Whether you grow a hearty supply of beefsteak tomatoes or a lush harvest of saucy roma tomatoes, there are many factors that affect the taste, size and health of the tomato plants. As the plants grow and the fruit ripens, the stems will sag and become susceptible to damage from insects, diseases and the weather when left unsupported. If your gardening budget or space is limited, and tomato cages are not an option, using stakes to support tomato plants of any variety, will ensure a healthy and bountiful harvest of your favorite tomato.
Stake tomato plants at the same time as planting the seedlings or starter plants into the ground. This will ensure that the stake is not driven through the root structure of the plant.
Place the stake at least 3 to 5 inches from the base of the tomato plant and drive it far enough into the ground that it will not rock back and forth easily.
Tie string or old pantyhose around the stake, then loosely pull it over the tomato plant. Do not tie directly below a cluster of fruit as the weight hanging over the tie may cause the cluster to separate from the plant. Continue to tie the plant to the stake, in the same manner, as it grows taller.
Prune off all but the main cluster, stem and two stronger suckers (branches that grow out of the stem). Each time you tie new growth to the stake, prune off new suckers to allow existing fruits to reach their full potential.