Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Training Tomato Plants

Our tomato plants have really appreciated the recent warm weather and are starting to really grow and flower, a few even have small fruit. Tomatoes left to grow on their own tend to vine and sprawl all over the ground. Taking the time to train them to grow up onto a structure of some kind will reward us with healthier plants with fruit that can be easier to pick. Campbell Gardeners are employing several different methods of training their plants.
Traditional style tomato cages in yellow and red complement the marigolds for a pretty combination...imagine red ripe fruit in this colorful  mix!
One of our Square Foot Gardeners is trellising their tomatoes on netting and PVC pipe.

This gardener decided to try out a combination of metal T-posts and wire after figuring out the cost to outfit his large number of plants with traditional cages...I think we could name his system a "Tomato Corral"

This gardener isn't growing tomatoes sideways, it just looks that way. They are staking their plants to wood stakes and are using old pantyhose and pipe cleaners to keep them in line.

This gardener is using stakes and twine to make a cross between a cage and a trellis.

This gardener found a very attractive solution to tomato cages that want to topple over. They enclosed the cages in bamboo tee pees.

For detailed instructions on how to prune and train tomato plants, see the two videos below.
Here is a video from the University of Main Extension Service that show how to stake indeterminate tomatoes:

Here is a link  from Fine Gardening Magazine on pruning and trellising tomatoes.

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