’s nowhere for the plant to go but down. Literally. My plants grow up, up, up and reach the top of the weave and then start the descend down to the ground.
- Disease: To use this method the plants must be pretty close together. If they are too far apart, the whole system won’t work. When tomato plants are grown closer there is less air flow & the potential for disease to spread more easily.
METHOD 2 FOR STAKING TOMATOES
STICK A CAGE AROUND IT AND ANCHOR IT
- How it’s done – This is what most home gardeners use. You can buy tomato cages at a store, or make them yourself out of some simple farm fencing. Tomato cages are just round cages that are typically smaller at the bottom and larger at the top. The base of the cage has prongs for you to stick in the ground. In addition to the cage, we always add a tobacco stake. I weave the stake through some of the wiring (in the cage) to stabilize it. Then I bang the stake far into the ground with a mallet.
- Ease – If you are making your own cages there is nothing easy about it. Huge pain. If you want to hand Lowes your paycheck – they will provide the cages for you. Much easier.
- Cost – If you use farm fencing & slice your hands up in 58 places making the cages yourself they will be practically free. If you buy them – it’s gonna cost you. Especially if you have 40 tomato plants.
- Time – Yes, this takes a few hours. If you make the cages yourself it’s gonna take a few days. I’m dealing with 40+ plants, so I spent most of an afternoon caging, staking and wrangling my tomato plants. By the time I made it to the end of the last row I didn’t know what my name was.
- Problems – If you need to buy more than a few cages this technique can get expensive. Building, placing and grounding cages is time consuming.
I think using cages is the best way to stabilize tomato plants. Especially if you have less than 20 plants. It promotes a lot of air circulation because the spacing can be wider. It provides tons of support for each plant. The plants are staked individually, so if one falls over, the rest aren’t effected.
There you have it! My 2 favorite methods. Stake away!
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