Plants such as Tomatoes or Cucumbers Makes for Better Plant Health
Staking crops such as tomatoes and cucumbers (but also chilis and peppers or eggplants) will give better financial results for the grower that does so using a good system of trellising, as opposed to the one who allows his crop to be creeping and remain in direct contact with the ground.
Humidity can bring diseases such as downy mildew, powdery mildew, chancre, and many more, especially in the tropics where there is little air circulation and, especially so, in cases where it is decided not to stake the plants. Training plants to trellis netting permits the plant to stand upright without effort and that means that nutrients can go towards fruit production rather than to the strengthening of the plant itself. In addition, once the row of produce is up on stakes, air flow through the foliage is substantially improved, allowing the leaves to be free of excess moisture. Lack of moisture on the plant does not favor the development of fungal diseases which are typical of humid environments.
By using something big and strong enough for end posts with braces, at both ends of the row with a cable drawn tightly between them, the number of stakes for plants in between can be reduced. Much of the tension and weight will be borne by the upper suspension cable and it is to this that the HORTOMALLAS® extruded plastic netting is attached.
Two other advantages in staking tomatoes and other vegetables on trellises are that it increases pollination and it puts an end to the plants getting stepped on during pruning and harvesting. Having a crop lifted up off the soil increases crop density while at the same time facilitating pruning and harvesting chores.
One of the agronomic advantages with tomato stakes or staking any crop using trellis netting is that it decreases the amount of labor needed during the phase of training the plant to the trellis since the plants for the most part guide themselves through the large squares of the netting. This means that the rate of mechanical propagation of pathogens by means of workers’ hands is reduced, because a worker’s hands can become a vector after touching a diseased plant and pass on the pathogen to the whole crop. Trellising with netting also allows for a considerable savings in man-hours since putting up netting on stakes for plants on one hectare (2.5 acres) can be done in one day by two workers. Using the traditional natural fiber twine (Mexico) would require six people.
If you are interested in learning more about staking plants, you can download this trellising guide (completely free).