Tuesday, July 6, 2010

EMT Tomato Stakes

tomato plants

These are our EMT tomato stakes. It's a pretty simple system, really. The EMT comes in 10 ft. lengths, around $2 each. Mason took a hacksaw to them on a rainy day which resulted in 65 or so 7 ft. tomato stakes and 3 ft. pepper stakes. We got them in a bit late--about a month ago--and I had to do quite a bit of pruning as I tied them up. But, now it's quite easy to maintain by going out every or every other day with a ball of twine and tying up any growth spurts.

I did a lot of research before we chose a support system and, lo and behold, chose what most of that research had told me was the worst, least productive system of all. The plan all along was to use the Florida Weave, but our plants were much too large by the time we got around to staking to even attempt straightening them up with the weave. And I was a little leery of using a method that requires two people to maintain. I do a lot of the garden maintenance while Mas is at work and I was afraid that the supports would be even more neglected if it required waiting for him to come home to tie them up.

Overall, I think we're both pretty happy with this system for now. The EMT will last a lot longer than wooden stakes and can be repurposed when we can finally afford 100 of those incredible Texas Tomato Cages, i.e., when we win the lottery or inherit the family fortune or never.

By the way, the plants in the photo above were grown in our rope light propagation boxes. So, I'd say they were a huge success and highly recommend giving them a try, especially if you have some old rope lights in the attic and a bag of sand in the garage. It's really a very adaptive system that can be made to fit in to just about anyone's space. We will definitely be using ours again and I'm thinking about attempting winter lettuce growing with them as well.


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