Tomato Spirals

nutsaboutflowers(2b/3a)May 25, 2012

I'm trying to decide how on earth to support all the tomatoes I grew indoors this year.

Has anyone ever used tomato spirals?

If so, do they work? I imagine they're fine for holding the main stem, but unlike a tomato cage, they don't have anything to hold up the fruit. Wouldn't a person need both at the same time?

I tried using the Florida Weave method last year, but with all the rain, the twine I used stretched and wasn't very effective.

Any suggestions?

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Ginny McLean_Petite_Garden

I use the good old tomato cages for mine and I start them growing in them early. Another thing I do is I use vet wrap on the stems and branches to tie them to the wires on the cages. I have tall cast iron trellises for the cherry types and chicken wire on a support fence in the back garden. I find if I trim the branches off and only keep a few flowering branches, they are not as heavy and I get better tomatoes.

I just put the big babies out on the deck this morning so planting will be done this weekend whether they like it or not. They are flowering in my kitchen and need to get into the ground. :) I think I have about 30 plants. I sure hope we get a good tomato summer. :)


    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 6:46PM
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I never have, but I have tried cages and don't really see a difference between the caged ones and the "grow as you will" ones. That said however I did see a TV show on 'how do they can tomatoes" and the commercial tomato production seems to do nothing but let their matoes lay as they will on the ground when they get too heavy. I mean I know its a commercial operation and they don't really care if the odd one gets rot and left behind.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2012 at 7:00PM
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bluegoat_gw(Zone 3b)

I use a 6' bamboo pole and tie the main stem with the green plastic ties. These ties expand as the plant grows if they happen to be tight. The suckers are removed religiously so that there is only one stem allowing fruit to be open to the light.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   May 26, 2012 at 11:30PM
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This is my third year using Florida Weave. It works a lot better than those flimsy cages. Try it again with different string/cord/twine that doesn't stretch...if you can get some baler/binder twine, that would be ideal. I actually use nylon cord.

There are more substantial tomato cages for sale, but they are expensive. Might be worth it to make your own out of concrete reinforcing mesh and stake those to the ground with rebar.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 12:39AM
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weeper_11(2b SK)

I don't know how wide-spread Lee Valley stores are in Canada, but in Saskatoon we have one and they carry a very heavy-duty four panel metal cage(and I mean heavy duty!) that you can either zig-zag out like a screen, or you can hook the ends and make it into a big square pillar. Probably about 5 ft tall or so, with spikes on the bottom that go into the soil.

I have no doubt they can hold up anything you put on them..the problem is they are REALLY expensive. I got this one for Christmas; I think it cost $75. But, I imagine once I have a couple of them that will probably be sufficient for the varieties that have the heaviest tomatoes.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 10:27AM
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I use branches trimmed from saskatoon bushes and apple trees. The shape is good, narrow on the bottom and branched on top. I tie them together with twine for stabillity. Sort of a Picasso influenced Florida weave. Smaller branches are for peas, etc.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 11:12AM
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It sounds like I can use just about anything I can find kicking around in the garage or yard =:) Since I like to experiment, maybe I'll try a little bit of everything to see which works best in my yard.

I checked the Lee Valley catalogue. I would pay $75.00, but, they also charge the regular shipping and an extra $10.00, so I think that's more than I want to pay. Some day if we ever take a trip to Saskatoon, maybe.

Thanks everyone ! Now we just need tomato weather........

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 12:58PM
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We use them. What you need to do is keep your tomato down to the main stem, no branching. When you put the spirals into the ground turn one or two more times, we have to because of the strong winds. The biggest chore with them, for me anyway (I'm a lazy gardener), is always having to go back and trim out the branches. Otherwise they work great. Marg

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 1:21PM
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Marg, I've never kept my tomatoes down to the main stem. Does it affect how many tomatoes you get in the end? I've seen lots of pictures on this forum and some people get massive amounts of fruit. Maybe I'm doing something wrong....

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 1:34PM
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I haven't noticed much difference. Keeping it down to one stem also seems to direct energy to producing better fruit there. This is the third year we are using the spirals. Year one, we didn't cut off any branches and didn't get much. It's also harder to pick when you have multiple branches. Last year we trimmed them and they did a lot better. Just remember, you have to keep wrapping the stem around the spiral. Marg

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 2:23PM
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north53 Z1b MB(zone 1b Canada)

I use the spirals and I like them. But I only use them for the indeterminate varieties. For the bush type I use the cages. In my rocky soil, it is easier to stick in one support as opposed to four legs of the cages.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 11:19PM
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