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Grow with KARE: Helping tomatoes thrive

Tomatoes are the most popular plant in our veggies gardens. But they are also a little high maintenance. Bobby and Laura show you ways to support this popular vine.

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — Tomatoes are the most popular plant in our veggie gardens. Truth be told, however, they are also a bit high maintenance. 

Actually a vine, tomatoes need support to grow and thrive, and there’s certainly more than one way to do that. Regular cages often work fine, but can sometimes be a bit too weak for bigger tomato plants.  

Heavy duty cages are much more reliable but can get a bit pricey if you have several tomato plants.  

Simply pounding a sturdy stick, pole or stake into the ground near the base of each of your tomato plants can also work well. As the plant grows, use a string or a strip of fabric to gently tie the main stem to the pole. Make sure your poles are at least 4 feet in length. 

Last year I used the Florida method for my tomatoes and was really happy how it tuned out. To do it, your tomatoes have to be grown in straight rows.  Here’s how it works. 

  1. Find or purchase sturdy sticks, poles or stakes, at least 4 feet long.
  2. Pound one into the end of each row of tomatoes and again in between every three plants or so.  
  3. Tie a sturdy string, like jute rope to the end stake low to the ground.
  4. Weave that rope through the tomato plants along the row tying it to each stake as you get there. 
  5. Secure the rope to the stake on the other end. 
  6. Repeat every six inches as your tomato plants grow through the season.

There are a ton of amazing tomato trellis instructions online too. Find a method you are comfortable with and give it a whirl. Here's a fun blog post from You Should Grow with 10 additional ideas!

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