Help your Tomatoes Grow Healthy with Plant Stakes
Staking is one way of helping crops grow and yield better produce. Use of plant stakes allows for providing effective support so that plants and young trees can be guided as they grow higher. Some trees though do not need staking as they can stand upright on their own.
Using Plant Stakes for Tomatoes
To keep your tomato plants from taking up too much ground space and to assure healthier and cleaner tomatoes, gardeners provide support for their plants. They also train the crops to grow in a certain way, as well as pinch off regularly for unwanted growth. Using plant stakes is one preferred way of providing support for tomatoes.
There are several advantages of plant staking like: saving space allowing you to grow more crops in limited space; keeping the tomatoes and the vines away from the ground (results in cleaner fruits that are free from rotting); earlier/faster harvest as staking forces the plants to ripen earlier; larger fruits; easier harvest because picking and working around the plants is easier too.
Use of plant stakes may have some disadvantages too like it may take time to stake, tutor/train and prune the crops. Staked tomatoes may also require mulching using materials like grass clippings or hay. But, despite these disadvantages, staking for tomatoes is still very much recommended.
It is important to know though that’s not all tomatoes need staking. The variety of tomatoes stops their growth at certain height – fairly short usually. The growth stop happens as the main stems start forming flower buds at the top part where fruits are produced. Determinate tomatoes have stout and short stems that provide the needed support, thus plant stakes are not needed.
Tomato variety with indeterminate growth practice continues to grow high through the season; especially if fed well and allowed to take off. The tomato plant may grow from six to 15 feet high, and that would definitely need staking.
The patio or dwarf type tomatoes also need staking. They only grow high for two to three feet, produce cherry tomatoes and perfect for small or container gardening.
When using stakes for your tomatoes, it is better to stake on the plant’s dominant downwind so then it can lean against the stake when there is hard-blowing wind. The recommended measurement for tomato stakes is eight feet, but it can be shorter depending on the variety. The stakes should be placed on the ground as soon as you have set out the tomatoes. Drive the stakes about one foot into the ground soil and about three to five inches from the roots of plant. It is important to make sure that you are not staking on the root. As your tomato plants grow, you must tie strips of cloth or nylon stockings tightly to the stakes and then loosely around the tomato stems. Allow for room (and inch or maybe two) of slack. As the tomatoes grow, more ties will be needed.
Bird Net to Protect Tomatoes and Other Crops
Protecting your crops from invaders like pests, insects, birds and weeds is very important. Trellising will be enough to avoid weeds as the plants are trained to grow up. Bird netting though is the much better option as it provides an effective barrier between the crops and the invaders.
When you use a bird net, you eliminate the need to use synthetic pesticides and insecticides. These products are harmful and can provide potential damage not just to the plants, but also to humans, pets and the environment.
There are different types of bird netting systems available in the market today. The most recommended is the plastic mesh bird netting. This option is ideal because it is affordable and reusable. It is also easy to install and that means saving the farmers labor time. With a properly installed plastic mesh, also trellising may be unnecessary, so that’s more labor and money saved.
Long Bean Netting for Successful Support
Planting long beans is easy. Growing them, on the other hand, will require additional effort. Undergrowth weeds are long beans’ enemies because they both compete for the supply of light, water and nutrients. Weeds also cause other issues because they host insects and carry diseases, and these are invaders that can interfere with the health and growth of the crops (eventually affecting quality and production).
The good thing about netting your long beans (and other crops like peas and sweet beans) is that it allows for easy maneuvering during inspection, management and harvesting. Long bean netting is affordable and easy to install, so that means you would not have to spend a lot of time and money while providing protection and easy maintenance for your crops.
Staking, Trellising and Netting
Most farmers are very much acquainted with different methods used for providing protection and support for crops. Staking, trellising and netting are the most popular methods used these days. Plant stakes are the best for certain types of tomatoes – like cherry and indeterminate variety. If you are afraid of the birds, pests, strong wind, heavy rains and hail that will potentially damage your crops, it is also advisable to use additional protective barriers like plastic mesh netting.
Trellis is a preferred option for other crops like cucumbers, melons and squash. These crops may yield large fruits and vegetables, but with proper trellising and with the help of nylon stockings for the fruits, you can easily harvest the healthiest crops. The good thing about trellising is that you do not need a big garden or space. You can plant and grow your crops even in small or limited spaces because trellising allows for the best vertical gardening.
With land spaces getting scarcer due to commercial and industrial developments, marginal farmers or individual gardeners are being limited with what they can plant. But, since the development of methods and systems (like plant stakes) for vertical gardening, farmers are being given another chance at providing healthier and organic fruits and vegetables.