Tomato Dirt Newsletter
Volume 2, Number 11

Dear Tomato Dirt reader,

Welcome back to Tomato Dirt! Once or twice a month, we’ll send you this newsletter packed with tips about growing tomatoes and using them.

4 Ways to Stake Your Tomatoes: Which Is Easiest, Which Takes the Most Time

Photo: Burpee

Staking your tomatoes is not necessary. But beware: tomatoes continually send up new stems, branches, and blossoms. If you’re not careful, you’re plants will sprawl everywhere.

By staking your tomatoes, you can save garden space, allow more light to reach plants encouraging more blossoms and fruit, keep your tomato plants off the ground to discourage disease, improve air circulation, and allow for better accessibility to plants as you pick tomatoes.

The biggest drawback gardeners find about staking is TIME. It takes time to stake your tomatoes (and keep them staked.) The good news is that some of the staking options today are easy, fast, and once-a-season.

Here are four top ways to stake your tomatoes.

  • Tomato stakes: posts or poles inserted next to tomato plant to which branches are tied for support. Stakes can be wood or metal; ties can be purchased or made from string or rags. Regular tomato staking is the most time-consuming method.
  • Tomato cagesicon: pre-made or formed wire mesh cylinders that encircle and support tomato plants. Caging is one of the least time-consuming ways to stake tomatoes. Do it once a season … and for the most part, you’re done. (Check out different tomato cages to find the right ones for you and your garden: stackable garden cages icon at Gardener’s Supply; the Ultimate Garden Cage at; and Burpee’s popular XL Pro Tomato Cageicon.)
  • Tomato trellis: wires or rope dropped from a line between posts which provide support. Like stakes, tomato trellises need some manual tying and guiding to train tomato plants upward ... which takes a bit of time.
  • Tomato spirals icon: heavy gauge steel wire that provides support through an upward twisted coil. (Gardener's Supply offers reasonable, sturdy, and colorful tomato spirals icon). Spirals are wider than regular stakes but not as big as cages, so they take a middling amount of time to use in the staking process.
Read more about staking tomatoes.

Which Tomato Varieties Are the Most Disease Resistant?

One reader asked how she could find out which tomato varieties were the most disease-resistant. It’s a great question. The trick is that the answer depends on where you live. How can you know which tomato varieties are most resistant in your area so you can grow them? Take three steps to find out which tomatoes to plant – the most disease resistant tomatoes in your area that will thrive best where you live.
  1. Understand your region’s vulnerabilities. Find out which tomato diseases are most common in your area.
  2. Understand disease resistant codes. Letters after a tomato variety name indicate the diseases to which it is resistant.
  3. Understand and use a tomato disease resistance table. Look in an information bank like Cornell University’s Vegetable MD Online, which lists tomato diseases and corresponding tomato varieties that are resistant to those diseases.

Get more information about how to choose the best disease resistant tomatoes for your garden.

More on Staking Tomatoes ...

How to Stake and Tie Tomatoes Review: Tomato Cages from Gardener’s Supply How to Build Tomato Cages How to Build a Tomato Trellis

For many, it's not too late to buy tomato plants

Heirloom and OP (open-pollinated) Tomato Varieties
Tomato Dirt recommends TomatoFest, which offers over 600 varieties.

Hybrid Tomato Varieties - Tomato HP Logo

For hybrid tomato seeds, we recommend Burpee, a leading home gardening and seed company since 1881. Shop for Tomatoes

That’s it for now. More next time!

Until then, happy gardening!

Kathy with Tomato Dirt
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