Dana’s Big Gardening Adventure: forming a tomato support group

 Occasionally, we all need a little help to stand straight (especially after tequila!) and it turns out tomatoes are just like us.

I’ve learned a lot with my big gardening adventure experiment. One of my recent lessons is that tomato cages aren’t strong enough to support a healthy tomato plant. Stakes, I’ve learned, are the way to go.

When I planted my tomato seedlings in late May they were less than 6 inches tall and the cages I found at the local garden centre seemed more than adequate support for the mature plants I envisioned they would grow into; however, as you can see above, I was wrong. So very, very wrong. This picture was taken right after I got home from holiday two weeks ago. While I was away in the Yukon, my poor tomato plants had fallen and couldn’t get up!

It’s so hard for me to believe that in April these bushes, now waist high and laden with heavy fruit, were but mere tomato seeds. Their growth is really astonishing!

I made an emergency run to the garden centre and picked up some lightweight but stiff metal stakes and some stretchy garden tape. After working the stakes into the soil near where the plants are rooted, I carefully untangled the arms of each plant and did my best to tether them to the stakes. So far my bindings are holding and within the next day or so I’ll be eating tomatoes!

4 Responses to Dana’s Big Gardening Adventure: forming a tomato support group

  1. At least you HAVE tomatoes. My mom’s are the size of ping pong balls and lime green. She’s got cages on them, but they aren’t needed.

    We just can’t get a handle on this year’s weather. Lavender was stunning, but the veggies? Let’s just say I’m glad we have a local farmers’ market.

  2. Kitt says:

    I have some four-legged pyramid-shaped trellises I got cheap at Tuesday morning that work well as attractive tomato supports. I put them in the ground first, then dig a trench all the way around the base and lay down four tomato plants in their sides so just the top leaves are sticking out at the base of each leg. Then I try to stay on top of tying the main stems to the trellis as they grow.

    “Try” being the operative word. They’re still a sprawling mess, but mostly supported off the ground, and laden with ripening tomatoes (I’ve already harvested quite a few).

    I’ve also see people use a circle of heavy-duty stock fencing as tomato cages, and that seems to work well but is not as attractive.

    You’ll get tomatoes yet! Even if they’re sprawled on the ground.

  3. danamccauley says:

    Great tips Kitt! Thanks. : )

    I’ve also learned that I should have put my tomato plants a few feet over. The spot they’re in gets less sun so I am waiting and waiting for ripening.

  4. Cheryl says:

    I have a neighbor who took pity on my lack of gardening ability and brought me over a tomato plant in late spring. She planted it, fertilized it, and left. I ignored it, and man is it a sad little specimen. I’m too lazy to even pull it out of the ground. I feel like I need a reminder of what a bad tomato mother I am so I don’t accept such gifts in the future.

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