Tomato cages of some sort are a gardening necessity. Vines left to ramble across the ground are a nuisance, difficult to cultivate, almost impossible to harvest and have much of their crop vanish into mush or insect guts.
The first cages I tried were those small cone-shaped affairs. The vines toppled them over quickly.
Now there are much bigger tomato cages available. I still make up my own. But this year is different.
In past years I’ve put in a long double row of fence posts eighteen inches apart. Twine is wrapped around four to make a column eighteen inches square for each plant.
This year my garden is laid out in beds. The tomato plants get one roughly four foot by eight foot row to themselves. Well, maybe one end will have some basil plants.
A single row of tomato plants will only give me five plants with extra space on both sides of the row.
A double row will mean reaching in to pick the tomatoes.
The other option is the row by the fence but I will still have to reach in to pick the tomatoes. Plus the chickens are on the other side of that fence and chickens love tomatoes.
The best choice is the double row.
Another change I’m planning for this year is the kind of tomato to plant. We do like tomatoes but two people don’t eat that many. What we do use is tomato sauce.
This year at least half of the plants will be a paste variety. Amish Paste is nice. It has large, meaty, good tasting tomatoes.
Mortgage Lifter is a good tasting eating tomato. They tend to be odd shapes but grow well in my garden.
April is really too early to plant tomatoes here. Until this week frost has visited three or four times a week.
This week the transplants are on sale many places. The temperatures are in the seventies to eighty degrees. Putting in tomatoes is so tempting.
I plan to resist. Frost may be back next week.
But it’s not too early to put the posts in, the twine on and dream of delicious tomatoes to eat.