Staking Tomatoes

Asked March 14, 2013, 4:33 PM EDT

I have had problems in the past with staking my tomato plants. I know there are many ways to do it, but what are some of your favorite options to stake tomatoes?

Utah County Utah fruits and vegetables vegetables horticulture

1 Response

StakingStaking requires wooden or metal stakes 5 to 6 feet long for indeterminate varieties and 3 to 4 feet long for determinate varieties. Wooden stakes should be at least 1 inch square. Metal stakes can be of smaller diameter and have the advantage of lasting many years. Do not use chemically treated wood. Sections of concrete reinforcing rods (rebar) make excellent tomato stakes. Space plants 18 to 24 inches apart in the row and drive a stake next to every plant or every other plant. Place the stake 3 to 4 inches from the base of the plant on the side away from the first bloom cluster to prevent trapping the fruit between the plant and the stake. There are many ways to prune and tie tomato plants. Limit staked indeterminate plants to two or three fruit-producing branches. A popular method is to select the main stem, the sucker that develops immediately below the first bloom cluster (a very strong sucker), and one other sucker below that. Remove all other suckers and as you tie the plants, periodically remove additional suckers that develop on selected branches. Tie individual branches to the stake with soft cord by first tying twine to the stake and then looping it loosely around the plant. Never tie a plant immediately below a fruit cluster because the weight of the fruit may cause the plant to sag and strip the cluster from the plant. Continue to prune and tie the plant as it grows. Practicing this method should give you good results.