Members share tips for corralling tomatoes.
On the rack
I use old wooden clothes-drying racks (metal ones could burn plants) from garage sales to support my tomatoes. I plant two or three tomato plants at the center of each rack, and tie them to the rack as they grow. The racks fold flat for winter storage.
—Mary Lynne Sirutis, Bainbridge Island, WA
I bought a roll of welded-wire fencing with openings that are 2 inches by 4 inches. I cut it into 4-foot lengths, rolled each length into a cylinder, and attached the two ends by bending together the wires. You can cut larger openings in the wire to make harvesting simple.
—Alex Horvath, Bastrop, TX
Up and over
I grow cherry tomatoes on an arbor at the entrance to my vegetable garden. They look great and are easy to pick.
— Teresa Dimitri, Philadelphia, PA
I set up a sapling A-frame (like a swing-set) over my tomato beds, then string twine from the ridgepole of the frame to the ground. I bury the loose end at the base of the tomato plant. As the plant grows, I take off the suckers and wrap its leader around the twine.
—Andy Weidman, Lebanon, PA
Call in reinforcements
Concrete reinforcing wire is 5 feet tall and has 6-inch square openings that allow access to the tomatoes. Cut the wire into lengths to make a cylinder about 24 inches in diameter, bending together the cut wires to close the loop. Drive a steel fence post into the ground next to it, and tie the cage to the post. The support is important since vines get heavy.
—Roger Robeson, Wilton, IA
We stapled plastic fencing (it looks like plastic chicken wire) to our fence and trained the tomatoes to grow up the fencing. It saved space in our garden and made it easy to pick tomatoes and remove suckers. Because the plants were growing up instead of out, they got lots of sunshine.
—Kevin and Glenda Lewis, Longmont, CO
I cut one 10-foot horizontal piece of electrical conduit and two 71/2-foot vertical pieces. I attach them and push the vertical pieces 18 inches into the ground. Across the 10-foot crosspiece, I hang six cords. I tie them to stakes and anchor the stakes next to the tomato plants. As plants grow, I pinch off suckers and wrap the plants around the cord.
—Derwood Ferguson, Henagar, AL