[Market-farming] Staking tomatoes

Lucy Goodman goodows at infinet.com
Mon Feb 9 07:24:51 EST 2004


I am in Ohio not Montana but I do early 
tomatoes and what I do is I use a 
hoophouse/High tunnel as Allan suggests. Set 
up the tunnel about 2 to 4 weeks before you 
want to set out your plants so the soils can 
warm up. put down black plastic and drip 
irrigation than after the soil is warm enough 
put in your transplants. If your nights are 
going below 32ûF use row cover on small #9 
gauge wire hoops over the plants for extra 
protection. I also put 5 gallon buckets of 
water in the hoophouse as a heat sink.

The stakes have to go in before the plastic 
goes on the hoophouse unless your hoophouse 
is over 12' because normally there is not 
enough headroom to pound in the stakes. I use 
7' fence stakes for support. Shorter stakes 
work well for determinant 'maters but for the 
heirloom indeterminants you need tall stakes.

The stakes do get in the way of using further 
protection for your tomatoes but row cover is 
pliable and I just work it around the stakes 
so it covers the plants. Once you get into 
tying the plants it gets much harder to use 
row cover for protection-the 7' widths are 
not wide enough to put over stakes and 
tomatoes and the metal stakes (especially 
older stakes with rust) tend to rip up row 
covers when you drape row covers over top. 
hopefully at this point for you it is getting 
warm enough that you won't need the extra 
protection. In Ohio by the time we start 
tying the early tomatoes the nigh temps 
rarely get below 40ûF so extra protection is 
not a big issue.


Lucy Goodman
Boulder Belt Organics
New Paris, OH
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http://www.boulderbelt.com
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