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Tying up Your Tomatoes

July 24th, 2013

If you planted tomatoes in your 5×5 Challenge garden you’ll want to provide support for them.  It can be something as simple as a large garden post or a beautiful iron trellis.  I usually use wooden stakes, but I used two metal trellises in my 5×5 Challenge garden (it is in the front lawn right by my front door).
tying up tomatoes 3
There’s not really a trick to tying up tomatoes, you just don’t want to tie them too tightly and risk damaging the vines.
tying up tomatoes 1 (1)
I like to use natural jute or hemp rope, but you can use all manner of things. Since I have a lot of tomatoes to tie up, I typically spend time one evening cutting a lot of foot long lengths of rope. This avoids having to stop often to cute lengths of twine, which saves a good deal of time if you’re tying up 30 tomatoe vines!
tying up tomatoes 2 (1)
Tying up tomatoes is quite easy, but it’s a garden chore that shouldn’t be neglected. I check weekly to see if the vines need extra support. If you wait too long the vines have a tendency to sprawl and you risk breaking them when trying to tie them up.

What do you use to support your tomatoes?

13 Comments to “Tying up Your Tomatoes”
  1. Joan on July 24, 2013 at 6:24 am

    I love your metal trellises!

    Usually I wait too long and end up doing a sort of modified ‘Florida trellis system’ because it’s about the only way to contain the sprawling plants. This year I planted many of my plants in my vacant chicken pen, so am tying them up to the wire on the side of the pen with twine. Some of the tomatoes are in the middle of the pen, and I ran a couple of small logs across the top of the pen, hung twine from them, buried this under the plants, and am twisting the plants up the twine as they grow. I really like this system and will try to adapt it to my regular garden space next year!

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  2. Greg on July 24, 2013 at 7:57 am

    I just did that … a branch (vine?) with 5-10 tiny cherry tomatoes on it and several more flowers ready to become tomatoes, was trying to lift it up to the string I had already run between the stakes… and it snapped :( I like the idea of cutting the twine first. That cutting part (while tying up vines) is always annoying! :)

    PS… I was reminded this morning how much I love the smell of tomato plants :)

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  3. kristin @ going country on July 24, 2013 at 8:58 am

    Why, I did a WHOLE POST about this very subject not too long ago:

    Because my tomatoes obviously occupy a very prominent position in my priorities. And I like to inflict this craziness on other people by writing far too many words about how I support them.

    Reply to kristin @ going country's comment

  4. Lemongrass on July 24, 2013 at 9:10 am

    i use bamboo stakes and leftover knitting/crochet yarn wrapped around the bamboo. because i do the wrap-around i do not have to cut the cutting. it is an experiment…….will see how it works.

    Reply to Lemongrass's comment

  5. Natalie on July 24, 2013 at 9:17 am

    I haven’t staked most of my tomato plants this year. There are a few my husband put tomato cages around. Having a new baby in the summer makes it complicated to do things, like staking… We are watering, though!

    Reply to Natalie's comment

  6. Allison on July 24, 2013 at 9:48 am

    This year I decided to weave the growing tomato plants through re-mesh that is staked upright and slightly curved. In the past I tied my plants to stakes but the plants always get too big and end up being a hot mess of stakes, twine and plant all tangled together in attempt to keep the massive plants upright. Next year I might construct a few sturdy wood cages out of 2×2.

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  7. whit on July 24, 2013 at 11:12 am

    We have pipes in our hoop house that I use string to tie the plants to. Next year, I may try to plant one plant in between every stake, so I don’t have to prune them when the single stem divides. That has really slowed down some plants this year.

    Reply to whit's comment

  8. Caroline on July 24, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    I use the traditional tomato cages.
    I did run out of them, and had more plants than cages, so I bought some bamboo poles and have used a couple of those. One plant is simply strapped to the pole using that velcro stuff they sell. The other bamboo pole is used in conjunction with a cage because it grew too tall for the cage! I’ve also used the velcro for that.

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  9. Songbirdtiff on July 24, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    My tomatoes get way too big to tie. This year I finally made concrete mesh cages, 5′ tall and 24″ in diameter and they still aren’t quite big enough to keep everything in control. My biggest cherry tom plant is about 7′ tall now. A lot of things are a challenge to grow here, but it seems to be the perfect environment for tomatoes.

    Reply to Songbirdtiff's comment

  10. AmyS on July 24, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    I have tried many different types and this year I used bamboo which seems to be doing well. also tying up with old pantyhose.

    Reply to AmyS's comment

  11. kathi Cook on July 24, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    Every year I try a new method as it seems I still haven’t found the perfect one. I like the teepees using three stakes tied together with a plant at the base of each, but this year I used mostly purchased tomato ladders. They are not tall enough (which always seems to be my problem with most methods.)

    Reply to kathi Cook's comment

  12. Karla on July 25, 2013 at 2:37 am

    I cut up a nylon net with ~7-inch squares so that I could tie the four corners of each piece to plastic garden stakes in multiple layers that are parallel to the ground and about one foot apart. The tomatoes grow up through the layers of netting, and the semi-elastic support works well when the windy summer storms come. This year I gave the structure a little more rigidity with some metal stakes that I garden velcro’ed to the plastic stakes. At the end of the season I take a scissors to the tomato plants to better extract them, and save the structure for the next year.

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  13. Misti on July 25, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    I just saw a great and more utilitarian way of keeping tomatoes up on a bog I read: Might have to try that next year, mine are insane.

    Reply to Misti's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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