Thursday, 28 June 2012

Staking Tomatoes

I spent this morning stringing up my 18 tomato plants. I'm doing less this year. One year I planted 55 plants of Romas and still found I needed to go buy four bushels to bottle at the end of it. So if I'm going to have to buy them anyway, I am just scaling back this year and putting in 18 plants of beefsteak tomatoes.

I don't use the wire tomato cages or wooden stakes. I have had the best success growing them up strings. They are vines, after all. And growing them vertically up strings allows you to fit them much closer together. My 18 plants, in two rows, take up a space approximately 5' long and 18" wide. I put up a simple frame above each row (two posts with a cross bar, nailed and lashed together). I gently tie a loop around the stem of each plant, which I've allowed to grow a bit first so they're thick and strong. Keep the loop under a strong-looking branch so it doesn't slip up the stem. Wrap the string a few times around the plant, working upwards and giving support to each branch. Then pull it up so there's no slack and tie it to the cross bar above.  Don't get too carried away pulling tight, or you'll uproot the plant. And ta da! It's done. Throughout the growing season, wind wayward growth gently around the string, and nip out side shoots so that you're growing more fruit and less greens.

There's nothing so lovely as a fat, fresh tomato, warm from the sun, sliced and broiled with a little mozzarella and fresh basil.  Don't you just love summer?

No comments:

Post a comment