Diary of an Average Gardener

Keep Tomatoes Staked

– Posted in: Garden Tips and Info

Why to Keep Tomatoes Staked

This year my tomato plants are the healthiest I’ve had in a long time. Even with the Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus and Early Blight. In fact, they are soooo big that they are overtaking each other. The leaves are extremely dense which contributes to the spread of Blight and TSWV. Also, with the plants so dense, it was close to impossible to saturation each leaf with the blight control spray.

staked Tomatoes

Tomato plants need to have plenty of ventilation throughout the entire plant. Air and sunlight need to reach all of the plant. So it’s important to keep tomatoes staked or supported so that they get enough airflow and sunlight.  As I wasn’t expecting to have the plants grow to such magnitude  and have the leaf structure so dense, I needed to stake the tops up so they wouldn’t block or inhibit air and sun. More importantly, I wanted to do everything I could to prevent the spread of Early Blight. When I first planted the tomatoes, I used cone shaped cages. Once they grew beyond those, I tied the long branches to 5 foot stakes. Well, they continued to grow and get more tangled with each other, so I added some 6+ foot stakes. I think this should keep them from smothering each other. Let’s hope so because I couldn’t find any longer stakes. This picture was taken the first week of July.

Problem….when it rains, the weight of the plants has caused the stakes to slant or come completely out of the ground, so be sure to push the stakes far enough into the ground to remain stable.

tie-to-stake

To tie up the branches, simply make or purchase stakes, push them into the ground. Using some kind of twine, simply tie the branch to the stake and hope it stays in place longer than mine did. I did have to re-stake a few of the heavier branches.  My stakes are a little haphazard, but I put them in places that would hold up the branches, not so they would look organized. With my Virgo personality…..I have to resist the urge to pull them all out and put them into neat little rows.

 

Sometimes it takes multiple stakes just to keep the plant(s) upright. Other times you may have to keep tying the branches further and further up the stake.

Multiple ties needed

more stakes might be needed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cage  and stakes for peppers

garden-staked

Finished…for now

Even my pepper plants have needed more support, not just a cage, but a few stakes as well. My Cubanelle is a little over 5 feet tall at present (August 6) and shows no signs of slowing down.  The whole raise garden seems to be going strong. Next year I’ll know not to plant as close together as I did this year. And to put the stakes…neatly…into the ground around the plants…before they get so dense. It’s a learning process.

Note the pepper plants below have  exceeded the height of the tomato cages I used. If they keep growing, I’ll need to stake these as well.

 

peppers-outgrow-cages

To see these pictures full sized, go to my Picture Gallery