Now that it’s warmed up a bit the tomatoes have really taken off: they’re even starting to bud! I’m pinching off half of these buds to encourage some more green growth, hoping for more production later. Knowing that tomatoes get very large down here, and those traditional cone shaped cages never really worked well. After some internet research talking with other gardeners, here it is…
Wooden sides, attached to 3′ garden posts driven deeply into the ground. The pipe is some metal conduit (won’t bend as much as pvc and is more UV resistant) i picked up at the community forklift for a few bucks. Drilled a hole through the wood and ran the pipe through the hole. I put some pipe clamps on the outside of the pipe to make sure it doesn’t slip out the wood. Got to prepare for a summer thunderstorm with 3 6 foot tall plants swinging about!
As the plant continues to grow, simply twirl it around the twine. I’ve left some extra string at the top incase i need to loosen it over the summer. It’s attached to the base of the plant with a very loose knot, leaving a good inch of space around the stem so i don’t damage it.
Keep in mind that this only works for indeterminate tomatoes (look on the seed packet), meaning that they fruit as they continue to grow taller instead of fruiting only at the top of the plant. You also have to pick a central stem and prune off any side shoots that try to grow. Here’s a good video demonstrating that.
This creates a nice upright plant, with plenty of air flow and light getting to the leaves and fruits, giving you a higher yield in the end.