Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Staking Tomatoes

Tomatoes have two growth forms. The main cropping varieties, such as Apollo, are traditionally grown up tree stakes, or suspended from glasshouses, on wires. A single stem is trained upward and the side shoots are removed for a really heavy crop.

But cherry tomatoes have a freely-branching habit. If you train them as a single stem, up a stake, you lose over half the fruit. Commercial growers use wire fences, but I've modified that idea for the home garden.

Just use lattice, supported by stakes. The joy of growing them like this is that you can loop the plants through the lattice as they grow. This means training becomes really simple.

The advantage of growing tomatoes on a frame, as opposed to a ground cover, is that you keep fruit and leaves away from the soil. This cuts down the risk of fungal disease. And the joy of growing cherry tomatoes like this is that they're really trouble-free and you get a lovely crop – in fact about two kilos of fruit every week for about 10 weeks. It’s a tip well worth trying.

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