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Jun 1, 2017
Trellises, stakes and cages
Scott Mozingo  Product Manager, Burpee

Now and again we all need a little support and it’s no different for plants, particularly vegetable plants. One of my favorite cherry tomatoes for flavor and a huge harvest is Baby Boomer tomato, but the plant can get weighed down by fruit. It definitely benefits from support. Whether you stake, cage or trellis is totally a matter of opinion. Since you didn’t ask, I’m going to offer my unsolicited opinion anyway.

Let’s start with trellises. There’s little disagreement that a trellis is best used for climbing or vining plants. Obviously pole beans need something to climb but did you know that cucumbers grow great on a trellis and it makes for much easier picking! I always grew cucumbers on the ground until one day I saw this method and I’ve never looked back. Your trellis can be made of wood, metal or even string if you’re creative. In urban locations, maybe grow them on a chainlink fence (if your neighbors don't mind).

The important thing is that you place it close to where the vines start growing so the plant can get off the ground immediately. You might need to check periodically to make sure the vines stay on, but you’ll be rewarded with a clean and easy harvest.

Stakes serve a lot of uses in the garden. You might use stakes to help hold a newly planted tree steady. Just be sure to not leave it more than a year. Some stakes are specially designed to help hold perennial flowers, like Peonies or Dahlias, up off the ground. While not essential, it does make for a pretty display.

In the vegetable garden, you can use stakes to make a teepee for vining crops or a single stake to help hold tomatoes and peppers upright off the ground. Personally I think this method is OK for peppers, but it is very labor intensive for tomatoes and I so prefer to put them in cages.

Cages come in all shapes and sizes and what you choose is a matter of preference, but I’ve found that small cages in the vegetable garden are only useful for pepper plants that might need a little extra help. Tomatoes, even determinate varieties, all need something more substantial. Because cages can be expensive, I’m inclined to buy something that I know will last longer.

I’m a big fan of Burpee’s Pro Series square tomato cage. I like the square shape because it folds flat at the end of the season and that makes it easy to store, but I really like it because it’s strong. It’s a heavier gauge metal and it comes in two powder coated colors. When you place this cage around your tomatoes shortly after planting, you know it’s going to stand strong even under heavy yields.

Whatever method you choose I wish you good luck with your veggie garden this year! Have tips or suggestions for your fellow gardeners? Share them in the comments section below. And be sure to share your photos with us on Facebook, and Twitter and Instagram @BurpeeHG!

Reader Comments (7)
I like the square cages too. Those cone-shaped tomato cages are such a pain to store each year and their tines at the bottom always tangle or bend on me.
Thursday, June 1, 2017 | Katie
I am having a serious problem with my BASIL this year...for the first time ever. In Jan 2017, I purchased Burpee seed... Sweet Green Basil as well as Purple Basil...planted in Florida after March 15..lots of sprouts and early success...then as the first crop was about tall enuff for clipping...a mysterious wilt began to appear ...just on my Basil...other seedlings were not affected. I tried the usual spraying with diluted soapy success...moved the plants around and sprayed with a product from the Garden Store. No luck and my crop this season is wilted. I guess I will just pull up the diseased plants, bag them & throw into the garbage can.

Any suggestions/ideas for this year or next ????
Larry in Fernandina Beach, Fla.
Friday, June 2, 2017 | Larry Myers
I purchased the Burpee tomato cages and they are fantastic! They keep the tomatoes off the ground are the best tomato supports.
Friday, June 2, 2017 | Jean Y
Wondering whether it's best to cage or let squash grow wild and free.
Saturday, June 3, 2017 | Mel
Hi Larry! We're sorry to hear you've had some trouble with your basil plant. The wilting sounds like Fusarium, a fungal disease found in the soil. These spores can overwinter, so we highly recommend using clean containers and fresh potting soil with each planting. If the plant is infected, it will have to be removed from the garden. Look for basil varieties that have a resistance to this disease, like our Pesto Party Basil. More details on basil diseases can be found at university extension offices, too:
Monday, June 5, 2017 | Burpee Team Member
Hi Mel! To answer your question: All squash are fine left on their own without support, but you can grow them up a sturdy trellis if you don't want them to spread so far. Happy Gardening!
Monday, June 5, 2017 | Burpee Team Member
I ordered some new Cages & Supports for my garden from Burpee. I received my order within less time & the products I have ordered are in good condition. I applied Burpee Coupons at the time of my purchase collected from MyCoupons.
Wednesday, December 4, 2019 | Grace
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