The Q&A Archives: Tomatoes

Question: I have 6 tomato plants, and over 150 fruit. The plants are now 5 feet tall but not very sturdy. What can I do?

Answer: Sounds like you're going to have a bumper crop of tomatoes! If the plants are determinate (set fruit all at once), they've probably gotten as big as they're going to get. If they're the indeterminate kind which continues to grow and set blossoms and fruit until frost nips them, you may want to provide support of some kind. It's perfectly acceptable to allow the vines to sprawl on the ground, but the fruit can get dirty from splashing water, and slugs can find them a lot easier. I'd suggest building a trellis of sorts by driving stakes into the ground and stringing soft cloth between the stakes. You can lift the vines through the support to keep them off the ground. Or, you can encircle each plant with a cylinder made from wire fencing and pull the vines through the wires. The weight of the ripening fruit will drag the vines down and they could break, if you simply let the plants grow without support.

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