Nothing tastes quite as good as a homegrown tomato. But there’s nothing quite as frustrating as having the rambling, fast-growing plants taking over a corner of the garden, flopping on the ground, and leaving the fruit exposed to soil-dwelling pests and decay.
Fortunately, there is an easy solution to all these problems. Staking tomato plants will keep the fruit and vines off the ground. The foliage will stay drier, and the whole plant will get better sun exposure and better air circulation, which can help prevent the spread of fungal diseases. Staked tomatoes are also easier to harvest, and it is much easier to weed and fertilize plants when the vines are staked and tidy.
In this video, we demonstrate the following staking techniques:
Tomato cages are an easy, popular solution. They take just a few minutes to install and will keep small determinate plants from flopping. But larger indeterminate plants will outgrow cages by mid-season and will likely need additional staking.
Staking tomatoes can be just as easy as it sounds. Drive one stake into the ground per tomato plant, and tie the plant to the stake as it grows. That’s it! Be sure to keep tying up the branches throughout the season.
The Florida weave is a solution that comes to us from commercial agriculture, and it offers a way to support multiple plants with fewer stakes. Install a strong metal T-post at each end of a row of plants. Drive in a wooden stake every 4 to 5 feet, and weave cotton twine or jute between the plants, wrapping around each stake as you go. This method can also be used to support pepper plants.
Agricultural panels are large, welded-wire grids that are sold at farm-supply stores. Install them by driving metal T-posts at each end of the panel, with one or two additional stakes spaced evenly along its length. Attach the panel to the stakes with wire or zip ties, and then weave tomato vines through the panel as they grow.
No matter which method you use, staking will help to keep your tomato plants tidy and healthy, and you will have easy access to your harvest throughout the season.
Learn more about growing tomatoes:
Get our latest tips, how-to articles, and instructional videos sent to your inbox.