Large heavy branches are bending and breaking and unripe fruit is falling off the vine. What can I do at this point?
Can you post some pictures so that people can see what your situation is? You'll get more responses that way.
Here you go
Here you can see where a thick branch is breaking
This one is on my deck and although the branches are bending downward, they fel pretty stable and I'm getting a ton of fruit
What is supporting the plants, the branches? Is there a cage of some sort in there or just that plastic netting in front of them?
If there is no cage then the branches, especially the ones with fruit on them, need to be tied up to something. I don't know if the plastic netting would hold the weight or not so is there some way you can rig up some stakes to tie the branches to?
In the 1st 2 pics you can see the cheapo cages that his (or her) plants have grown out of. The next 2 with the netting are in containers on the deck.
I can't really tell from these pics what the best way to support would be.
Could you take a couple of more pics from different angles of the plants not on the deck? Can't see how they're planted in those 2 shots.
What Dave said. Tomatoes, especially indeterminate ones need constant upgrades as far as supports go. Yours obviously outgrew those little cages, so you need to play catch up to accommodate their staking needs. Next year you might want to rethink those cages altogether ;)
Perhaps look into florida weave for this year. Just need some sticks and twine. If you're not into twine, I got myself these this year for tying and they are awesome: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_12?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=velcro+plant+ties&sprefix=velcro+plant%2Caps%2C188
I got them for under $5 for 75 foot roll. And I think you can reuse them for a few years.
Here is a link that might be useful: velcro ties
This is the setup but this pic was taken over a month ago for the plants really got huge. I guess I need to have my husband cut some more of the bamboo from the front yard to use as stakes, but the problem is that the roots are so extensive that it's hard to dig into the ground. Will this damage the plants?
"problem is that the roots are so extensive that it's hard to dig into the ground. Will this damage the plants?"
They'll survive you pounding in a few stakes though those extensive roots.
That helps a lot to see what is going on in the bed but my questions were really directed at the container plants in the last pictures.
As bk said above next year you are going to need to substantially revise that support system in the bed. The ring things are a waste of money.
About all you can do this year that I can see is to cut some more long stakes or set up a modified florida weave system for the bed.
The container plants I can't help you with given the pics.
Do yourself a favor and make some CRW cages for next year. They will solve the problem for both the bed and the containers.
I now use those little cages that I bought first year I tried growing tomatoes, for cucumbers. Upside down with duct tape holding the tips together.
Gives them something to crawl on until they grow enough to start scaling the fence.
dave, the ones on my deck just have a stake (or 2) in the pots with them. i use velcro ties to keep the main stems upright and try to tie some of the heavier bending ones up to the stake too.
dave, you mentioned crw cages. what are these?
Definitely have hubby cut some more bamboo to use as
stakes. Then you could tie them together for better
structural integrity. Tie the vines to the stakes.
Same principal I use for my PVC cages. But if you have
lots of bamboo that size, I'd use those.
Here's a tip to pound those stakes into the ground. Get
a piece of pipe big enough to go over the stakes. Put
a cap on one end. Then slide the open end over the bamboo
and pound away. Mark them so you know when you've a foot
or so into the ground. Works like a charm with my PVC.
I'd also cut the bottom of the bamboo on an angle (say 45 degrees or so). That will help it penetrate the roots.
Below is a link to my PVC cage page, just in case you're
interested. They work wonderfully in a small urban garden
like yours appears to be.
Here is a link that might be useful: The Matkey tomato cage
Just search 'CRW cages' here for all sorts of discussions in pictures of them. Basically, cages made from rolls of concrete reinforcing wire.
If you Google them you can see all the pictures of them many of us have posted here and find all kind of info on how to make them.
Here is a link that might be useful: CRW cage pictures