Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Home Vegetable Gardening: Support Your Tomatoes with These Ideas

Tomatoes rank first as the most popular item to grow in a home vegetable garden. Although botanically they are classified as a fruit, most people refer to them as vegetables. Regardless of what you call them, there are literally thousands of varieties to choose from. You can get them in the small variety such as cherry, grape or roma up through the big boys like beefsteak and each of those choices come in a widening array of colors. Whew! That’s a lot to think about right?

Not really. The number one recommendation of what to grow from many, if not all, of the vegetable gardeners I speak with at my vegetable gardening Facebook fan page is a simple straight forward one. Grow what you will eat. Don’t waste your time growing tomatoes that will just end up in the compost pile. The idea of growing your own food is to save money and grow food you like to eat.

With all of that said, most tomato varieties have weak stems. In other words the tomatoes produced are too heavy for the support system that the plant itself provides and will, therefore, lead the plant to fall over. The last thing you want as a home vegetable gardener is to have your tomatoes lying in the mud after a big rain. Here are some ideas that some of our Facebook members have come up with to give those tomatoes the support you need.

This is the basic method by which most people use including yours truly. With the protected cages available today that can withstand the weather elements, once purchased they can last you forever (so as long as you put them away in the winter time).

I have not tried this one myself but this recommendation came from on of our members who swear by it. They use the PVC by placing it behind the plant and then lightly tying the plant to the PVC. One person suggested growing the tomato plant inside the PVC tube, although I am not 100% how that works.

Able to some rebar for free off of craigslist one member said they drive the rebar vertically into the soil and use it as a stake. They use expandable Velcro ties (available at your local home or garden center), to tie the plants to the rebar.

Fence Posts
One member wrote in that they asked a neighbor for the fence posts of an old wooden fence they were taking down. The fencing was made from cedar and was neither stained nor treated, which is good because you do not want any chemicals near your tomatoes or any other vegetable for that matter. Attach to the fence post with one of the previously mentioned methods.

Lattice Fence
Another very creative idea that came in that I am definitely going to give a try to this season is the use of lattice fencing. A quick image search on Google will show what lattice fencing looks like. In any event, this one particular member actually weaved the tomato plants through the lattice as it grew. Very creative indeed and the plant was very well supported.

These are just five of the many, and I really mean many, ways to prop up your tomato plants. Pick a method that works best for the style of tomato plant you are growing and the area in which it grows. Over time you will find what works best for your home vegetable garden.

About the Author
Mike the Gardener Enterprises, LLC is the exclusive home of the seeds of the month club where you can sign up and receive 4 packs of vegetable, fruit and herb seeds every month.

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