Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tomato Finale! How to Stake Tomatoes Long After I Should Have

We can't mow here anymore.
Many tomato support systems have tried and failed, mostly by being too short.  As a small person, I will have to contemplate my feelings about that for a few years and maybe get some counseling when it inhibits my ability to function.

These are some of the ways I tried to stake the overgrown tomato plants:
  • Traditional tomato cages... sunk to the first ring, didn't tip over or give out but they are hard to find in the tomato jungle.  I am going to spray paint them yellow and florescent pink over the winter. 
  • The fat-bottom, well-designed tomato cages look the best and cost the most.  I took the one I had to the independent Ace hardware and got the run-around from a guy who insisted they never carried them.  The manager said the same until I whipped out my cage!  He knew what it was and looked it up and they could still get them. The minimum order was 10 and they were $8 each.  They are made by a company called Glamorous Wire Products so when they arrived, I dressed them up with hats and sunglasses.  The tomato plants don't look any better than the others and aren't producing any more than the others, but their little patch looks neat and tidy and very colorful.  They are easier to fertilize since they are not a tangled pile. 
  • The teepee couldn't fit between the overgrown and too closely planted tomato plants. 
  • Cheap Lumber really excelled.  The plants in it were tied up first, grew fastest and were the first to jump ship into the lawn.  My intention to tie them with jute rope wasn't practical.  The rope wouldn't tie into tight knots.  I switched to twine.  So far, the tomatoes have not had any damage they couldn't outgrow.

We Used Perfectly Natural fertilizer because we had a lot left over from a drop shipment a couple years ago.

In the end, all the tomatoes outgrew their frames and trailed out into the grass, but continued to produce anyway.  The ones in the grass actually had less critter damage and bugs.  I have two theories about that: 1-it's cooler and we have fewer bugs, 2-The tomatoes were harder for the culprits, and me, to find because they were woven into the weeds.

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