How to train tomatoes

Here's how to support tomato plants as they grow

Caging tomatoes
Photo: Damien Scogin

Vinelike indeterminate tomatoes, including many cherry and grape types, are most productive when trained on vertical supports.

Install one of the systems shown here before planting.

Caging

Use a ready-made tomato cage or make one from a 6½-foot length of 5- or 6-foot-wide galvanized wire with 6-inch mesh.

Roll into a cylinder 2 feet in diameter, bending the ends over to fasten them. To anchor, drive 2-by-2 wood stakes 6 inches into the ground on opposite sides; secure with ties.

Staking

Use sturdy 6- or 8-foot-long metal T-stakes or rebar. Drive the stakes into the ground, 6½ feet apart. Plant four tomatoes in a straight line.

To guide the seedlings, securely wrap polyester twine around the stakes and stems to form a loop 6 inches above the ground. As plants grow, add more loops at 1-foot intervals.

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