[Market-farming] Staking tomatoes

Allan Balliett igg at igg.com
Sun Feb 8 15:00:54 EST 2004

Jerry- If I were in your shoes, as I'm going to do in my own shoes, 
but in Montana this seems especially worthwhile, I'd look into a high 
tunnel made from hardware store items. I think they are now calling 
these 'field covers.' You can build one very reasonably and it will 
give you much better temp control than row cover will AND you will 
have the space to stake you tomatoes, as Chile Man suggested, when 
they are young and not once they are loaded with tomatoes. As you 
have noticed, it's just too late then - - the stems are 'set in their 
ways' at that point and don't take well to lifting and tying. You can 
make a tunnel that moves (ala Coleman) you can grow in the tunnel all 
season (bye-bye 120 day growing season!) or you can take the tunnel 
down and let the tomatoes stand out in the sunshine, so that picking 
is easier.

Does this sound fair?

-Allan Balliett

>I was wondering if anyone could help with some advice.  We are 
>market gardeners in Billings, Montana with a growing season of 120 
>days.  We grow mostly determinate tomatoes concentrating on Northern 
>Exposure and Early Goliath.  We set transplants out under row cover 
>which is removed in about 5 weeks as blossoms begin to set.  At this 
>time we have very vigorous plants that set heavy fruit.  Our problem 
>with staking is that the fruit is so heavy that the main stems 
>break off as the fruit grow while we are trying to get the plants to 
>stand up.  What usually happens is that the plants grow along the 
>ground and are hard to pick and do not ripen very evenly.  I believe 
>we need to stake earlier with a better structure than just a short 
>bean poll.  Any suggestions.
>Melon Patch Kids
>Plan your next US getaway to one of the super destinations here. 
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