Building Tomato Towers

Support your tomato plants with these homemade tomato towers.
By the MOTHER EARTH NEWS editors
February/March 2001
Add to My MSN

Tomato towers will help your tomatoes grow to their full potential.
Photo courtesy MOTHER EARTH NEWS editors
Slideshow


Content Tools

Related Content

Tomato Grafts Create Cool, Two-Headed Plants

Creating tomato grafts may be a great way to grow tomatoes organically. Tomato grafting has emerged ...

Learning How To Grow Tomatoes

Sue Parker shares her grandmother's secrets to a strong tomato crop.

A Green Home Lesson for Growing Tomatoes in Drought

With the Drought Pod, the organic mass is inside the pod where it never dries out and by planting th...

Two Tomato Tips

Here are two helpful tips that will help you have a successful tomato plant.

Of all the methods devised to support tomato plants, nothing compares to homemade, solid, woven-wire towers.

Start with a roll of 4" x 4" or 6" x 6" woven wire fencing. Anything smaller than 4" x 4" makes it difficult to reach through the wires to harvest ripe fruit. Woven wire comes in widths ranging from 40" to 5' high: Get the widest you can find. Some garden centers sell fencing whose openings increase in size as they move upwards. That is, they start out with a row or two of openings measuring 2" x 4" then enlarge to 4" x 4" and eventually reaching as big as 6" x 8". Making towers with this size mesh is more time consuming, but it actually makes a more durable structure.

Cut a section 4' long with the end wires on one side sticking out without a vertical wire. Bend these wires into open hooks, about 1" long.

Roll the wire into a cylinder and use the hooks to grab the vertical wire on the far end. Then squeeze the hooks closed with pliers. That's all it takes.

To anchor the tower there are two options: You can cut the bottom horizontal wire off, which will provide the tower with 8 to 12 legs, 4" to 6" long. Merely push these into the ground and they will hold most plants with no danger of falling. If you use wire that increases in mesh size from bottom to top, this method will not work because the legs will be only 2" long - not enough to stabilize the tower.

Alternately, you can either stake or pin the tower in place. To pin it, bend heavy-duty wire, such as from a coat hanger, into a hairpin shape that's at least 6" long. Use three or four of these to anchor the tower in place.

For tomatoes, anchor the tower in place as soon as you transplant the seedlings. That way, none of the branches will grow too big before you get the support in place. Keep the seedling as centered as possible.

Tomato towers are useful for other plants as well. You can, for instance, plant a ring of pea seeds around an anchored tower, then train them to grow up the wire. This method works best with shorter-vined varieties. For longer vines, a trellis or A-frame support makes more sense.








Post a comment below.

 








Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.