Tomato Stakes

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by rocket, May 5, 2006.

  1. rocket

    rocket Well-Known Member

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    Every year my garden gets a little bigger and I'm thinking it might be easier to switch from caging to staking my tomatoes. I'm also thinking that electrical conduit (aluminum) would be a cheap way to buy stakes that would last a long time. Anybody have any experience or opinions they'd care to share?
     
  2. Rita

    Rita Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My brother in FL uses the alum. conduit for tomatoes but they have very sandy soil and they are easy to drive in. If you have rocky soil I would guess it might not work as well. I gave up on cages as the wind tends to knock the whole thing over when the tomatoes get real big. I am going with 5-6 foot fencing t-posts. Easy to pound in and sturdy. Rita
     

  3. susieM

    susieM Well-Known Member

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    We have nifty spiral-type metal rods, that the tomatoes can be wrapped around, as they grow, no tying up needed.
     
  4. VALENT

    VALENT Well-Known Member

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    I wish I knew where I saw it but: I saw where someone was using a cattle panel 4ft by 16 ft at an angle against t-posts. The tomatoes would grow right up through the panel and it seemed to work very well.
     
  5. menollyrj

    menollyrj Joy Supporter

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    We're using old tobacco sticks, but I guess there aren't many of those running around in your area...

    Do you have a local sawmill that could cut you some inexpensively? Or could you find some recycled lumber and cut some yourself? They aren't difficult to make...

    -Joy
     
  6. rocket

    rocket Well-Known Member

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    Nope, not many tobacco sticks around here that I know of. Okay... just what IS a tobacco stick?

    And yes, wood stakes are usually least expensive. But my thought is that they'll only last a few seasons. I found 10 foot lengths of conduit (which I'll cut into two stakes) for $2.40. It's actually a little cheaper than wood stakes are selling for and the aluminum should just about last forever. The spiral and other metal garden stakes are nice, but they're all at least $5 each.
     
  7. Cindy in NY

    Cindy in NY Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You can also use thick PVC for stakes. We have a rather strange tomato setup here. We have two large "cages" that are constructed of PVC. Across the top of the "cages" I have a tightly tied piece of netting. I tie strings off the netting and tie the other end to a tomato plant (loosely). As the tomato grows, I can gently twist the string around the plant and I don't have to use stakes anymore.
     
  8. countryboy01974

    countryboy01974 Well-Known Member

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    I use cattle panels there 54 inches tall and 16 feet long .I stand mine straight up and drive three t posts to support each one then just weave the plant through them as they grow and tie some also. I've tried cages and different kinds of stakes but I like the panels the best
     
  9. menollyrj

    menollyrj Joy Supporter

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    Tobacco sticks are used when harvesting tobacco. (I know - brilliant flash of the obvious there...) The stem of the tobacco is speared on the stick, the sticks of tobacco (usually 12 plants or so per stick) are hung in a barn, allowing the leaves to dry & cure in the fall before being sold in the winter. I didn't know what one was until I moved here. (I'm originally a MD girl.) They basically look EXACTLY like a tomato stake, except they run about 8 inches taller. Since the tobacco quota buyout and tobacco settlement, my FIL has hundreds of them just stacked in his barn. (Growing tobacco isn't for the small farmer any more...) I've used them in my garden as tomato stakes and to make bean teepees. They're perfect...

    As far as the wood rotting, unless you leave them in the ground year-round, it would take SEVERAL years for there to be a problem... Would the aluminum get too hot and burn the leaves if it touched the plant?

    -Joy
     
  10. Marcia in MT

    Marcia in MT Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We've used conduit with good success in clay soil. Pound one end of it flat and closed, and cut off the edges so it forms a point. Now, no soil will get up inside and make it hard to drive in. If the soil is hard, you will deform the top by hitting it; slip some sort of capped sleeve over the end and hit that, and the end won't mushroom so badly.
     
  11. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Another vote for the straight up cattle panels.
    Put one old steel T post at each end, and one in the middle. We tie the plants to the side they are growing on with old cloth strips, or old panty hose. Last year we tried a new deal. We set a row of tomato plant along each side of a panel. we had about 12 plants on each side. It worked real well. The extra plants didn't seem to have any crowding problems. We never lean the panels, but for cucumbers it works really well to lean them at about 45 degrees. The pickles will grow up them on their own, and most of the cucumbers hang down on the under side. If you want the dark green long cucumbers like they sell in the stores, plant Straight Eights.
     
  12. Dink

    Dink Well-Known Member

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    I am using t-posts like Rita simply because I had extras.
     
  13. Rockin'B

    Rockin'B Well-Known Member

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    This is what I do as well. I plant the 'maters alternating down the panel so they don't get so crowded. Rag strips to tie up branches that need it.
    I have plenty of space so I plant them far enough apart that I can work with them without having to root around a crowded mass of plants.
     
  14. airotciv

    airotciv Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My husband uses, rebar and bailing wire to make his cages. Can be any size you chose. It depents evey year on what tomatoes and how many we grow.
     
  15. Pony

    Pony STILL not Alice Supporter

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    I use bamboo poles because I have a LOT of them. But DH also has a lot of conduit lying around the garage.

    I think I will ask him if he has any plans for it, because I might.... BWAhahaha!

    Pony!
     
  16. 1farmgirl

    1farmgirl Well-Known Member

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    I also go for the cattle panel method. I've been planting my tomatoes/ pole beans/ cukes/melons this way for 4 years and it works beautifully (I rotate crops in this space). These panels edge my garden and I am able to plant on both sides. I have them in raised beds and plant the square foot method.

    Kathy
     
  17. MoonShine

    MoonShine Fire On The Mountain

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    I have wooden stakes cut at a mill...cheap and durable enough if you take them up and cover them for winter.
     
  18. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I use 7 foot diameter cages with compost layered insid the cage. I then plant 6 to 10 plants on the outside of the ring and use the wire as a staking medium. I water through the layered compost. each ring yields me 400 to 500 pounds of tomatoes. I read about it years ago as the "Japanese tomato ring" but found out later it was developed in North Carolina.
     
  19. poppy

    poppy Guest

    I tried the trellis system last year and it worked better than anything I tried before. Set a wooden fence post solidly at each end of the row and plant your tomatoes. Then drive a metal fence post every 2 plants in the row. When plants are about 6 inches tall, tie a roll of nylon twine to one fence post, run it along the first 2 plants, then behind the 1st metal post along side the next 2 plants, then behind the nexr fence post and so on to the end. Then pull it tight and tie to the other wood post. Then run one back from that post on the opposite side. Add new strings as the plants grow every 6 inches. I read this is what commercial growers are doing. Takes very little time to tie them up after you set the posts.
     
  20. DrBraeburn

    DrBraeburn Well-Known Member

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    I use rebar for mater stakes