JoyousFaith08
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Tomatoes are taller than their cages!

My mother somewhat randomly helped me pick out tomato starters at our local home improvement store. They are Park's Whoppers Improved. At the time, the big fruit yield was desirable, but I hadn't realized that they can grow to be 8-10 feet tall until I Googled the variety after I realized that the tomatoes would outgrow their 36" cages.

I planted in planters on my deck because the soil around my home is so awful. I've thought about trying to stack a new cage on top of my existing one, but that seems like a futile effort. And I would have to climb on a ladder to harvest. When I tried to search for solutions, one post mentioned that their tomatoes would continue growing back down to the ground from the top of the cage. Maybe that would work?

Does anyone have any ideas on how to support a plant that is that tall?

Thanks in advance,

Joy

jeff84
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Location: southwest indiana

Re: Tomatoes are taller than their cages!

prune them.

JoyousFaith08
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Re: Tomatoes are taller than their cages!

Does pruning mean cutting off the top? Would this make them stop producing new fruit? This is my first year gardening and I have a lot to learn.

jeff84
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Re: Tomatoes are taller than their cages!

yes, and I doubt it. i always end up with more tomatoes than i know what to do with. the parts you cut off could easily be turned into new plants if you wanted. in nature they spread that way. anywhere the vine touches the ground new roots will form and even if separated from the rest of the plant will continue to grow.

john gault
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Re: Tomatoes are taller than their cages!

I just allow mine to grow over top other plants as support. My problem is that a couple of them are starting to grow into the driveway. They are producing tons of tomatoes, which I dehydrate, otherwise I'd be throwing out a lot of tomatoes. I would never cut them.

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applestar
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Re: Tomatoes are taller than their cages!

How big are your planters, JF08? One limiting factor would be the amount of growing medium and water they have access too. 8-10 footers are usually planted in well prepared ground with as much as 3 feet between plants.

You may need to think of ways to automate watering or provide emergency supply to prevent drying out.

Three feet cages are really too tiny for most tomatoes not just Whoppers. They should stop calling them "tomato" cages.

My tomato supports are 6 ft max because otherwise they would be too tall for me to reach -- I tie the extra vines that grow over that height to horizontal supports. I prefer not to let the vines flop over because usually they get kinked.

If the planters are on your deck, are they next to the railing? If so, you might be able to secure upright 5-6 foot stakes to the railing and you can tie the tomato vines up to those. If you want to keep the height lower -- say 5 ft -- you can secure a sturdy stake or metal pole across the tops of the stakes, or wire or string but they must be taught, then you can train the vines by tying them to the horizontal supports.
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Gary350
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Re: Tomatoes are taller than their cages!

I buy 5/8" cement rebar in 8 foot long pieces. I ram it into the soil right down the center of the tomato cages. Tomato plants get very loosely hand tied with hay bale twine once a week to the rebar. My wife calls my tomatoes, tomato trees they are 8 feet tall. Tomato plants will grow 25 ft tall in my growing season once they reach the top of my rebar they turn and grow down to the ground then across the garden.

Image

JoyousFaith08
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Re: Tomatoes are taller than their cages!

My tomatoes (and the rest of my garden) are growing in planters that water from the bottom. I go through each day and make sure the bottom reservoirs are full through a tube and then they water themselves. I have been watering them from the top every two weeks or so with an organic water soluble fertilizer.

I have seven of the planters in a row on my side deck. I planted according to manufacturer recommendations this year and have realized that I crowded some plants. Apparently four squash plants do not fit well in a 24x20 space. :x

The two tomatoes in question are in one planter next to each other. I've thought about trying to secure them with some kind of supports to the wall, but I won't be able to reach them if they get much taller than they are now. I'm wondering if my best bet might be to let them fall down and then just prune them from there since I don't have a lot of space for them to keep going once they hit the deck.

I've attached a picture of when my garden was much younger but the configuration is still the same. The two tomato plants in question are in the fifth planter back.
Attachments
Garden Row.jpg

JoyousFaith08
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Re: Tomatoes are taller than their cages!

Gary350, I love your tomato trees. I hope to have some similar to that once we move in a couple of years and I have the space plant a more permanent garden.

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applestar
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Re: Tomatoes are taller than their cages!

Are you able to move them at this point? You could do the same thing you are doing for the squash?cucumber? By placing the tomato container by a blank wall And securing diagonal support towards the wall -- I would make it so you could walk under it. Strawberries could be in shade or shadier location behind something else.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

JoyousFaith08
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Location: Appalachian Mountains - Hardiness Zone 6a/6b & Sunset Zone 36, 2,375 ft. elevation

Re: Tomatoes are taller than their cages!

Yes! :D Everything except for the trellised cucumbers can still move around. Until this post, I hadn't realized that tomatoes could lean and be trained. I have always pictured them as something that needs to stay straight up in the air. I am going out later this evening to add more trellis for my crazy cucumbers and will try reconfiguring the other plants then.

evtubbergh
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Re: Tomatoes are taller than their cages!

Pruning equals more energy into fruiting and less into growing.

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