Alert - STAKING TOMATOES
that are staked offer many more benefits.
The advantages realized from staked tomatoes far
out-weigh those plants that are allowed to sprawl on the ground.
Staked tomatoes prevent fruits from touching the soil, which helps
prevent fruit rot. Trellis tomato vines are easier to spray since they
are more upright and ripe fruit may be harvested with less damage to the
plant. Staking also allows earlier ripening and "vertical"
gardening which means you can plant MORE tomatoes in the same square
footage than if you let them ramble over the ground.
To produce properly,
your tomatoes need to be staked and/or caged. And you thought you had it
rough at work. Although there is some effort on your part involved, the
end result is not quite as cruel and unusual as it might sound. Staking
and caging also help prevent sun scald (in Tomato Problems section).
Wiring and Caging methods to use...
Three methods of
supporting tomatoes are the cage method, the overhead wire, and the
Caging is a technique that can
help you get better a better harvest. In this method, tomatoes are
supported by enclosing them in cages, constructed of wood or
wire. This way, the vine has support without being tied.
Tomatoes growing in cages do not need to be pruned. Make sure the
openings in the wire cage are large enough for your hand holding a tomato
to fit through!
You can make a good cage with
a piece of concrete reinforcement wire 5 feet tall and 6 feet wide. Put
cages over the young plants. The cage should be 24-inches in
diameter. Place the cages over the plants when they are small and
stake the cage to the ground to guard against wind damage and breakage.
Check the plants weekly and adjust the stems so they grow up inside the
cage and not out one of the side openings.
Type of Caging - Japanese Tomato Ring...
A variation on basic
"caging" is the Japanese Tomato Ring. You'll need a level, sunny
place about 8 feet across to make it work. Prepare the soil by removing
any grass or other plants. Work about a 3-inch layer of organic matter
into the soil. To construct the ring, you will need about 12.5 feet of
concrete reinforcing wire and a similar-sized piece of chicken wire. Some
flexible wire, such as bailing wire, is needed to wire the ring together.
Form the first circle from the
concrete reinforcing wire by attaching the ends together with bailing
wire. Next, take the chicken wire and line the formed wire ring. This
second ring is designed to keep composting material, which will be added
later, from filtering out. Set the completed ring over the center of the
8-foot-wide planting circle and anchor it firmly to the ground with four
or five metal or wooden stakes.
Start filling the ring with
layers of composting material, leaving a depression in the center so that
the ring can be watered as plants around it grow. By watering the ring
from the top down, plants will receive a soaking of "compost
tea" every time the ring is watered, and no additional fertilizing
should be necessary.
Place eight cages, constructed
of concrete reinforcing wire, equidistant around the main ring and set
tomato plants in each after your last frost date. For late frost
protection, place a milk jug with the bottom cut out over each plant.
Remove once the danger of frost is over.
Mulch around the ring and
cages to hold moisture evenly and reduce weeds. The tomato ring can also
be used for other crops, such as beans which will be finished before the
tomatoes get going.
an overhead wire support system, one end of a strong string is
loosely tied around the base of the tomato plant and the other end to the
wire above. The overhead wire is secured to two tall, very sturdy stakes
placed about 6-8 feet apart and set deeply into the ground. As the
plant grows the twine is coiled around the stem.
your tomatoes has nothing to do with vegetarian vampirism. Instead, it's a
good way to help them grow. You can use the metal, bamboo or wood. When
staking plants, use stakes about 8 feet long (and 1.5 inches wide if using
wood). Insert the stakes about 4 inches from the plant. This should
ideally be done right after transplanting out to prevent root damage. Set
the stakes 1.5 to 2 feet deep.
As the plants grow, remove the
suckers and tie the main stem to the stake. Tie strips of cloth,
nylons, soft cord or commercial ties around the stake and under the
leaflet branch about every 12 inches on the stem. Leave some slack (or use
those lovely stretchy pantyhose strips noted above) so you don't cut the
stem. When fruit begins to form, add another tie just below where
the shoot holding the cluster of tomatoes emerges from the main stem.