A New Way to Stake Tomatoes?

I made the title a question because I don’t actually know if this is the original, brilliant, ingenious method I’d like to think it is. In any case, I was thinking about the different ways gardeners keep their tomatoes up off the ground. I found out early on that the little cages are just worthless. I quickly moved on to using individual stakes for each plant, pruning to one or two vines (at least at first) and tying them to the stake. It’s a bit laborious. I was considering moving to training vines up twine to save on the number of stakes I’d have to install but I’d still have to have a support structure that was even sturdier for the twine. Then I had something of a brainstorm. What if I gave each plant it’s own stake and twine? The whole step of knotting and cutting the support ties could be eliminated!

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I started with one of the wider stakes I have that was ripped from an old piece of cedar decking. I drilled a hole at the top…

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…and one at the bottom. I looped a length of heavy, non-stretching cord—clothesline, I think in this case—through the holes and tied snugly to lay flat against each side of the stake.

Starting to Train

When my test subjects were tall enough to start training I just pruned as usual and started to loop them around the cord. At first it was a bit random looking because the plants had leaned away from the stakes and I didn’t want to snap them by forcing them too far. With a cord on each side of the stake I can train two vines from one plant separately.

Totally Twisted

Now that they’re taller and I’ve made a few more turns making sure to hook the leaves around the cord. It looks like it’s actually going to work! I wish I’d done more than a few stakes, now. Not all my wooden stakes are wide enough to drill like this and still maintain their strength, but I think I could rig up something similar on them as well as the steel stakes I have. If this method continues to work, I might well be growing all my plants this way next year. It takes considerably less time to train up the plants.

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9 thoughts on “A New Way to Stake Tomatoes?

  1. I hate tying up tomatoes. It is hot, boring work. With a bit of foresight at the beginning of the season it looks as if you have saved yourself a lot of time. I hope it works out as it looks like a brilliant idea. Amelia

  2. growntocook

    Brilliant! And I have certainly not seen it before so you might very well be the first gardener to have thought of this clever solution 🙂

  3. Pingback: A New Way to Stake Tomatoes? | Shady Character | WORLD ORGANIC NEWS

  4. I use cages made from remesh (a welded steel mesh with 6×6 holes used like rebar when pouring concrete) but if I add more than the 30 or so tomatoes I have been planting the past couple years I like this idea. I have used the Florida weave method (or something similar) when I worked at a CSA, where they had hundreds of tomato plants, but that again requires maintenance every few days and you have to tie each plant to the guide lines individually. How tall are your stakes?

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