“How can I support my tomatoes?” This is one of the most frequently asked question by tomato farmers in kenya. But before I answer that question there are a few terms that you as tomato farmer needs to understand before fully understanding how to support tomato plants.
There are generally two broad types o tomatoes. Determinate and indeterminate. It I very important as a farmer to understand which category you tomato plants fll under as this determines whether your tomato needs staking/sporting or not
Determinate tomatoes are the tomatoes that bear frits over a short period of time. These tomatoes ae the ones often grow outdoors and are harvested usualy over a few weeks. However, the introduction of hybrid crops has seen tomato plants harvested up to record 10 weeks.
These tomatoes do not necessarily require supporting but It I advisable to lift the plants off the ground. This can be done using a stick and strings as Shown in the image below. This ensures that the fruits are cleaner, away from insects and diseases. Other farmers have even reported increased production when this method was used.
The other type of tomatoes are indeterminate tomatoes which are regularly grown in greenhouses. These tomatoes produce fruits over along period of time upto 6 months. They grow very long vines over the growth period and usually require regular support. The most common type is using strings to tie the plant to an overhead support.
For determinate, using a stick and strings is the best method.
1.Get a stick and drill it in the ground beside the plant.
2.Using a string, tie the plant to the stick starting from the stem upwards.
3.Keep tying the plant to the stick as the other vines developed.
N/B Do not prune the plant as this will reduce production.
1.Place poles on either side of the planting rows and tie a wire across
2.Tie a string to the stem of the plant. Make sure that this is done when the plant is still young to prevent damaging the stem. The string should be tied to the bottom part of the stem. You can choose to twine it around the plant before tiein it on the overhead wire
Observe image below.
Tying the string at th top of the plant may damage it if the stem is not wel developed. Especially if there is wind as the plant will not be stable nd keep swinging with the wind. The image below shows plant damaged as a result of this. Hopefully you all now know how to support tomato plants.
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