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How To Support Indeterminate Tomatoes

by Idris Ya'u
This article was fact checked.
Helpful: 100%

Throughout the season, indeterminate tomato plants grow and produce fruiting flowers. This type must be staked and tied due to its constant growth.

Side shoots are frequently pruned in order to focus fruit production on one or two main stems. The following are the methods to support indeterminate tomatoes.

Cages: Cages are perhaps the most well-known support system for indeterminates; prefabricated options are readily available at local home improvement stores.

This system requires less labour than other support systems while still protecting plants from soil contact.

Do-it-yourself Cages for tomatoes can be made from sections of 6-inch wire mesh by folding a 5-foot length of the mesh into an 18-inch diameter cylindrical cage.

Support the cage with a stake or cut the bottom wires so it can be pressed into the ground.

Cages for indeterminate tomatoes varieties should be at least 5 feet tall; shorter cages can be used for determinate varieties. To be supported by the wire, branches should be lifted or turned.

For indeterminate tomatoes varieties, many growers use a production system known as the Florida Basket Weave.

To keep the indeterminate tomato plants upright and prevent them from flopping out in between rows, stakes are driven into the rows and the indeterminate tomato plants are sandwiched between two walls of twine.

Read also: How To Prune Indeterminate Tomatoes 

Indeterminate varieties will benefit from a more substantial post and wire support system because they will grow taller.

String Trellis: Indeterminate varieties are trained using trellis systems. This system begins with 3-6 inch support posts that stand 5-6 feet above the soil and are spaced about 15 feet apart.

The support posts are then strung horizontally with heavy gauge wire. Vertical lengths of twine are attached to this top wire and secured to the bottom wire or the base of each tomato plant.

The plants are pruned to one or two main stems, and as the plant grows, each stem is twisted around the length of twine.

Pruning (removing side shoots) should be done on a weekly basis because they are easiest to remove when they are only a few inches long.

Sprawl Culture, Ground Culture, and Down System: The final method to discuss is simply growing unsupported indeterminate on the ground.

Because of their limited stem growth and bushy stature, indeterminate tomatoes are better suited to this system.

This system is significantly less expensive than the others for obvious reasons. However, yields will be lower, fruit quality will be lower, disease incidence will be higher, and harvesting will be more difficult.

Read also: How To Make Tomatoes Cages From Wood

Weed pressure can also be high when growing plants on bare soil. By minimising soil contact with leaves and fruit, mulch (either plastic or organic) can significantly reduce weed and disease problems.

To support your indeterminates, you can also use cages or wire strung between posts.

The best cages for this purpose are wire mesh cages with at least a six-inch gap to allow easy access to the indeterminate plant inside.

Wires are strung between posts installed along the length of the row as your plants grow.

Read also: How To Grow Indeterminate Tomatoes

FAQ: How do you stake indeterminate tomatoes?

Staking your indeterminate plants when they are small allows you to influence their growth habits more easily and reduces the risk of root damage when the stake is driven into the ground.

Make Stakes: An indeterminate tomato plant stake should be at least 7 feet tall and 2 inches x 2 inches across; the taller, the better.

It must be strong because their vine can become quite heavy. To make it easier to drive into the ground, one end of the stake should be pointed.

If you buy one without a point, you can make one by trimming some wood off one end.

Drive the Stakes: Using a small sledgehammer, pound the stake about 24 inches into the ground.

Keep the stake about 5 inches away from the tomato plant to avoid root damage. Alternatively, place all of the stakes before planting the indeterminate seedling.

Read also: Are Beefsteak Tomatoes Determinate Or Indeterminate? 

Securing the Stems: Use soft fabric strips to secure the plant stems to the stakes. To secure the stems, you can also use stretchy vinyl plant ties.

Remove Suckers: Remove suckers that can sap the plant’s strength. These shoots typically grow between the main stem and the fruiting branches.

This type of pruning also improves air circulation and reduces disease susceptibility.

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Reference

  1. Tomato Support Methods, retrieved from here
  2. Indeterminate vs. Determinate: How to Support Your Tomato Plants, retrieved from here

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