When I started working at Gardener's Supply in the 1990s, my Vermont backyard was pretty green—with grass. Today, there's just a tiny bit of the original lawn left. Most of the available space has given way to trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals and stonework. Watch a slideshow of my garden in Burlington, VT.
In addition to my work at Gardener's Supply, I work in the gardening division at Church Hill Landscapes. In that role, I maintain dozens of gardens and learn a lot in the process. I believe that all gardening is good gardening.
To prevent rot, keep ripening fruit off the ground by using supports. This support has adjustable crosspieces, so you can add support where it's needed.
ONCE your tomato seedlings are in the garden, the next big decision is how to support them. Tomatoes are vines, not bushes. Most varieties are healthier and more productive — as well as easier to pick — when they are supported up off the ground. So what'll it be: stakes, cages, ladders or some other invention of your own?
Tomato Cages are among our most popular tomato supports. Choose them if you have plenty of space and little time for pruning and tying vines.
Tomato Ladders take up less space, so they're good for compact gardens. By adding height to the stackable ladders, you can still accommodate plants with long vines.
For small-space gardens, choose a compact support, such as the Tomato Ladder. It's ideal if you're using square-foot gardening techniques. And because the ladder is stackable, you can use it for just about any kind of tomato, from short "determinate" varieties to tall , "indeterminate" varieties. To keep the plant tidy and well-supported, prune the vines as they grow.
If you have a little more room, choose a cage-type tomato support, which is similar, but has a larger footprint. Because of the extra room, tomato cages can handle vigorous plants with little or no pruning and no need to tie the stems to the support.
You can also use a simple stake, but you'll have to spend more time tying the vines to the stake as they grow. In addition, pruning will keep staked plants well-supported and tidy.
Be sure to have some type of
tomato ties on hand, especially if your growing space is limited.
Not sure what type of tomato you want to grow? To help you choose, read this article:
How to Choose a Tomato Variety.
Whatever support you choose, you'll want something to tie up the vines. Tomato ladders and cage-style supports will require less tying and support; single stakes will require more. We like to use Foam Ties or Re-Usable Plant Ties, but torn-up T-shirts and nylon stockings work well, too.
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