Reading the tags on your punnet of tomatoes and you’d be left
believing that there’s only one way how to stake or truss tomatoes.
The truth is there are many.
For years I was like everyone else and I drove a stake into the ground
before planting my tomato right up against it. As the plant grew I’d be
there desperately trying to gather up all those vines and keep it
off the ground.
Now I know that that method is without a doubt the worst method
I’ve ever used. Previous to my current method I used to run lengths
of rope between two star posts and thread the tomato vines through the rope, now I’m using an even easier method
to truss tomatoes.
I had a few metres of left over fencing mesh that I’d used for growing beans up, so I decided to leave it in place and
plant my tomatoes along the base of it. As tomatoes are a vine, it makes sense to truss tomatoes by encouraging
the vines outwards along the mesh, not bundled up.
I planted all my tomatoes about 40 centimetres apart and let them go.
As the vines took off all I had to do was tie them, using grafting tape,
to the wire. This method is a real time, and plant, saver.
It’s a time saver because you prune as you go and once tied
any subsequent leaders can be holstered to the mesh or cut
off. As I went along I removed about 75% of the leaves and
pinched out any leaders I didn’t want from the indeterminate
It’s a plant saver because in our cool climate it’s important
to get as much sun and warmth on your plants as you possibly
can. This method, similar to espaliering, open the plants up
to the sunshine and also helps control any number of pests
When you bundle the vines up, you’re inviting all manner of problems. Those closed vines are the perfect place for
bugs to wander around, for grubs to move in and because it’s nice and moist, all your viruses, rusts and mildews will thrive.
If you do get hit with any diseases, spraying the vines is dead easy. Walk along each side and you’ve got it nicely covered.