After you’ve carefully planned out every inch of the garden, it can be frustrating to lose your prized plantings or subsequent harvests to the fury of Mother Nature. While we cannot control the weather, we can take precautions to keep our gardens as safe as possible. This includes the use of plant supports, which are especially helpful in wind or storm prone areas. Even if you don’t live in a windy location, tall, top-heavy or fruit laden vegetables benefit from sturdy supports.
Keeping vegetable plants supported has a number of benefits.
- In addition to providing support in general, a sturdy structure can help prevent plants from breaking or falling over due to windy conditions or heavy, overloaded branches. Broken or damaged stems are entryways for pests and disease.
- Proper supports also help keep fruits off the ground, where they can become damaged, rot or fall victim to insects.
- Upright plants are easier to maintain and don’t have issues with soil splash from watering or heavy rains, where soil-borne fungus can take hold. And harvesting is easier too.
- Finally, plants having adequate support throughout the growing season are stronger and healthier overall since they’re not blowing all over the place, which weakens them over time.
In the vegetable garden, where the goal is a healthy, productive harvest, the last thing you want is to worry about losing your crops. While a simple wooden pole or twine strung between poles can make a suitable plant support, continuous exposure to the elements will eventually take its toll on these. Add to that an abundance of fruit and it could become too much and eventually begin leaning or sagging. So what’s a gardener to do? A tomato cage may just be the answer – but not just any tomato cage will do.
While you can always make your own, tomato cages are widely available or purchase. That said, they’re not all alike. For the best results, opt for something that’s not only strong and sturdy enough to handle heavy, fruit laden vines, but also one that is large enough to contain the plant’s mature growth. Park Seed is well known for their vast inventory of seeds and plants, but did you know they have many options for supporting vegetable plants too? One of these includes their 47-inch Wire Tomato Pen.
It’s not only tall enough to support those vining indeterminate tomato plants, it’s also quite sturdy with 8-gauge galvanized wire that holds up well to much of what Mother Nature dishes out. This cage-like structure sinks deep into the ground so it won’t topple over and it’s both easy to install and put away once the season is over. Best of all, it’s not limited to just growing tomatoes. Use it to support other vegetables in the garden too, from peppers to eggplants, cucumbers and pole beans. Remember, you may not be able to control Mother Nature, but you can lessen the effects of her blows simply by providing adequate support for the vegetable garden.