Tomatoes are one of the best treats of a summer garden, but as any gardener will tell you, the weight of the tomato fruit can cause damage to the plant itself. To keep your plants producing healthy fruit throughout the growing season, you need to support them by staking them. To stake a tomato plant you can use a tomato cage or a traditional plant stake, both of which are available at any garden center.
Using Tomato Cages
Put the tomato cage in place as soon as the tomato is planted in the ground.
Place the tomato cage over the tomato plant so that the plant is centered in the middle of the bottom points of the cage.
Push the cage points down into the ground at least 4 to 5 inches.
Leave in place until the growing season is over.
Using Garden Stakes
Insert the garden stake into the ground as soon as you plant the tomato. The stake should be placed 3 to 4 inches out from the bottom of the plant, and pounded into a depth of 1 foot. Thin wooden or bamboo garden stakes are ideal for tomato plants.
Wrap a piece of twine around the main tomato plant stem. Make a figure 8 between the stem and the stake. Wrap the ends of the twine around the stake tightly so that it will not move as the plant grows. The loop around the tomato stem should be somewhat looser so that the plant has room to grow and move slightly. The twine should be at least 1/8 inch thick so that it will not cut into the tomato plant.
Place another tie around the plant and attach it to the stake as the tomato plant grows, every 10 inches.
Loop twine around the plant stem just above a fruit cluster, and then tie it to the stake. This will ensure that the weight of the fruit does not break the plant stem or branches.
About this Author
A freelance writer for over 12 years, Traci Vandermark has written extensively on health and fitness topics. She is a student of health, fitness and nutrition at the International Institute Of Holistic Healing, certified by the American Association of Nutritional Consultants. Her articles have appeared in Catskill Country Magazine, The Lookout Magazine, Capper's, Birds and Blooms and Country Discoveries, to name a few.