The ideal tomato stake?

castorpDecember 17, 2006

I'm looking for the ideal tomato stake--one that won't rot or break and can support a big tomato vine loaded with fruit. Ideally I'd like it ten feet long (two feet at least will go in the ground). I've tried 1 1/2" square cedars, without much success. They were bored out by insects, rotted by the rain and humidity (I live in Florida) and snapped by strong winds. Also I could never find one over eight feet long. I'm considering a thick rebar (would 1" be enough?) Any other ideas?


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How many tomatoe are you planning on growing?!

Here's a thread that might be useful. I might also try a Farm Supply store or newspaper. Someone might be able to build something custom for you.

Sources for metal trellis

    Bookmark   December 17, 2006 at 8:53PM
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maineman(z5a ME)


A steel T-post should meet your specifications. They are available from several different sources, like farm supply stores, home improvement stores, etc. Sometimes it is difficult to find the longer sizes in stock. I had our local Agway order me some 8-foot T-posts last year. Here is an on-line 10-foot steel post source. Another source is Stockyards Ranch Supply. Wellscroft Fence Systems also has steel T-posts.


    Bookmark   December 19, 2006 at 2:02AM
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Thanks to you both for the ideas and the links. I'll check the local farm supply for long t-posts. If they can't get them for me, now I have online sources too.

Happy Holidays.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2006 at 8:04AM
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    Bookmark   December 20, 2006 at 11:42AM
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green_devo(7b, V. Island, BC)

Have you tried electrical conduit with a large nylon netting? That's my main choice á la square foot gardening. Failing that, Lee Valley Hardware has some fantastic options. I love that place.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lee Valley Hardware

    Bookmark   January 5, 2007 at 4:21PM
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Before I retired from work I was a TV repairman. When replacing a roof antennae, I would take the old 10-foot aluminum antennae pole home and use it for staking tomatoes. I'm still using them 25-30 years later.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2007 at 4:19PM
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I know someone who does use rebar--he primes it and then paints it dark green. He says it works great...I think I'll be trying that myself this year. Tamara

    Bookmark   January 10, 2007 at 12:55PM
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have you thought of aluminum toprail from chain-link fencing? i built my vertical garden out of some leftover lengths: For around $15 you get a 22 ft length of weather-proof pipe, about 2.25 inches in diameter. One minute with a hacksaw and you'd have two 11' lengths for stakes. There are all sorts of connectors and caps available, and if you give it a good coat of primer, you can spray paint it any color. You can easly drive it with a sledge 2 or 3'.

The one drawback is it's pretty slick and doesn't offer any purchase for ties. Somewhere on GW someone recommended drilling holes and pushing dowels through the holes. It is very easy to drill -- an awl and a titanium bit does the trick. Just be VERY careful, since the holes are surrounded by razor sharp metal shavings -- use a file to remove them!

    Bookmark   January 26, 2007 at 8:44AM
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I bought treated 2 X 4s 8 foot long and ripped them down the middle and sharpened one end. The boards cost $2.67 at the big box hardware, so each stake cosr $1.48 and will last for years.
Cut 1 inch stips from old pantyhose to make ties that are strong and will not bruise the plant.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2011 at 4:26PM
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I went with 6' stakes which were 1x4, 12 for $8 at big box. I put stakes perpendicular to plant line so I get more stiffness out of the 4" wide strip. then I used heavy gage jute twine ($2.33/190 LF) and created tight netting. my plants may grow 6-7 feet, but at least I will have 5' high strong stake holding them up. also these stakes were meant for fence so they can take weather and pests for a few years. Best choice is Rebar of course!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 8:00PM
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I plant a mix of heirloom and hybrid tomatoes so wood stakes and tomato cages did not do the job for me. I settled on rows, using three steel sign-supports 8' to 12' long. Five gallon buckets were filled with cement, then the post was put in the bucket. When dry the bucket was buried. Plastic coated wire was strung between the steel posts, 3 to 6 strands.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2012 at 2:49PM
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I use bamboo poles, 4 -6 buried 12-16 inches deep.
I bought some seeds for tomatoes & pick the variety by the size of the fruit.
I planted the tomatoes with 8 feet bamboo poles.
Then I discovered they were patio tomatoes & I had 8 feet poles with 6 inch tomatoes plants:-).
The poles last 2-3 years or longer if you dry them first & take them in out of the weather at season end.
Work great for beans & any vine veggie.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 4:36PM
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Brad Edwards

Bamboo is good but only last a couple of seasons. I personally really like rebar just under the 1" range.

It all depends upon size for them as to what your growing. Indeterminate types can frequently grow to 6-8 foot needing just under a 1" Rebar, while Det need 5 foot and can be bought much easier without having to cut.

I paint them black with rustoleum grill paint and they work perfectly.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 11:35AM
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Rebar is costly & my bamboo is free.
What happens if lighten hits a rebar trellis?

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 6:25PM
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socal_mtngal(8 san diego 4600ft)

Earlier on this post, green_devo mentioned electric conduit with large square nylon netting, which is a system I've used successfully for my pole beans, peas, cucumbers and tomatoes.

Conduit is readily available at Home Depot, really long (10 ft.), comes in different diameters, is cheap ($2.00 ea. for the smallest dia.), easy to cut, and won't corrode. Pair it with nylon netting, heavy duty concrete mesh or livestock fencing using wire or zip ties to attach it, and you're good to go!

You'll note that we've used pipe elbow joints and added conduit cross braces along the top, without any threading or gluing, since there's just enough tooth in the threaded joints to grip the conduit, but you could caulk those to make sure they don't loosen in strong weather.

We usually sink 4 ft. of slightly smaller rebar 2 feet into the dirt, then slip 6 ft. long conduit over that spike, but if you need it tall, those could be longer; much easier to pound in the shorter, sturdier rebar than the longer conduit. This all breaks down easily (including pulling out the rebar) after the growing season is over, and stores compactly. Super happy with this system!

By the way, notice the tomatoes at the left in the photo are sprawling and ready for trellising.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 5:20PM
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Young tomatoes

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 3:23PM
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Maybe you can try fiberglass tomato stakes. They are resist corrosion, can last more years than wood ones.

or you can contact

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 4:27PM
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My two tomato rows are supported by plastic-coated wire running between two metal posts. They are green squarish three-sides metal, maybe twelve feet in length. Found them at the big box store, maybe $14? Their main purpose is for supporting electrical stuff or conduit.

I set them in a 5 gallon bucket of wet concrete and plant it in the soil. The posts are about twenty to thirty feet apart. The wire comes down each year and it stored inside.

Hosiery attaches the plants to the plastic-coated wire, maybe five strands depending on plant size. Hosiery works nicely as it stretches, and dries quickly.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 4:38PM
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Brad Edwards

Not trying to knock your tomato stakes Jojl as they look really good. But not everybody has access to the kind of Bamboo or the quantity of it that you have. Even if they do, the rebar I mentioned above is only 5$'s a piece when cut in half. That and you only have to use 1/5th as much as the bamboo in your rows above using the florida weave method. Just alternative the bars about six inches for a modified florida weave method and tie 1 to 2 as you normally would and then tie 1 straight to 3 making the box you have above with 1/5th of the stakes.

Hope that wasn't too confusing, it was really hard for me trying to explain it. The link below is somewhat good, just stagger the rebar with tomato twine if your growing taller indeterminates to make the growing area boxier.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 5:07AM
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