The (Tomato) Stakes Are High

comments (4) June 3rd, 2009

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Ruth Ruth Dobsevage, Web producer
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These tomato stakes were cut from an overgrown hedge.
With the stakes set out, the tomato seedlings can be planted adjacent to them.
This trusty red crowbar is heavy enough to make 12-in.-deep holes without a lot of effort. Thats deep enough to anchor a stake.
These tomato stakes were cut from an overgrown hedge.Click To Enlarge

These tomato stakes were cut from an overgrown hedge.

Photo: Ruth Dobsevage

A lot of gardeners scour the Web for plans and ideas for tomato trellises, and with good reason. Staking tomatoes is a good idea. With support, tomato vines can grow up instead of out, so more plants can be grown in less space. The garden is neater, and the fruit is cleaner and easier to pick.

If you aren't handy with tools or don't want to spend time and money creating a structure, don't fret. Here's a solution that's essentially free. We had a hedge that was out of control, maybe 12 ft. high, and my son pruned it down to ground level this spring. I trimmed the thicker prunings further, and set aside a number of them to use as tomato stakes. For indeterminate varieties (most of them) I chose the longest stakes (7 to 8 ft. long or more) and used the shorter ones for determinates.

To install them, I just punched deep holes into the soil using a crowbar. In went the stakes. I tamped down the earth a bit, and I was ready to plant the seedlings. I wasn't fussy about looks, as you can see. The effect is pretty ragged right now, but as the tomato vines grow, they'll cover everything anyway. 

How to support tomatoes

Get more info on growing and supporting tomatoes:

Growing Trouble-Free Cherry Tomatoes
Selecting and Growing Great Paste Tomatoes
How to Grow Beefsteak Tomatoes

 
• How to Support Tomatoes 
Three Garden Structures You Can Build 
A Freestanding Tomato Trellis Keeps the Garden Neat
The Ultimate Tomato Trellis


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posted in: tomatoes, trellis

Comments (4)

countylineproduce writes: As long as you don't stab the plant, you should be ok, try to stay a few inches away from the main stalk. Your tomatoes should have some good roots to compensate in case you hit 1 or 2.
Posted: 7:52 am on May 25th
mrgardenboy writes: My beefsteak tomatoe plants at first when i planted them the first week of May they looked bad. But Now They are very big thanks for the greaqt pictures and imformation!
Posted: 9:39 am on July 7th
Ruth writes: Your plants will be fine if you avoid putting the stakes right next to them. I'd suggest leaving about 4-6 inches just to be sure.
Posted: 4:52 pm on June 9th
sbreckenridge writes: Great idea! We just cut down a giant hedge too, and we have plenty of long, skinny branches that will make great stakes. So I've already violated the rule about putting in stakes before you plant your seedlings. How much damage might I do to the roots if I drive stakes in 12 inches deep now?
Posted: 4:48 pm on June 9th
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