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Discussion Starter #1
I am still pretty new to gardening and was wondering if someone could help me out.

~What is the best way to cage tomatoes?

Last year we had the regular wire cages which ended up getting top heavy and falling down even with supports. We forego the cages this year which I think was a mistake because things aren't ripening as soon as I would think and the plants have taken up alot of room spreading out.

~Are there certain types of tomatoes that require caging and some that don't?

~Can someone point me in the right direction for information on the different types of tomato plants?

~What have you found to be a most effective way to support the plants?

I would sure appreciate any help you could give me :)
 

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Can't stop thinkin'
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I'm no gardening expert; still learning myself! But one thing I came across and used this summer with pretty good results is the wire stands that wreaths go on at funerals and cemetaries. It sounds kinda morbid and all, but I know a grounds keeper and all they do with them is toss them in the trash when the flowers die. He saved a couple dozen for me. They are triangular shape and I position them over the plant and depending on how the plant is growing I use a twistie tie to attach it to the stand. Don't tie the twistie too tight as you want your plant to have freedom of some movement, but the tie will kep it close to the stand. Hope that helps some; and best of all they are free...
 

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Nohoa Homestead
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Tirzah said:
I am still pretty new to gardening and was wondering if someone could help me out.

~What is the best way to cage tomatoes?

Last year we had the regular wire cages which ended up getting top heavy and falling down even with supports. We forego the cages this year which I think was a mistake because things aren't ripening as soon as I would think and the plants have taken up alot of room spreading out.

~Are there certain types of tomatoes that require caging and some that don't?

~Can someone point me in the right direction for information on the different types of tomato plants?

~What have you found to be a most effective way to support the plants?

I would sure appreciate any help you could give me :)
I have seen a lot of gardens with these teepee things. I'm thinking they were for the tomatoes but I am not sure. I use the regular tomato cages for my determinate and we have PVC trellises set up on our raised bed for indeterminate types.

donsgal
 

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Indeterminate varieties don't cage well as they keep growing all season. Determinates only reach a certain size and then grow no further and so a simple stake is usually enough.

Look up "Florida Weave". It's the technique that's been the most effective for me, and it's very cost-friendly as well.
 

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I used 8 foot tall t-post and tied the plant loosely to the post. Worked ok until the plants grew faster than I could tie. And some plants have outgrown the posts. There are smaller tomatoes, developed specifically for container growing that don't need much support. Check Shumways Totally Tomatoes seed catalogue. There is a wealth of tomato info in it.
 

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I use a cattle panel or field fence supported by T posts. Plant alternating sides as I go down the panel. Leave plenty of room to work with the plant when it's full grown. I hate working with crowded plants. I use strips of cloth rags to tie the bigger branches very loosely to the panel.
 

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Original recipe!
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I thnk it was Ruth Stout, maybe, who had a friend that used a square with wire support at 18 inches and 32 inches. 4 corners with 2/4 wire etc.. flat like a table at those heights. That's where tomatoes place most of their fruit. Gonna try it next year.
Several years ago I did a long low "table" with wire the whole way. Shaded the ground and held up fruts, but I should have made it bigger.
 

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STILL not Alice
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This year, I did mostly stakes. Lots of stakes. And since I had an abundance of zip ties, I used those to LOOSELY attach the vines to the stakes.

The plants are loving it -- they're going gonzo! And the garden is still relatively neat. So I may never cage again!

Only problem is, I am only now starting to see a blush on some of the tomatoes-- and I'm in Zone 5a! Oh, well, maybe I'll be able to finish processing all the cucumbers before the tomatoes start in.

Hmm... Wonder if I overdid it this year?

Pony!
 

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I use cattle panel supported by 2 or 3 t-posts, and I use string to tie the tomato plants up to the cattle panel. It works great for support, but I'd like to get more air circulation around my plants somehow.

For those of you who use stakes - that's what I see mostly around here. It looks like it allows for great air circulation, which I really need. We have lots of humidity and blight.

When you tie the tomato plant to the stake, don't the branches get real heavy and split and break off of the plant?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you everyone for your input! it is MOST appreciated! I didn't know the difference between determinates and indeterminates. I guess I will need to better plan my garden next year and do research on tomato types, tastes and yield.

Now I have a plan! Thank you again everyone :)
 
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