I’ve finally found the answer for supporting my tomatoes. It’s an ingenious system known as the Florida Weave. Basically, it’s a system of stakes and twine that utilizes a weave pattern in an around the tomato plants to keep them stable, in place, and able to climb.
It’s better than staking plants, because it allows them movement and accounts for the “sprawling” effect of fuller plants. It’s better than the metal cone supports, because they become too confining for the tomato plant as it grows and the branches and fruit become tangled and pinched. So far, I love it. I used the old twine that I saved from my hale bales through the years (I saved it all because I KNEW it would come in handy one day!) and tied them end-to-end until I reached the desired length.
When I ran out of nylon twine, I went to the store and purchased garden twine made from natural fiber. I won’t do that again. One of the keys to success with this system is pulling and keeping the twine tight from stake-to-stake. I’ve only had this system in place for 10 days and the natural fibers have already stretched on me!
The nylon have not. Lesson learned.
This website shows a nice diagram of the Florida Weave with excellent instructions so I won’t repeat myself here. I simply wanted to bring it to the attention all of you tomato growers out there because this is a need FILLED. And I must say, my tomatoes are developing quite nicely.
These are Brandywine and produced so well for me this past fall, I planted two rows this spring! Mind you, these are my harvested seeds from the fall crop. This is an heirloom variety I purchased from Victory Seeds and is absolutely wonderful, in both taste and growth habit.
So there you have it. If you’re growing tomatoes this season, try this trellis system. It WORKS.