Last summer I had the opportunity to visit the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh, a truly remarkable botanical wonder with 17 distinct garden areas. My favourite – of course – was the kitchen garden, a colourful and productive garden with dozens of types of edibles, many contained in tidy raised beds. Of particular interest to me was this tomato trellis, a structure that was used in several of the tomato beds to contain the rampant growth of indeterminate (vining) types of tomatoes.
Every gardener has their own way of staking or training their tomatoes. Many use those widely available cages, while others opt for stakes, towers, fencing or simply allow their plants to sprawl on the ground (not the best option if you hope to avoid soil-borne diseases). I typically stake my tomatoes on 8-foot tall wooden posts, securing the plants to the stake with garden twine as it grows. Dwarf and bush varieties are caged or staked with 5-foot posts.
A tomato trellis:
This tomato trellis at Phipps is ideal for raised beds – mine are 4 by 10 feet – and is both inexpensive and quick to construct. It’s made from bamboo stakes, tied into an A-frame shape with twine and has some strips of plastic fencing to hold and support the plants as they grow. The plants looked extremely healthy and were laden with both blossoms and developing fruits. I’m definitely going to give this clever tomato trellis a try in my veggie garden this year.
How do you support your tomatoes?