Tomato plants grow tall, with some varieties extending as high as 4 or 5 feet. Such plants can bear fruit that easily weigh the stalks down. When tomato plants grow unsupported, they eventually bend to the ground, making the tomatoes that touch the soil vulnerable to bugs, various diseases and rot. A plant that is stabilized by a sturdy stake as it grows will have a stronger stalk and produce a maximum amount of healthier fruit.
Select the stake. Stakes that are used to support tomato plants should be at least a 1/2 to 1 inch in diameter. Metal fence posts and wooden rods are commonly used in backyard gardens, but bamboo stalks can be used as well.
Choose where to place the stake. Position it at least 4 inches from the tomato plant so that you do not damage the main root system. Stakes should be placed in the ground as soon as possible after planting.
Drive the stake at least 12 inches into the ground, using a hammer to secure it in place.
Tie the plant loosely to the stake by using pantyhose or strips of cloth. Use at least two ties for each plant, positioning a tie in the midsection of the plant and the other near the top. Make sure the ties do not cut into and damage the stalk. Repeat this process with each tomato plant.
Prune the tomato plants as they continue to grow so that they do not become too tall. Add ties to any plant that needs additional support as it grows.