Hello friends! My name is Janna.  I’m Joey’s wife.   I also love to garden, so I thought I would give this blogging thing my husband is always doing a try.

Warmer weather means tomato season is just around the corner.  There is nothing better than eating a  homegrown tomato fresh from the garden.  A question I have been struggling with since I started growing tomatoes,  is what is the best way to stake them.   Since we live in the city, space is one of my primary concerns.    The first year we grew tomatoes I used cages.   They worked great, but with limited space I couldn’t get as many plants as I would have liked  into our raised bed.  They can also take up a lot of space when storing them during the winter.

The next year I looked  for an  alternative to cages.   I researched the internet and found a method of wrapping the tomato stem around a string as it grows.  This sounded like a good idea to me, and I decided to try it.   I didn’t know what to attached the top of the string to though.  I finally came up with the idea of making an arbor out of PVC piping.   I thought it would look a little more attractive if I sprayed painted the PVC pipes.   I first painted it a bright red, which looked horrible.  I then repainted it black, which looked better.

So this is what our tomatoes looked like at the beginning of  last summer.   You tie the string to the base of the tomato stem, and then as the tomato grows you wrap the tomato around the string.  This method requires a lot of pruning, and by the end of the summer I had multiple strings holding up each tomato.  Our tomatoes did okay, but definitely not as well as I would have hoped.  This may have been due to a couple of different things.   It was a HOT summer, and we got an infestation of  small white flies on our tomatoes.  Also it was my first time training tomatoes up a string, so I could have pruned too much. My main dissatisfaction with this method was it was not very attractive.

This year I decided to try something more tidy.   I found tomato ladders at one of my favorite garden supply websites.  What I like about this method is that it allows the tomatoes to grow very tall instead of sprawling, so I can fit a lot of tomato plants into a raised bed.  The ladders I bought are stackable.   I can stack three ladders on top of each other as the tomato plant grows  for a total of 91 inches.  This will work well for all of my indeterminate plants.   I think they look nice….. well much better then my PVC arbor anyways.  The disadvantage of this method is that the ladders are expensive, although they are supposed to last many years.

I will keep you updated on how our tomatoes are doing.    Here is how the tomatoes look  so far.

This is after they have had a little bit of time to grow

So how do you stake your tomatoes?