Vermont Garden Journal: How To Keep Your Tomatoes Off The Ground

May 27, 2016

No matter what kind of tomatoes you're growing, it's important to keep them off the ground or else you risk fruit rot and leaf diseases.

Here are four ways to keep plants up and off the ground:

If you're staking indeterminate varieties, pinch off the suckers when small so the plant doesn't overwhelm the stake. Also, use Velcro plant ties to attach them to the stake.

Buy or make 5 to 6 foot tall cages that can support heavy tomato growth. Save the little cages for peppers and eggplants. You can even combine the stake with a cage for extra support which can be very helpful during summer thunderstorms.

Stake and Weave 
This system is popular with commercial growers especially for determinate varieties such as Celerity. Pound in stakes after every two plants. Starting from one end, weave the string in an "s" shape back and forth around the tomatoes, then around the stakes. Continue down the row and as needed create a weave every foot up the stake as the tomatoes grow.

Trellis and String
Create a tripod at the end of the tomato row with 7-foot-tall poles and run another pole horizontally along the top of the tripod. Attach string to the horizontal pole and tie it to individual tomato plants as they grow. Make sure it's really sturdy for those heavy heirlooms such as Giant Belgium.