bigger than expected

njitgradJuly 5, 2013

My cherry tomato plants (and a pineapple heirloom) have never grown this big before. My cages are clearly too small for growing tomatoes next to my garage. See pics below. Can anyone suggest what I could do to support these plants next to the side of my house?



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qaguy

Try my PVC pipe solution.

Follow the link.

That's how I ended up with the size of mine. Any taller
and the eaves of the house got in the way.

Here is a link that might be useful: PVC cages

    Bookmark   July 5, 2013 at 11:08PM
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qaguy

Try my PVC pipe solution.

Follow the link.

That's how I ended up with the size of mine. Any taller
and the eaves of the house got in the way.

Here is a link that might be useful: PVC cages

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 12:45AM
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njitgrad

Maybe next season. What about in the short term?

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 8:28AM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

Regular sized tomato stakes won't add much support at this point. I've gone as far as buying 8 foot long 2x2's. You could put a point on it and pound one into the ground next to the grow bag. Might not be pretty, but might give extra support. As you found out, tomato plants can overwhelm standard cages. Just think how big they'll be 6 weeks from now!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 8:56AM
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sjetski(6b NJ)

A quick and dirty solution? Head over to HomeDepot.com or Lowes.com and do a search for "conduit", you'll find a bunch of longer ones for around $2 each. Both plants look like they could use two "stakes" each.

The PVC ones can flex a decent amount without snapping. Some people make hoophouses with them, so you might be able to incorporate them into some future project.

Here is a link that might be useful: Home Depot

This post was edited by sjetski on Sat, Jul 6, 13 at 11:18

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 11:16AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Depends on how much money you want to spend and how classy you want it to look?

It's too late to just add the cage extensions on those cages without tearing up the plant in the process but in the future they can be double stacked.

Classy appearance but extensive: http://www.lowes.com/Garden-Center/Garden-Trellises/_/N-1z0yzk0/pl?rpp=32&UserSearch=garden+trellis#!

Cheap and ugly: 1 6' T-style fence post on each side of container and a ball of twine. Do a Florida weave between them.

Dave

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 3:11PM
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njitgrad

They are already almost 6 feet tall measured from the ground. How bad would it be if I just prevented the branches from getting any taller by pruning them when necessary?

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 7:46PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

If you read the other topping/pruning discussions running here right now you'll find that topping isn't recommended. Not only does it cost you fruit and stress the plant but it doesn't accomplish anything except to trigger new even taller growth.

Indeterminate plants are normally supported to about 6' and the rest of the growth just drapes back down over the outside of the support with no problems.

If you don't want plants that are over 6 feet tall then you need to grow determinate varieties as indeterminates are normally easily 8-10' tall.

Dave

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 8:03PM
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djkj(9b)

Your plant looks too green and no flowers (as far as I can see) for the size? See the video link

Here is a link that might be useful: Grow tomatoes not foliage

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 10:10PM
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noinwi

I had a similar situation with a container tom against a building. I sunk two tall bamboo stakes on either side of it(close to the building) and ran twine across to help keep it in check as it grew. It worked for a quick fix.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 5:04PM
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Phildeez(9b)

If you dont mind screwing a couple screws into the wall you can tie multiple lengths of twine to each screw and support all the major branches with an array of twine from each screw. This is what I did last year. If you use a slip-knot you can move the knot up and adjust the twine to keep the branches going upwards, or you can let them flop back down "above" the knot if they are high enough that they will not reach the ground by winter.

It may sound damaging to your wall but if you use the same screws each year its not bad and it looks really nice if you get them trained well up the wall.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 7:05PM
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njitgrad

Thanks for all the helpful suggestions. What I ended up doing was piecing together ideas from all the responses and some of my own ingenuity (yeah right) and came up with what you see below. I bought a 10-pack of 8-foot growing stakes from Home Depot and zip-tied them to the corners of my cages. I then used smaller zip ties at the top of each stake and created some support lines using jute twine. Hopefully this will work out (fingers crossed).

    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 10:41PM
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Phildeez(9b)

That looks great. You can fasten those cheap bamboo stakes that HD has to the top of those garden stakes with jute twine to extend the cage if the plants keeps growing past the current top.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 12:30AM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

Looks really nice. I always worry about the whole thing tipping over if it's not anchored somehow. Hopefully they are out of the wind.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 8:33AM
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macbettz

Nice work, on your supports

I wanna come over and move a rock out of placce and watch your reactions (just kidding)

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 11:36AM
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bbjm(6a)

I think you hit upon a great solution that maintains the appearances you are going for. You would not be happy with my method: Rusty CWR cages and green stretchy tape for the vines that escaped out the sides when I wasn't looking. I'm fairly attentive to my garden but it has surprised me how fast a growing tip can extend so far out that it can't safely be bent back int the cage.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 12:06PM
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sjetski(6b NJ)

Nice setup, that's high enough to last for the season.

Also be careful not to squeeze all of those branches inside, you want some airflow, and leaves stacked over each other take a much longer time to dry.

You *can* eventually go in there and pinch off a couple of the less productive looking suckers. Or let some of the branches "escape" then tie them to the assembly with some twine for support as they grow.

Nice lush green looking plants, but I'm not seeing any flowers or maters near the bottom/middle, they seem to start near the middle/top. I wonder if that's from excess nitrogen or just plant type and or climate conditions.

It would be fun to see how much they've grown in another week or two :)

This post was edited by sjetski on Mon, Jul 8, 13 at 12:35

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 12:31PM
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njitgrad

Not bamboo, they're plastic coated metal stakes. Very stiff. I think I may also use the same stakes to secure the tops of adjacent cages to each other to provide some stability from gusty winds.

The fruit and flowers are scattered throughout the plants though I guess you're right in that I should be seeing more down low. I fed the plants Tomato Tone right after transplanting and then every three weeks since. They're both cherry tomatoes (the two that I just staked).

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 1:36PM
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