Tomato plants need they or support sprawl over the garden bed. Using sticks to stake the plants provides an inexpensive method to maintain the tomato pudding erect but it does require more effort compared to tomato cages. Indeterminate tomato varieties, which continue growing all season and often reach 6 feet tall or more, need pruning when trained to a rod. Indeterminate types, that typically just grow 4 feet tall, do not need pruning, but nevertheless need to be tied to the rod in proper intervals.
Insert a rod or stake into the soil immediately after planting the tomato seedling in the garden bed. Set the rod 6 inches to the side of this plant. Use rods 1 to 2 inches wide. Select a 5-foot-tall rod for determinate varieties and an 8-foot-tall rod to indeterminate plants.
Tie the most important tomato stem into the stick when the plant grows 8 to 10 inches tall. Loop a cloth plant tie securely around the main stem and above a lateral stem. Make the cloth tie loop a figure eight, with the crossed portion of this “eight” resting between the stem and the rod.
Attach additional plant ties in 8-inch periods as the plant grows. Always place the tie above a lateral stem instead of directly below one. If the vine slips down the stick, then the tie will not strip the leaves and developing fruit in the branch if the tie is above the branch.
Prune indeterminate varieties weekly during the growing season. Pinch off the small shoots that grow in the junction between the lateral stems and main stem. These shoots, or suckers, develop into secondary principal stems if allowed to develop, which makes it difficult to grow the plants up the wager.