Tomatoes are abundant producers in the home garden. As vines, they tend to sprawl on the ground under the weight of developing fruit. Staking keeps the plants upright, preventing the fruit from sitting on the ground where it is prey to insects and disease. Staking the tomatoes also aids harvest, as fruit is easily accessible on the upright plant. Stake up your tomatoes to improve yield and plant health without spending a lot of money.
Install a 6-foot stake that's 3 to 5 inches from the base of the plant. Install stakes shortly after planting so that the stake doesn't sever any of the tomato's roots when it is installed. Drive the stakes 10 to 12 inches into the ground to ensure their stability.
Prune the tomato to only the one central stem. Pinch off suckers that form between the leafing branches and the main stem before they are 4 inches long to prevent new side stems from forming.
Tie the tomato plant's main stem to the stake immediately above the first flower cluster that forms. Wrap a cloth or plastic plant tie around the stem, crossing the ends of the tie between the stake and stem. Finish wrapping it around the stake and tie it in a knot. Leave some slack in the tie, as overly-tight knots may damage the plant.
Secure the stem to the stake above each new flower cluster that forms at intervals of approximately 6 to 8 inches. Add plant ties as the tomato grows until you reach the top of the stake.