BEST WAYS OF TRAINING TOMATOES: FACILITATE THE TUTORING PROCESS AND GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR YIELD
Enhance your crops production by using these clever training tomatoes systems
Training tomatoes to grow leaning on certain structures allows them to be healthier and be safer from dangerous microorganisms lodged in the ground, thus preventing rotting of your tomatoes. Most common training methods include the use of stakes, cages or trellis to support your tomato plant as it grows. But before knowing which technique to use, you must know if you want to plant determinate or indeterminate tomatoes. The first variety is bushy and grows until a certain length; the latter is more vine-like and grows until temperatures become really low. Determinate tomato plants do not require too much care, some people even prefer to let it grow freely on the ground, but it is not recommended at all since fruits may contract infections. If you would like to avoid that, you could use wire cages for training tomatoes, because they will not grow too much and they will support their weight; however, those cages usually fall apart in short time when used to train large indeterminate tomatoes plants (like heirloom variety). In this case it is better to use concrete wire cages, which are not usually found at stores but can be made by yourself. For this task it is better to buy remesh (concrete wire) that comes in rolls, since it already has the needed shape to build the cage. For building a big one you will need approximately a 5 x 5 feet section (1, 5 x 1, 5 m). You should place the cage over already developed tomato plants (around 12 inches tall), and secure it using stakes at both sides of it. Keep in mind that the mesh openings should be at least 4 inches (even better if they are 6 inches) so you can easily put your hand inside the cage when to prune and harvest become necessary.
Stakes are a more traditional training tomatoes system and quite easier to install, but are less long lasting than cages and does not offer as much support as they do. If you are planning to use stakes, better do it for determinate varieties, because if used for vine tomatoes, these will have to be constantly pruned. In case of using wooden stakes, make sure they are no treated since they could contain arsenate; which could leach into the soil, contaminating your crops.
Another highly recommended training tomatoes technique is trellis. It is ideal when you want to use the most of a small space. Using plastic trellis allows your plants to receive more sunlight and provides them of good ventilation.
All these methods are different from each other, but they all require constant training and pruning (to a greater or lesser extent). It is better to start training the plant when it is still young, because at this point it is more malleable and if you wait too long, this will become very difficult. You have to tie stems every 6 or 8 inches (15 or 20 cm) a plants grow, to assure they have a good support. Since new stems are very soft and can be easily damaged, ties should not be tight; also because they will get thicker with time and if tied too tightly, they may end up being choked. A very good option is to use HORTOCLIPS, non-slip plastic rings, instead of common ties. These clips are reusable and also prevent infections. Before choosing any way of training tomatoes, you should know first if you want to train a single main stem (to save space) or multiple stems. For pruning, it is safer to snap off unwanted “suckers” (side stems) with your fingers when they first appear, because at this point they still are soft and easy to pull off. Avoid using garden scissors, because the often contain dangerous organisms in their blades which can contaminate your plant.