If you’re growing tomatoes this summer – and you should be – you’ll need to provide them with some kind of support, especially if you plant an indeterminate variety that loves to climb as it gets huge. From old chairs to good old PVC, there are lots of creative and attractive options for keeping your plants off the ground. Whatever solution you choose, remember – weird as it is, veteran gardeners swear by strips of old pantyhose to gently secure tender seedlings.
- Pallets. They’re available for free if you know where to look (http://www.1001pallets.com/where-to-get-pallets/), and are easy to paint if you want a splash of color. Lean two pallets against each other, secure the tops together, and voila, a repurposed tomato trellis. For stability, you can add crossbars to the base.
- Tree branches. Another no-cost option, and completely customizable for your space and needs. Build a traditional trellis shape, lash a ladder together, or get creative with a teepee form. Just be sure to dig the ends well into the ground or secure to an existing structure – a wall of tomato plants turns into a sail in windy weather.
- Picket Fence. Or any fence, really. That’s pretty much what a trellis is, right? Even cyclone fencing works well. Whatever you choose, you can sink rebar into the ground for stability.
- Bamboo Poles. Like tree branches, they offer flexibility of design and scale, but they look a bit more refined. Unlike tree branches, you’ll have to pay for them at a nursery or hardware store.
- Old Stuff. Discarded window frames, chairs, ladders, bed frames, or even garden gates are especially great for smaller varieties. Just make sure the item is sturdy enough, then decide whether to add a vibrant coat of paint for extra punch.
- An Arbor. Larger strains of viney indeterminate tomatoes will grow up and over a simple arbor, creating a point of interest. You can make your own from wire mesh, or buy a prefab one.
- PVC Pipe. As a frame for a twine netting or combined with attractive latticework, it’s hard to beat for durability and versatility. Use rebar sunk into the ground to add stability.
- String. Garden twine is a streamlined solution for climbing varieties. Secure one end to a tall, stable structure, wind your seedling around the other end, and it’ll climb up on its own. Add more strings as needed for adequate support.