Staking tomatoes in containers: good preparation now will save you come August!


If there are any serious gardeners out there reading this, they will most certainly scoff at this post.  You guys know how to stake tomatoes already but one of my friends asked me to post about how I stake my tomatoes.  This is her first year gardening, so I’m happy to oblige!  So here we have my tips on staking tomatoes in containers.

First, I have to say that my Florida readers are going to laugh at how late this is to be staking tomatoes.  I’m sure your plants are huge down there!  But these plants are huge for my area of Virginia.  We had a frost just last week so a lot of people are just now planting their tomatoes.  I use these season extenders that I buy on Amazon so my plants have been out for a month.  I can’t praise these things enough.  I have tomatoes growing on my vines and the neighbors are just now putting out seedlings!

Anyway, my staking method is pretty darn simple.  I don’t use tomato cages anymore because they’re always just way too small.  The Ultomato cages worked great for me until I moved to this house.  Now that I get so much sun my plants are simply too large for cages.

So here are some of my plants before staking.  You can see that they’ve outgrown the season extenders so they definitely need support.

IMG_1180Step one is just putting three stakes into the pots.  For determinate varieties I use 6′ stakes and for indeterminate I use the big, thick 8′ stakes.  I’d definitely recommend investing in the 8′ stakes now rather than getting the 6′ ones and having to restake your plants in late July.  Because that’s a real pain in the butt.

staking tomatoes in containersAnd now you just tie twine around the stakes at about 8″ intervals.  I’m noticing now that you can barely see the twine!

staking tomatoes in containers

I like this so much better than cages.  Not just because this accommodates much larger plants, but because it’s so easy to adjust as the plants grow.  If a branch gets out of control and grows out of the middle of the “cage,” I don’t have to try to squeeze it back into the existing structure.  I just add another “arm” of twine!

I do have a friend of the family who stakes all his tomato containers together in a row.  That works well for him, but I like to be able to move plants around the porch as the light changes throughout the summer.

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