cheap tomato stakes : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I was hoping someone could give me an idea what to use for low cost or free tomato stakes. I planted about 50 plants this year and we don't have much scrap wood laying around. We haven't had much luck locating any scrap wood with enough height to make a sturdy stake. Any ideas?

-- Tiffani Cappello (, June 25, 2001


Make cages out of concrete reinforcing wire or the tag ends of field fence.

-- Sojourner (notime4@summer.spam), June 25, 2001.

My favorite cheapie is two metal fence posts , one on either end of the row with construction string or clothes line running over the plants and t shirt strips holding the vines up. Total cost per row is about $3 one time.

-- Jay Blair in N. AL (, June 25, 2001.

I also use concrete reinforcing wire. I bought a whole roll. I cut it using a circular saw with a metal blade. These will last for years and stand over 5 feet tall.

-- Tom S. (, June 25, 2001.

My husband brought home a load of scraps from the lumberyard. Didn't cost a cent, and he wasn't buying anything, either. He just went and asked if they had anything suitable and they said take what you want. I tie the vines to the stakes with old nylons.

-- Cathy N. (, June 25, 2001.

Our local lumberyard does a lot of custom millwork and places the cutoffs on a large cart as they work. At the end of the day (or project) they wheel it to their outer parking lot and the cutoffs are free for the taking. I might suggest you look in your yellow pages under 'millwork.' Hope this helps

-- Gary in Indiana (, June 25, 2001.

Here in central Indiana, a pallet company places all their scrap out by the road, free for the taking. You might try a local pallet company, cabinet shop, fence company, steel scrap yard, or farmers that might have an old roll of fence laying out in the barnyard. You will be surprised at what you might find. clovis

-- clovis (, June 25, 2001.

Try to get untreated lumber scraps. Pressure treated could leach low levels of arsenic into your plants.

-- Jay Blair in N. AL (, June 25, 2001.

We have access to bamboo. makes great stakes.

-- Faye (, June 26, 2001.

We use rebar. The initial cost is high but we use them year after year. They are easy to install and easy to store over winter. Kim

-- kim (, June 26, 2001.

This may give some the heebie-geebies but we get oak strips that are about 1" x 1-1/2" x 8' free from a caset company. This are their scraps. Char the bottoms and they will last a long time. And they've got plenty of 'em. Last week my dad brought us about 150. Gary in AL

-- Gary in AL (, June 26, 2001.

You can use old lathe from plaster/lathe walls if you're lucky enough to know someone who is remodeling or does remodeling. Most people will be more than happy to let you take it away. Just scrub them off and you'll be all set.

You could also use wire fencing with 1-2" holes - snip the fencing to the desired size and fasten the edges together to make a tomato cage.

The florida weave method not only reduces the amount of stakes you need, but saves a good bit of time as well. Select sturdy stakes and drive them into the end of each row and continue setting them between every two or three tomato plants. For heavy tomatoes like Bog Boy, put a stake between every two plants, but for smaller varieties like the Roma paste tomatoes, you can probably put them in every three. Once the plants are high enough to require staking, take a length of twine and tie it securely to the first stake about 10-12" above the ground level. Pass the twine along the front of the first plant, and then along the back of the second in a weaving fashion, wrapping the twine tightly around each stake as you go. Once you reach the end of the row, begin working your way back towards the first post, passing the twine around each tomato stem again to form a figure eight pattern. Add additional weaves as your plants grow - generally no more than three. Some people complete the trellis by simply wrapping the twine across the front and back of the plants similar to the first row but without weaving.

I have a patch of sassafras saplings on my ground. They grow quickly, dry nicely, and are the ideal size for tomato stakes, bean poles, clothes props, and whatever else I can think to use them for. They propagate through a root system and grow so densely that I never seem to run out of them.

-- Lee (, June 26, 2001.

If you're going to use twine, make sure its something that won't stretch and sag when it gets wet. Somebody suggested plastic coated clotheswire, that's a good idea.

Also, what's a "caset company"????

-- Sojourner (notime4@summer.spam), June 26, 2001.

I think Gary meant casket not caset.

-- Colleen (, June 26, 2001.

Yes, on the twine - I forgot to mention that the best type to use is baling twine. It's far cheaper than regular store bought twine, and strong enough to resist rot and sagging.

Thanks for the reminder!

-- Lee (, June 26, 2001.

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