Monday, July 22, 2013

Florida Weave Tomato Staking Method

Going into this gardening adventure, I read a lot about various methods of caring for all sorts of vegetables.  I was worried about the tomatoes the most.  I didn't want to have to invest in 20 new tomato cages that I've never found to really be all that great at supporting plants.  Honestly, my goal was both to support the plants and to spend as little as possible as far as both time and money.  Because what if I bought 20 cages and discovered mid-summer that gardening on this scale wasn't my bliss?  What the heck would I do with them then?  Even if I did discover that gardening was my bliss { totally is}, I don't have tons of space to keep 20 cages on top of everything else I will end up storing over the winter {hello huge fence that I put in...and my squash house}.

I read about the Florida Weave Method and decided that was the best way to go.

I had already planned to plant my tomatoes in a long row.  And this just seemed to be a match to my existing plans.

What is the Florida Weave Method?

Let me tell you!

It's basically strong stakes {I used those metal fence T posts} and strong rope {in my case...nylon...and pink...of course}.  All can be purchased at any Home Depot.  And at the end of the season, the stakes will be easy to store.

Because I have a very long line of plants, I have four or five metal posts.  But if you only have three or four plants, two would be sufficient.  Then I basically did a circle with the rope, moving up every few inches.  So start maybe 6" off the ground and wrap the twine around the posts, keeping it fairly taut.  Then do it again about 6" higher, and keep going until you reach the top of the stakes.

I did this at the time of planting, even though most articles I read said to add strings as you grow along.  Let me tell you Bob...I was the wise one there.  Your plants grow at different rates and then all of a sudden, they grow faster than you can imagine.  It's sooo much easier to manage this task {which isn't difficult...if you can walk and tie a knot, you possess all the necessary skills} without worrying about hurting your plants.  As the plants grow, train them between the ropes.

I already owned four or five tomato cages so I just added them in too.  I mean, I already had them, might as well put them to use.

For many reasons {so far...I reserve the right to come back and tell you in two months that this method sucks}, I love this method.  It's very flexible and can be made as large or small as you want.  You likely won't re-use the ropes from year to year but the posts can be used for this or a variety of other uses for a lifetime.  It also takes up less space in the garden than the bulky cages.  And allows you to fit more plants in a row {I used the square foot method for planning my garden}.  And best of all, it really seems to be doing a great job of keeping my plants supported.

At the moment, my plants are 4-5' tall, even though I planted them crazy deep in the beginning.  The posts are 6' but are dug into the ground about 1'.  I will prune my plants so that they are not more than 6' tall {so no more than 1' above the support system}.

Have you used the Florida Weave Tomato Staking Method before?  Or another non-cage, non-Florida Weave method that you suggest I try next year?  Gardening is all about trial and error and I am always open to new things.


lnipaver said...

Its ironic a coworker and I were talking about tomato plants this afternoon. I only have 2, he has 40:) He was telling me about how he does the weave method with cage fencing instead of buying 20 cages.

lnipaver said...

my coworker and I were talking about this this very afternoon:)

Michelle said...

I am so glad you are loving gardening. That is my bliss as well!!! I am already mentally planning a garden in the backyard for next year (I have a flat backyard with full sun for the first time which will be perfect for some veggies!)

Thank you for always being such a sweet spirit and leaving encouraging comments! It means the world to me.


Related Posts with Thumbnails