Tomato plants get big. Really big. So they generally need a bit of support to keep them upright and stop them falling over with their own weight.
We’ve generally done this one of two ways in the greenhouse, a bamboo cane which we loosely tie the stem of the plant to, to help keep it upright, or a big bit of string hanging from the roof that we twirl around the plant. Both have worked brilliantly, although be warned, bush varieties with multiple stems need a wee bit more support than just one cane of string.
So how to…. Dead simple, with both, you want to put the support structure in place early so as not to damage the roots. I tend to do this when I first pot the plants up into their quadgrow pots (final pots or spots in the garden).
String is the age old method gardeners have used in greenhouses, so much so that greenhouse generally come with predrilled holes for tying your string supports now.
I wrap the string around the root ball of the plant when I am putting it into the pot. I don’t attach it to anything yet, as the plant is quite small, but as the plant grows I will loosely tie this string to the beam on the roof of the greenhouse (so it is vertical) and gently, every few leaves, wrap it once around the stem so that as the tomato grows the string tightened just enough to support the plant. Just enough. You don’t ever want this actually tight as it will cut and damage the stem as the plant grows.
Most often though, we use stakes to support the plants. Just because it’s more convenient and not so “fixed”.
For this we simply just put a stake into the pot when we transplant the baby plants and then as they grow, loosely tie the stem to the stake.
This year however we got some fancy pants new stakes… they are shiny and kinky (include Monty Don joke here). There’s really nothing to them other than they are shiny metal and twirly, that’s it. I just wanted to show them off 🙂
They are kind of a cross between our usual bamboo stakes and string, they are a stake, but they are curved so that we can train the plant around them like we do string. They still take a couple of loose ties though.
But the greenhouse looks like something from an art school degree show now with its sparkly exhibit!.