Staking and Supporting Tomatoes
There are as many ways to support tomatoes out there as there are gardeners! Here are some nice examples of homemade tomato supports, and you can view the videos below for details on how to make wire tomato cages and other supports.
You will want to set up some form of support for your tomato plants because once they are full of fruit they sometimes fall over and break branches. Always use a good heavy duty support or you can make one yourself keeping in mind the size of the plant when fully grown. You can purchase commercial tomato cages and supports or it is easy to make your own from materials at the hardware store.
Keep in mind that longevity and ease of storage come into play as you don’t want to have to remake new cages every year but if you leave them out in the garden until next year, that can shorten their life span in the case of pvc and wood.
Chicken Wire or Light Weight Fencing
Do not use flimsy chicken wire or light weight fencing or you will regret it once the plants are 6 feet tall and falling all over your garden. When you buy fencing for tomato cages, make sure the holes are large enough for your hands to get through to pick your fruit.
Bamboo makes wonderful long lasting supports so if you have access to large strong canes, they can be tied together in many ways to form supports and trellises.
Florida Weave Method
You can find all types of different support materials or you can use wire or twine and the Florida weave method (shown below) which ties twine tightly between posts but it requires that you keep your plant tying maintained through the season for the best results. Another method is to use flat sturdy fencing panels formed into an upside down V shape along the row that is joined above the tomatoes with cable ties or wire. This allows for the tomato branches to grow through the fencing and supports the branches while making it easy to pick the fruit.
Creating Cages From Hog Wire Fencing Material
We make our cages from “Hog Wire” fencing material and use cable ties or wire to form them into cages. Our tomato cages are supported with steel fence posts buried about 8″ into the ground so they don’t blow over.
Supports Using PVC Pipe
This support was built using PVC pipe, painted bright red! String can be wound around the main stem of the tomato or tomato clips can clip to the string to suspend the branches and hold the plant on to the string.
Supports Using Copper Pipes
You can also use copper pipes which age nicely and look beautiful after many years. Whether you choose the best materials for your garden by what you can find locally such as bamboo, or for it’s decorative value, your plants will appreciate the support.