With a range of vivid sunshine colours, intensely sweet flavours and impressive yields, tomatoes are one of the easiest plants to grow and harvest in your garden.
Vine tomatoes are known as indeterminate tomatoes, meaning the vines continue to grow throughout the season. Bush or determinate tomatoes are much smaller plants, reaching a set height and producing fruit over a shorter time than the climbing varieties.
Benefits of trellising tomatoes
Whether you are growing vine or bush tomatoes, there are several reasons for trellising these cheery fruits as they grow:
Reduce plant damage
Tomato vines produce vast quantities of large, heavy fruit and securing them to a trellis or cage will help to prevent stem breakage.
Most varieties of tomato are indeterminate, reaching an eventual height of 1.8m and have an upright growth habit. Tomatoes are happier reaching for the stars than creeping along the ground and supporting your tomatoes will also prevent you from walking on, and inevitably squishing, your prized harvest.
Lessen pest destruction and disease
By securing tomatoes off the ground, it’ll be trickier for hungry rodents and snails to nibble their way through crops and reduce damage by insects. It won’t prevent damage completely but it’ll make it harder for pests to reach fruit that’s higher up. It also helps to reduce damage from disease due to improved airflow.
Trellising your tomatoes will help to prevent overcrowding, as well as making it super easy to pick the fruit when ready. It will also allow more sunlight to reach the plants. Using a trellis is an incredible space-saver and allows you to grow more in your space.
Tomatoes love a helping hand to grow and will benefit from being able to spread out as much as possible. Using a support system will mean less spoiled fruit due to rotting, more exposure to sunlight and improved access for weeding and maintenance.
Different types of tomato trellis
Whether leaning against a fence or secured in the vegetable patch, trellis is one of the simplest ways to support tomato plants. It’s really easy to tie the vines on and the structure allows you to attach the stems vertically and horizontally. Being light and easy to install means trellis can be positioned virtually anywhere.
There are a wide range of trellis options available, you can simply buy your own or for a more rewarding and inexpensive option, choose from a range of materials, and DIY!
The cheapest and most environmentally friendly way to trellis your tomatoes is to get creative and build your own! Make sure the height of your trellis is at least 5 feet if you’re growing indeterminate varieties. You can use bamboo canes and twine for a simple yet effective support system.
Salvaged branches can be weaved together to create a rustic but beautiful structure. You can also weave twine through the branches for additional support. The beauty of using wood and string is that you can simply snip the string after harvesting, and store the wood or canes until the following year.
Metal and wood trellis
Another simple way to support your tomatoes is by placing wooden stakes into the ground and attaching chicken wire, metal trellis or wire fencing to the stakes.
A more permanent solution to stake and twine, you could choose to grow a different plant up the trellis the next growing season.
You can buy inexpensive tomato cages from garden centres. These are easy to place around the plant and are often used for smaller, container-grown determinate varieties such as Red Alert, Tumbling Tom and Cherry Cascade.
Although bush varieties can be very compact, the fruits are heavy and will benefit from support.
Florida weave trellis
Basically ‘sandwiching’ your tomatoes between lengths of garden twine that are tied to stakes, this method of trellising tomatoes is ultra-cheap and very easy to set up.
The Florida weave works best on tomatoes that are planted in rows and is popular with farmers.
If you’re feeling extra creative, you can up-cycle old ladders, bits of fencing, even plastic netting to create effective, imaginative trellis to support your tomatoes and other climbing plants.
As long as they are bathed in sunshine, rich compost and regularly watered, tomatoes will grow happily in a large patio pot, gro-bag or raised bed.
They can even be trained over a pergola, with the fruits hanging down like bunches of grapes. There are so many different ways to trellis tomato vines and given a little TLC, they’ll reward you with a plentiful and delicious harvest.