Using Plant Stakes to Grow Crops

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

stakes used as support system
Appplying the support to your plants avoid a uncontrolled growth of your crops.

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.

support net used in vertical on crops
The stakes avoid the plants falls cause by hard-blowing wind.

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.

bird and pigeon net
The bird net is very resistant and durable net converting it in a good option for protection and support to your crops.

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

horizontal support system in cucumber crops
Many farmers prefer the trellis system as provide a good resistant support to your crops.

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.

4 Creative Ways to Use Plant Stakes and Bird Netting

What do Black Eyed Susan, Bee Balm and Cosmos all have in common? All three are wonderful small plants that produce beautiful, vibrant flowers. But more relevant to our discussion today is the fact that all three are plants that will most likely require staking or a flower support net at some point in their lifetime, and that all three may find themselves the target of birds. There are, of course, a large number of plants that fall into the overlapping category of requiring plant stakes and bird netting, some of which are most likely in your garden right now. However, it seems to me that the process of using plant stakes and bird netting is one which lacks some much needed color and creativity that is absolutely synonymous with everything that we love about gardening. For this reason, in this article, we will look at 4 ways in which every gardener can add some color and creativity to their garden through their use of plant stakes and bird netting. These are simple, kid friendly and enjoyable ideas that will add color and character to your garden and which are suitable for both experienced gardeners, and outdoor beginners.

  1. Decorating Bird Netting

flowers using vertical support system
The bird netting can provide protection against the birds, but besides, you can decorate the net for have a beautiful garden.

For most gardeners, bird netting is a simple way to keep birds away from your blooming flowers and luscious fruit. Gardening is an extremely creative activity, so it is curious that bird netting, which often covers a very large area in the garden, is often left totally undecorated and colorless. Surely when we are covering our bright and radiant plants, we should at least cover it with something that is also nice and bright. Decorating bird netting is a simple way to add some color to your garden when you are forced to hide the crowning glories of your garden. Adding old ribbons, beads or bits of fabric to nylon netting looks good, but for the best results, you will like to use a hardier, durable material with a rustic look, such as hemp, which will blend in with the natural earthy textures that feature in most gardens. This type of activity is great for children under supervision, and you are free to add themes should you choose. Whilst this task can be taken in a very methodical way, I find the better way to do it is simply to let your creative juices flow, randomly adding splashes of color everywhere on the netting.

  1. Decorating Flower Support Nets

wall support for flowers in garden
You can use the support net for place the decorations in and get a beautiful garden.

As we discussed for bird netting, flower support nets are also wide expanses that are decidedly bare compared to their often bold and colorful surroundings. Decorating these nets is a great idea. On way to do it is through labeling. For example, affixing small drawings of foods above various fruit and vegetable plants is one easy and creative way to add some convenience and style. However, if you want maximum decorative effect, you cannot go past the use of leftover Christmas tinsel. Even if you only have small off cuts of old tinsel, you will be surprised at how young they look with sunlight reflecting off it.  It is also a wonderful way to get maximum use out of things before throwing them away. You may find that decorations from other celebratory times of the year are just as effective. Old gift wrapping materials are another great way to fill in any gaps in your net, provided that you can ensure that they won’t fly away in the wind and cause pollution. Of course, these are only a few options, and the potential of your garden is only limited by your imagination.

  1. Decorating Plant Stakes

flowers using stakes
Too can place the stakes, and decorate it with painting.

Plant stakes are another example of a highly underutilized piece of equipment that is ripe for the additions of a bit of creativity. Because stakes are right in the middle of the plant, they are perfect for some decoration. The most obvious suggestion for plant stake decoration is to simply add some paint. You could choose to paint the stakes by hand, an activity that children could easily join in on, or spray paint could be used to quickly apply an even and professional looking base color. I like to simply allow children’s creativity to flourish when painting plant stakes – you may even find yourself impressed with what they come up with. If you really are looking to add some style, choosing a color scheme that will match your garden is a great suggestion. Natural color schemes such as shades of green, blue and even black look great in the garden. However, you can also go for an even brighter theme. Adding glitter or sequins to create a ‘bejewelled’ effect can be quite effective, and incorporating festivities can be one of your favorite ideas, however it will require a bit more concentration from the kids, and probably a bit more expenditure from the parents. The results will be worth it though. As was suggested above with the flower support nets, labeling stakes, or decorating them to match the plant (e.g. with tomatoes for tomato plants) is a traditional, yet very elegant way of going about it.

  1. Using Old Gardening Equipment

A mistake that is made too often by gardeners is the assumption that used equipment that is cheap and readily available, such as used garden stakes and netting, has no use. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you have children who enjoy sports, using netting to make makeshift soccer goals or golf practice zones would be a wonderful idea. Used stakes can be cleaned and used for so many things; it is almost not worth attempting to list them. Pet toys and fire pokers are good ideas, as is a Christmas decoration (think ‘Santa Stops Here’ sign.) If you are more of an expert craftsman, garden stakes could make great chair or table legs for rustic homemade pieces, whilst the artists among us could make great use of used, worn out netting.

stakes in garden for flowers support
Exist many forms of use the plant support net, like play soccer and decorate for have a beautiful garden.