The Q&A Archives: Growing Tomatoes Without Staking

Question: I have heard of people that put straw around the base of the plants and just let them drape on the ground. What varieties of tomatoes can be grown without staking or a wire frame?
I have grown Celebrity tomatoes in the past and I seem to have a problem with the fruit getting so heavy that the branches fold over, actually pinching off the stem. Another problem that I seem to get is a yellowing and browning of the plant in the final stages of the plant's life. I don't know if it was caused by wilt or sunburn or the dishwashing soap that I used on the insects.
Thanks for all your wonderful information.

Answer: If you have enough garden space, you can certainly allow your tomato plants to sprawl on the ground. Give them a bed of straw so soil doesn't splash up on them when watering (or during rains) and get the fruit dirty. Any indeterminate variety can be allowed to sprawl. These include Buck's County, Better Boy, Burpee's Big Boy and Big Girl, and Long Keeper. All can be ordered through Burpee's website at, or by phoning (800) 888-1447.

The yellowing late in the season could be a fungal disease or it could be a result of burn from your dishwashing soap sprays. As long as the harvest isn't affected, I wouldn't worry too much about it.

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