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Say Goodbye to Drooping Tomato Plants – 3 Easy Support Methods for a Bountiful Harvest

Say Goodbye to Drooping Tomato Plants – 3 Easy Support Methods for a Bountiful Harvest

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Want to plant tomato plants but find yourself asking questions like, can tomato plants grow without support? Do tomato plants need cages? How much support does a tomato plant need?

Not to worry! In this post, you’ll learn why it’s essential to provide tomato plants with structural support.

I also provide step-by-step guides on how to support tomato plants in 3 different ways. So, stick around!

Why Do Tomato Plants Need Support?

Let’s get one thing out of the way: Tomato plants don’t need supporting structures to grow – unlike other climber plants, such as roses.

But even though your tomato plant won’t need support to bloom and grow fruit, there are several reasons why it would benefit from one regardless.

These benefits include the following:

  • Keeping the fruit off the ground.

As tomatoes mature, they become heavier. In turn, this makes it harder for the plant to support its weight alone.

The plant will then need a supporting structure to hold it up, so it can better focus on fruit production.

  • Making the harvesting process easy for you.

With the fruit off the ground and in plump shape, harvesting will be a piece of cake!

Since tomato plants can grow quite tall, supporting them makes it easier to reach those juicy tomatoes.

  • Managing the plant becomes less of a chore.

Again, what with how tall tomato plants can grow (up to 6-10 ft.), managing them becomes a difficult feat if you don’t provide support.

A supporting structure makes it easier to prune and train your plant for maximum tomato production!

  • Preventing roots or shoots damage.

By supporting your tomato plant from the time it is planted, you put less strain on it as it grows.

Alternatively, planting the supporting structures at a later date will likely cause roots and shoots damage.

How to Support Tomato Plants: 3 Simple Methods

Alright, so we’ve established that supporting structures are super important for tomato plants, but how do you go about doing it?

Check out the 3 simple ways to support tomato plants below.

1 – Staking

Staking is the most common supporting structure for climber plants. It involves driving a metal or wooden stake into the ground and continuously tying the stem of your tall plant to the structure as it grows.

To determine how tall of a stake you need for your tomato plant, find out what kind of tomatoes you’re planting.

Determinate tomatoes grow from 3-4 feet tall and stop there. Indeterminate ones, however, will keep growing (up to 10 feet if possible) until the winter frost kills them.

This means:

  • Buy a 5-foot-tall stake for determinate tomatoes
  • Use an 8-foot-tall stake for indeterminate ones

How to Stake a Tomato Plant

With your appropriately sized stake ready, follow the steps below to plant it as a supporting structure for your tomatoes:

  1. Measure 4″ from where you planted the tomato seeds
  2. Drive the stake into the soil
  3. Use a hammer to dig the wooden/metal stake about 12-inches-deep
  4. Once the plant grows, tie the stem to the sturdy stake. You can use cut-up cloth, thread, or commercial plant ties.
  5. Keep repeating step 4 the taller the plant grows.

Pro tip: Make sure the ties make a loose figure 8. Don’t knot them too tightly to avoid damaging the plant.

2 – Fencing

Fencing is more complicated than staking. You have to deal with wire mesh or a heavy agricultural panel.

As such, I advise that you have someone help you when setting up a fencing system for your tomatoes. Make sure you also have enough space in your garden for this method.

How to Fence a Tomato Plant (Wire Mesh Edition)

Get about 6″ of concrete-reinforced steel wire mesh ready, then follow the steps below:

  1. Roll the wire mesh into a 5-foot-tall cage
  2. Cut the bottoms with steel cutters to create prongs that’ll dig deep into the soil
  3. Use a hammer to secure the fence-like cage
  4. Make sure the cage encompasses around 3-4 tomato plants, spread equally apart (about 2 ft.)
  5. Use zip ties to tie the stems to the structure as the plant grows

Pro tip: For maximum security, tie the cage to wooden/metal stakes with sturdy zip ties.

How to Fence a Tomato Plant (Agricultural Panel Edition)

Opting for a panel is way easier than using wire mesh. See for yourself:

  1. Depending on how wide your panel is, hammer in T-post, metal stakes into the soil, spread to the same width
  2. With the help of another person, move the panel to the garden
  3. Use wire or zip ties to secure the panel to the stakes
  4. Plant your tomatoes at the panel’s base, tying them to the fence as they sprout

Pro tip: For every 2-3 feet of panel, you’ll need to plant a stake to support it.

3 – Caging

Think of cages as private rooms for your tomato plants. How you pick them out will depend on how big your plant will grow to be and how much space you have in your garden.

For starters, you’ll have the choice to pick from round and square tomato cages. Round cages are best for small gardens and potted plants, while square cages are more suited for bigger plants and gardens.

As for width and height, the golden rule is: 5′ x 12″. The diameter can be 30″ if necessary.

Your cage should be sturdy enough as well. Make sure it’s made of concrete-reinforced wire and that it won’t topple at the slightest gush of wind.

How to Cage a Tomato Plant

Once you’ve picked the ideal cage, follow the steps below:

  1. Place the cage so that the plant is directly at the center
  2. Use a mallet or a hammer to push the cage down into the soil
  3. If the weather calls for it, plant stakes to further secure the cage
  4. Measure 4 ft. between each cage and the next
  5. Check that your hand fits comfortably through the cage for easy harvesting
  6. Tie the stems as they grow to the sides of the cage

Pro tip: If you’re wondering: how many tomato plants you should plant per cage; here’s the answer: only one.

Remember, a cage is a private room for your plant – there’s no ample space for more.

Final Thoughts

That’s it, gardeners! I hope this post shed enough light on how to support tomato plants using 3 of the most commonly known ways.

Whether you decide to cage, fence, or stake your growing tomato plant, remember that providing it with a secure supporting structure is inevitable. You can’t just cop out!

With stable support, you’ll see how your tomato plant rewards you with high yields and easy harvesting – trust me on that one!

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