Growing tomatoes is certainly one of my favorite summertime activities. Each Springtime, millions of home gardeners find at least some little space inside their yard or garden, or possibly a spot on their deck or patio, for growing a tomato plant or two. Here, we are going to explore the concept of growing tomatoes on trellises, as well as just how this excellent alternative to staking or caging often leads to a bigger and better harvest.
The issue of whether gardeners ought to provide support for tomato plants is certainly one that has been hotly debated within the gardening community. Some purists believe that tomato plants should be left to sprawl upon the garden soil by natural means. Even though it is true that allowing plants to lie on the ground will usually lead to bigger plants, it doesn’t typically imply that you’ll get a bigger harvest. This is because tomato plants in contact with the ground run a much higher risk of blight and other diseases, including pest infestations. Furthermore, when fruit is actually touching the ground it tends to go rotten easily and will often become infested with bugs before the gardener has a chance to harvest. Heavily mulching the earth with wood mulch or straw often helps provide some defensive barrier, but tomato plants left to sprawl can nevertheless experience a higher rate of fruit rot.
Frequently, gardeners utilize tomato cages as a means of staking their plants. These small wire cages may be round or square, and they are put in at the time of planting, providing support for the growing stems and hefty fruit once the plant gets larger. The principal trouble with cages is that the plants often outgrow them by mid to late summer, leaving gardeners with overgrown foliage that droops down to the earth. An additional issue can be that the cages start falling or blowing over because they aren’t sturdy enough to maintain the weight of a completely grown plant and all its fruit.
One great substitute for cages is the tomato trellis. Trellises can provide outstanding support for a big plant, simply because they allow it to continuously grow up rather than out. If the trellis is well supported at both the top and bottom (for instance, if you can connect the top to the side of your house, garage, or shed), it will probably easily support the full-weight of a tomato plant at summer’s end.
Tomato trellises furthermore afford gardeners the ability to grow additional plants in a more compact space. Commonly, a single tomato plant would require a plot of ground around a three to four foot square, so as to leave enough room to walk around and harvest the fruit all summer long. By having a trellis, each plant may only have to have a one to two foot square area, which means you are able to double, or even triple, the number of plants you grow within one small area.
Last but not least, because a tomato trellis supports the stems and foliage at a higher level, maintaining the plants and harvesting the fruit is much simpler on the gardener because less stooping and bending is needed. Trellises can be an awesome answer for older gardeners afflicted by arthritis or handicapped persons restricted to a wheelchair.
So if you count yourself among the list of lots of gardeners who fancy raising homegrown tomatoes in the summertime months (just like me!), consider trellises this year as an alternate to cages. You might discover that it leads to an easier gardening experience as well as a more substantial harvest of tomatoes than you’ve ever experienced in the past!