Staking Tomatoes

My best indeterminate tomato crops have been staked and pruned to one main stem. The purpose of staking tomatoes is to keep vines from getting unruly. It also keeps the ripening fruit off of the ground, where it will spoil quickly. Most years, I hammer in a 6 foot tall 1″x1″ into the ground near the plant and tie it on with fabric strips.

This season we were lucky enough to inherit an aging metal pergola from our neighbours. I thought that it could be brilliantly recycled to tie up our tomato crop. It’s also a solid enough structure that we could cover it in clear plastic, if/when we needed to protect the tomatoes from excessive rain. Thank you to Bud & Roseanne!

To string the tomatoes up, I started by tying a loose loop around the base of each sprawling plant.

I then tried to throw the ball of twine over a single, specific bar without having it fly off and unravel. If you can do this in less than 3 tries, you’re way ahead of me 😉

Once I had recoiled my ball of twine, I tied a loop in the base string at eye level and proceeded to secure it with a slipknot. The slipknot will enable me to tighten, or loosen, the string if the tomato plant needs to be readjusted.

I wound the string around the main stalk of the tomato plant and pulled it taut. I’ll continue to wind the string around the plant to support it’s upright, future growth. Along the way, I’ll remove all the “suckers” that grow between the main stalk and the leaves, of each plant. These suckers, if left to grow, will cost the tomato plant a lot of energy and only produce inferior fruit.