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When growing tomatoes on your own, you soon realize the tomatoes are far heavier than the stems can handle. The plant will bend, lean, buckle, and droop under the weight of its fruit. So, you want to investigate the best way to support tomato plants laden with fruit.
The best way to support tomatoes is to use a wire mesh cage; this supports the tomato plant vertically and can help combat high winds by reducing lateral movement. Another advantage is that the holes in the mesh give plenty of tie-off points to secure trusses laden with fruit.
Table of Contents
- Supporting Tomatoes Is Important
- Materials for Tomato Support
- Initial Considerations When Supporting Tomatoes
- Choosing a Support For Tomatoes
- Using Fences To Support Tomatoes
- What is Upside Down Tomatoes
- Garden Design When Growing Tomatoes
- Best Type Of Stakes To Support Tomatoes
- What Are Tomato Cages
- How to Cordon Tomatoes
- Tomato Trellises
- Supporting Tomato Plants
- Conclusion on Supporting Tomato Plants Laden With Fruit
Supporting Tomatoes Is Important
Giving support will help tomato plants withstand inclement weather and high winds, and it can provide a host of benefits to the plant and help keep pests and animals away from breaking stems, rotting fruit, or overcrowding. If they aren’t supported, the damage will be inevitable.
Supports also make harvest time much easier because you can locate all the fruits without excavating your garden or potting pail. This means it will be easier on your hands and back, allowing for faster productivity.
Materials for Tomato Support
You can do things to help your tomato plants stand strong and tall while they bloom and form into fruit. There are a few different methods to do this, and it will depend on several factors.
- What is the tomato plant’s soil consistency?
- Is the garden area well-drained or wet?
- How many plants are in the garden, and what size will they be when mature (determines how much support is needed)?
- The kind of material you use can also make a difference. For example
Initial Considerations When Supporting Tomatoes
First, you want to evaluate how much space you have, where you plan to grow, how many plants you intend to grow (or already have), which type of tomato you’re growing and what kind of materials you have available. But, fashioning your support is better because you can customize it to your needs.
The Perfect Growing Area For Tomatoes
Your space and place of growth will be a huge determining factor in what kind of support you’ll use. If outside, consider the amount of rain, wind, and other weather that could affect your tomato plants. Animal and human activity will also influence this part of your decision.
If you’re in a small space or have an apartment patio, consider growing them upside down or using a simple stake. But, if you have ample garden space in your backyard, you can use a trellis, cage, or cordon.
Number of Tomato Plants to Grow
If you only plan on growing one or two plants, then simple stake support should suffice. But, if you plan to raise more than three plants or create your little patch of heaven, something like a trellis will be essential.
Large plants require large supports, and it is essential to realize that your plants will grow over the season and carry heavy loads.
Which Tomato Variety Is Best For Your Needs
Next, you have to consider the type of tomato you’re growing. They will require more sturdy support than grape tomatoes if they’re big and bulbous, like beefsteaks. For instance, if you’re only growing one beefsteak plant, you will want to have a cage or use stakes.
Choosing a Support For Tomatoes
When determining your goals and resources, consider what support will be pragmatic to your setup. There are several methods available, and you should think about each and whether the logistics will be practical for your purposes.
Using Fences To Support Tomatoes
In a backyard situation, avoid using your fence to support your tomatoes. Fences made of wood will quickly rot and weaken the fence, and some solid panel fences made of metal may cause oxidization.
Not only will this adversely affect the fence, but it can also affect the taste of the tomatoes. Chain-link fences are okay, but your tomato plants may become vulnerable to hungry animals, or your tomatoes could get stuck in the openings.
What is Upside Down Tomatoes
In recent years, growing tomatoes upside down are gaining popularity. You don’t have to support the tomatoes, making it even more accessible and hassle-free than traditional support. You water from the top, and all the nutrients and moisture run into the plant.
These comprise containers that hang from a hook installed into the ceiling of a patio or hung on a standing hook. You can make your own by drilling a hole into a handled bucket or garden pot. Of course, you can also purchase one designed for inverted growth.
Garden Design When Growing Tomatoes
If you are planning an entire garden, you might want to consider certain companion plants that will help promote the tomatoes’ growth and help them stand. This way, you won’t have to use any support and allow the permaculture to provide everything your garden needs.
So long as you’re mindful of overcrowding and nutrient competition between plants, it can be a beautiful self-sustaining system.
Best Type Of Stakes To Support Tomatoes
A string and a thin, sturdy piece of wood are a simple and traditional way to support your tomato plants. This is a perfect solution for when they begin sprouting, so you can train their branches and stems to grow in a more uniform position.
You can make stakes out of old mini-blind wands, wooden dowels, or a thin pipe. You could even use fresh branches from your garden pruning. You can buy gardening supports and dowels, but any straight, sturdy, and relatively thin stick will do.
Grab some string, rope, ribbon, or sandwich ties and affix the plant’s stem to your support. Always make sure you tie the plant securely so it won’t unravel.
What Are Tomato Cages
There are a variety of cages you can either buy or create for your tomato plants. Because of the complexity and engineering that goes into a cage, you may want to consider purchasing a towering obelisk or a cage comprised of metal, wire, or wood.
Wooden Contraptions To Support Tomatoes
If you want to create your own cage, consider using branches from your yard or local forest. Ensure they’re fresh and pliable, and workable into a lattice circle.
With a gentle hand, bend the plants into a dome-like structure and weave them in the same way you would see a fence. This method works well with bamboo or any other wood available, so long as it’s bendable enough.
Lattice Boxes for tomatoes
If you have old hardwood pieces, you can interlace them to create a square or rectangular structure for your tomato plants rather than a domed one.
Obelisks to support tomatoes
When you expect tall tomato plants, an obelisk might be better than a cage or a stake. This versatile wooden structure is sturdy, and you can lean a plant against it. You can use an old wooden ladder for this purpose too.
How to Use Wire; Metal Cages To Support Tomatoes
Almost any gardening center or home improvement store will offer wire or metal cages specific to tomato plants. They aren’t too expensive, but you can fashion one out of chicken wire, a hollowed old metal table, repurposed metal fencing panels, used pipes, etc. You can bend these into a dome, create a box, or even a ladder.
There is a little warning about using metal as support. If the metal has rust, do not use it with your tomatoes. Rust will rob the soil of nutrients and ruin the tomatoes’ taste. Of course, you can try to sand it off, but it’s better to err on the side of caution.
How to Cordon Tomatoes
Cordoning or stringing up your tomato plant is suitable for gardeners who lack space or protect plants from animals. You can hang a mesh cloth or cross-hatched wire fence over, above, and around your tomatoes. Then use something like hemp twine or sandwich ties to hold the plants up to the support.
This doesn’t have to be intricate or involve many pieces of material; you can make an at-shape with branches, piping, or dowels and string the plants up. If you can’t hang something straight over the plants, you can make an A-frame structure to encompass it. This is ideal for indoor growing and apartments.
Trellises are great for growing tomatoes in the garden because they allow for vertical growth and take up very little room. These are great to use against your fence as long as the fence is stable and resistant. But it is advisable to have a free-standing one.
When looking to purchase a trellis, some fancier designs are not only beautiful but practical. Some fold, expand or arch and come in various colors and materials that may add to the aesthetics of your garden.
But as mentioned above, you could also build your own out of metal, bamboo, willow, or other tree prunings from your yard. You can use old pipes, fish netting, wood palettes, or chicken wire to create a trellis for your tomatoes.
Supporting Tomato Plants
Tomatoes are a delicious and versatile fruit. You can make various sauces, toss them in salads, put them on sandwiches, and can them for overwintering consumption. So, growing these beautiful and bulbous gifts of the earth is smart and will save you money.
Knowing how to keep these beauties up and supported will make harvesting easier, produce better fruits and encourage straighter growth. Creativity, resourcefulness, foresight, and planning can help prevent potential problems later.
Conclusion on Supporting Tomato Plants Laden With Fruit
As discussed in this article, Tomato plants laden with fruit are burdensome; they require a robust and substantial support system to keep the plants upright and growing well. Hopefully, during this post, you have found a way that you can use to help support your tomato plants at home.
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