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Old 09-06-2006, 12:32 PM posted to rec.gardens
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Default Staking tomatoes - first time

"" wrote in message

"JoeSpareBedroom" wrote in message
"Mike S." wrote in message
I'm growing tomatoes in pots and need some advice. The plants are now
about 12-18 inches high and I think it's time to stake them (probably
should've done that weeks ago). I don't want to damage the roots and I
don't want to spend a lot of money for something elaborate. I'd rather
just use tree limbs/sticks then to buy cages at the store.

How would I go about staking them with sticks (heavy, non breakable
ones of course)? Should I use some sort of teepee setup? I've never
done that before so any advice would be great.

I can't explain why, but intuitively, I think caging would make for more
balanced weight, so the pots would be more stable. When I chop down
plants in the fall, I'm always amazed at the sheer weight of all that
vegetation. Unless your pots are enormous, the plants will weigh enough
topple them with enough wind.

Never buy cages in the store unless they're a type I've never seen for

in 35 years of gardening. The type is called "big enough, and of the
shape". You're better off to make your own out of plastic covered metal
fence wire, the kind with the 2x3 inch holes. Form them into a cylinder
shape that's sized correctly for your pot. You'll still need stakes - one
for each side of the cylinder. This cylindrical cage will give the plant
loads of room and support. Grown this way, most of the fruit will also be
protected from the sun, which is a reason (but not the main reason) for
cracked skin.

Let me know if you'd like to see pictures of this cage idea.

Joe. If you are able to post a url for the cages I'd be interested.



Detail of attachment to posts:

What doesn't show in the pictures is the holes I cut in the cage to allow
hands to access tomatoes, some of which grow inside, sheltered by leaves.
Since the fence wire is green, the holes tend to become invisible among the
foliage, which sticks out all over the place. So, after cutting the holes, I
tie a piece of ribbon at each location. These cages have withstood some
pretty huge winds during summer storms. At the end of the season, I just
flatten them and hang them on a hook in the garage.