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Country Girl
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I can't watch the video (only bad thing about living in a rural area) so can't comment on it.

From my experience last season using wooden stakes and purchased 'V' shaped tomato stakes, I will be using something else this season. Most likely 'C' cages made of weld mesh fencing, or straight panels of similar mesh supported by end posts.
 

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6 Boys and 13 Hands
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10,346 Posts
I think it's a matter of preference. There was an article I read in Successful Farming Magazine a few years ago where a tomato farmer planted 15,000 tomato plants and staked them and planted 15,000 tomato plants and let them lay on the ground and his conclusion was there wasn't any difference in yield.

One note on this:
I'm not sure where this was geographically in the U.S. but my guess would be California where you can control the amount of water the plants get. Here in the Midwest letting tomato plants lay on the ground especially in some of the wetter weather we've been having is asking for trouble.

An experiment I've tried this year is Japanese Tomato Rings. I took a 6-7 foot piece of garden fence and made a circular ring and filled it with grass clippings, dirt and some 12:12:12 in layers (adding fertilizer speeds up the composting of the grass clippings), or you can fill it with compost . (it's best to start these a year earlier)

Then I planted 4 tomato plants around it and set them in cages and tied the cages to the circular cage. (I bought cheap tomato cages that won't hold up a tomato plant on their own :eek::)

The compost inside the wire cage will feed the tomato plants all during the season without any additional fertilizer.

Benefit:
A good way to grow more tomatoes in a small space.
Drawbacks:
A little more time consuming and requires more material.
They will need to be moved each growing season as it is recommended that tomatoes shouldn't be planted in the same spot at least for four years.

I don't have any pictures of mine at the moment and it's dark right now and if I remember I'll take some and post it later.

Concept Picture:
 

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Actias Luna
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4,228 Posts
I noticed a huge difference when I put the tomatoes in cages this year. I tried growing them for 2 years previously and I would get 2 edible tomatoes per plant, literally. This year I have already canned 12 jars of chili base and salsa, besides giving many away to friends/customers.

I say cage them, that way if you do have a good crop they won't be laying in the dirt and they are easier to find on the plant.
 

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Prepared Firebird
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3,842 Posts
I've always used cages for tomatoes, and I've gotten so many tomatoes on the plants that I ended up giving them away. (Yes, I know I need to learn how to do canning. LOL)
 

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Vampire Slayer
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I like to cage the indeterminates and leave the determinates on the ground.
This year I did the same thing, but the determinates had so many tomatoes that they fell over. Next year I will cage all of them to make it easier to pick the tomatoes and to keep them off the ground.
 

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We grow ours up 6-8ft sticks about 12 inches apart and keep them as one stem and chop off the cordons and trusses after the 5th has appeared. They are the most productive fruit-wise then, but you tend to have to spend a lot of time with them and grow more plants. You don't have to buy cages and stuff then, just sticks and string.
 

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I grow about 60 paste plants and 20+ slicers. I plant in rows putting a T post every 3rd plant. All of the baling twin I save through out the winter from hay and straw from my goats, I use to string from post to post. Tying a string every 8"'to 5' tall. As my plants grow I pinch the first 5 suckers then le them go. I weave the plants in and out of my string. The unwieldy vines also get tied. Makes easy harvesting and I can keep my rows closer.
 

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When I was young I worked on a truck garden where we put out around thousands of tomato plants. We sticked over 1/2 of these the others were what b\we called bush tomatoes. They were the same variety just no sticks. The sticked tomatoes gave a lot more tomatoes but were more labor intensive tieing them 3 times and suckering them 2 times.
 

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Country Girl
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995 Posts
I grow about 60 paste plants and 20+ slicers. I plant in rows putting a T post every 3rd plant. Makes easy harvesting and I can keep my rows closer.
How close did you plant each plant and how far apart are the rows? My raised beds are 10mx1.2m (about 32' x 3.9') and I am trying to work out which method (C-cages or a straight row) is the best use of space for the area. If I could get two rows down the length of the bed that would be ideal, but not sure if that would be too cramped.
 

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How close did you plant each plant and how far apart are the rows? My raised beds are 10mx1.2m (about 32' x 3.9') and I am trying to work out which method (C-cages or a straight row) is the best use of space for the area. If I could get two rows down the length of the bed that would be ideal, but not sure if that would be too cramped.
Plants are 3' apart and rows are 3' apart. Inbetween each tomato plant I have either basil,onions, or borage. I may have a picture on my phone if not I will get one this evening. I would do the rows with tons of inter planting. With your size bed you could do 2 rows with basil,cilantro, and onions in between and carrots down the middle! Big return little space. I have 20,000 square feet to grow in but I plant like it's an acre.
 

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Certified Organic Grower
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Determinate rows are staked for support and easy harvesting.

Indeterminates are caged...monsters like German giants are trellised.
They end up growing how they like, but off the ground.
Trellised giant tomatoes grow more uniformed.

For commercial grow efforts, keeping plants off the ground cuts down on harvest time drastically.

In my personal garden, I like to let the black cherry tomatoes grow free on the ground.
 

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I like to cage them. Even if it doesn't change the yield per se, they're not sprawled all over the garden and it leaves more room for planting other things.
 

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I would cage unless you are planting a lot of tomatoes, get the taller cages, I think they are 54" or more, don't even bother with the short ones, (although they work great for peppers), in the spring I put in a fence post every 2 feet, in a row, then tie the cages to both post, I only push the legs of the cages in a few inches to keep them as tall as I can, as the Tomatoes grow tuck the branches in the cage, the ones that do grow out the cage I use 1" wide cotton rags to support them and tie them to the cage,
It is a bit of an investment but they will last a very long time, the cages don't get all bent up, and I never had one fall over. Keeping your Tomatoes off the ground will also help prevent diseases.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I think it's a matter of preference. There was an article I read in Successful Farming Magazine a few years ago where a tomato farmer planted 15,000 tomato plants and staked them and planted 15,000 tomato plants and let them lay on the ground and his conclusion was there wasn't any difference in yield.

One note on this:
I'm not sure where this was geographically in the U.S. but my guess would be California where you can control the amount of water the plants get. Here in the Midwest letting tomato plants lay on the ground especially in some of the wetter weather we've been having is asking for trouble.

An experiment I've tried this year is Japanese Tomato Rings. I took a 6-7 foot piece of garden fence and made a circular ring and filled it with grass clippings, dirt and some 12:12:12 in layers (adding fertilizer speeds up the composting of the grass clippings), or you can fill it with compost . (it's best to start these a year earlier)

Then I planted 4 tomato plants around it and set them in cages and tied the cages to the circular cage. (I bought cheap tomato cages that won't hold up a tomato plant on their own :eek::)

The compost inside the wire cage will feed the tomato plants all during the season without any additional fertilizer.

Benefit:
A good way to grow more tomatoes in a small space.
Drawbacks:
A little more time consuming and requires more material.
They will need to be moved each growing season as it is recommended that tomatoes shouldn't be planted in the same spot at least for four years.

I don't have any pictures of mine at the moment and it's dark right now and if I remember I'll take some and post it later.

Concept Picture:
Thanks for the article!
 
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