Stringing Up Tomatoes: A Review of the Technique

This year I grew about half of my tomatoes up strings and now that the season is just about over, I have had several people ask me how the system worked for me.

Does it say enough that I will be building the stringing frames over all of m beds next year?

I really can not say enough about them. The method worked great and I can see all sorts of possibilities that start with the tomatoes and run right through peas and beans and right smack dab into squash and cucumbers. I have never had such large plants. One of the tomato plants grew to the top of the line (close to 8′) and then kept growing . I believe the tomato vine reached close to height of 13′ tall if it could stand at attention. While it looked as though it was in need of viagra after it hit the top of the line, there is no denying that the tomatoes liked this kind of support.

One thing that I do need to add is that a single string per tomato is not enough. I ended up adding at least two more strings per tomato once the tomatoes got growing.

The other thing I am really looking forward to is the easy fall cleanup. Snip, pull, done. Quick and easy as a vasectomy.

It makes for a great addition to my small vegetable garden. Give me a little more room for planting, less trouble for storing which means I can be just a little lazier than usual this fall.

21 thoughts on “Stringing Up Tomatoes: A Review of the Technique
  1. hanna – thanks for taking the time to tell us about this tomato staking method. I have been thinking of how I’ll do my tomatoes next year and this really seals the deal for me. I ended up using 2 different kinds of metal store bought tomato supports this year and even the two of them together was not nearly good enough. I’d love to see a picture of how you placed your strings if you ever have the time to post one…

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  2. Sounds like you had some very lusty plants this year, what with the references to viagra and vasectomies! I had a banner year for tomatoes, but used the old rusty cages out of sheer habit and a stubborn desire not to buy anything new. However, your string system is mighty tempting.

    I did do some artistic structures for my climbing beans and peas, made out of last year’s stems from my fig shrubs that never give me ripe figs, but always lots of strong branches.

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  3. I use string for pumpkins/melons, peas, beans and cucumbers. I’ll have to try it with tomatoes next year.

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  4. How do you do this with other plants like melons and pumpkins? Also, what did it look like later in the season?

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  5. I had a really great picture on my blog of my pie pumpkins hanging but I closed the blog so the photos aren’t there anymore. Basically I made a frame with 1×2′s (basically a open box). I had it around my 6×3 square foot bed. then I put in some nails and made a grid with the string. Planted the pumpkins on the outisde 12 squares and let them grow. They went up the strings and all over the frames. The pumpkins were the small sugar pie pumpkins and the mini jack be littles. They were small enough that I didn’t need to support them with panty hose.

    I don’t think it would work for bigger pumpkins but, small ones and small melons work fine.

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  6. LOVED your site! I am an avid gardener myself and have tried the string technique… works great, but yes, you have to watch the direction of all them little shoots. Thanks for such a delightful read -you’ve really put your heart into this site, and it shines.

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  7. I use cages and place bamboo stakes in the ground at the same angle as the cages. I then tie string around them at several levels making the cages taller. This works fine for ‘Roma’, ‘Sweet 1000′s’, or ‘Big Boy’. These are what I grow in my limited space.

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  8. Ohhh I like this idea. This will be a good thing next year when we try to grow more tomatoes :)

    To jen with the cucumbers, do the cucumbers actually grow up the line or does the weight make the whole vine collapse down the twine? We’d love to grow them, just don’t want them all over the ground as they grow.

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  9. Hi – this is an invitation to join the Garden Bloggers Retro carnival. I don’t know if you’ve ever come across the concept of a Blog carnival – if not I’ve explained it in detail on my site today (Oct 1). But basically the idea is to revive an old post which you think is worth rereading, or which you think new readers might enjoy. Send me the link to the post, and in November I’ll publish a series of posts describing and linking to all the posts people have nominated.
    I hope you’ll join in and we have a fun carnival!
    Sue

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  10. Hey there, nice informative vid about stringin maters. I do my pole beans using that method. However, I used cages for my tomatoes for the first time this year. I’m not talkin about those little flimsy ones you buy at Wally World either. I’m talkin about heavy duty construction grade wire cages that will last a lifetime. I made mine from a leftover roll of concrete reinforcement wire fencing.

    ^ Hey Sue ^ that’s a good idee. ;~)

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  11. Not sure how Mr. Hanna would feel about the vasectomy allusion, since I fondly recall the video showing him pounding stakes into the ground with the blunt end of an ax. Youch!!

    If you plan to do this again next year, maybe you should but him a sledge for Christmas. :-)

    Happy garden clean-up! Which reminds me, I have to move my lavender before it gets turned under because SOMEONE doesn’t pay attention when he’s using garden machinery. Ahem. Speaking of vasectomies.

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  12. Robin on

    LOVE your blog! I am too in the NE Ohio area and have a small yard. Would love to watch the video again on stringing tomatoes (and getting the hubby to do the hard work :) ), but can’t get it to work. Is it available anywhere else? Thanks

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  13. This is a cool idea … I think I’ll try it next year. My tomato vines flopped all over and didn’t like the bamboo trellis things which were supposed to work.

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  14. I loved the how-to video! As the plants grew I imagine that the stems stayed nice and taut and well-supported, but how did you keep the branches full of tomatoes from drooping or snapping off? Do you happen to have a picture of the tomatoes later in the season?

    I’m hopeful about trying this method next year–I just spent a couple hours cleaning up the garden and wrangling with tomato cages, and I think I need a tetanus shot now. Your strung-up tomatoes look much less likely to scratch the hell out of my forearms.

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  15. KC on

    I was wondering if anyone has used stringing between poles (like you do beans)for sytinging cukes? I want to try this method this year,but unsure if the twine will hold the weight.I am new to gardening of cukes of any way off the ground.I use to let them just grow on the ground.I heard that if they are off the ground you get a better yeield.If anyone knows if this method works please let me know soon,because I have to do it soon.Thanks

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  16. Hey,

    I was wondering if what really made your “tomato vine reached close to height of 13′” had anything to do with the tension of the string being kept taut as the plant grew.

    Although your stringing method is ingenious, it seems to me to be a bit more work than necessary. I made large tomato cages out of reinforcement fencing. You just place the cage over the tomato as you would those lanky cheap ones, but mine are super sturdy and last a lifetime. Each cage is about five foot tall, and you don’t need them any taller; tomato plants produce just as much fruit growing naturally as they would being stretched in a “torture chamber.” ;~)

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  17. Hanna on

    KC – Yes, I think that would work. Just make sure that the poles are sturdy.

    TC – I actually do have several cages that I made from concrete reinforcement. The problem with them is I grow 20 – 30 tomato plants and storage of those cages is a bitch. On top of that, making the 3 I had was much like being in my own torture chamber. ;)

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  18. Kate on

    Hi Hanna,

    I’m trying to figure out what to do for my garden this year and was curious about the cost of the various options. Would you be willing to let us know how much you spent on the posts plus rebar solution?

    Thanks,
    Kate

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  19. Hanna on

    I can’t remember the exact amount, but I know it was under $20.

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  20. Marie on

    Hi Hanna–thanks for the great video! That is an awesome idea–I have been trying to find new ways to support tomato plants for the last fe years and I think I will be trying this out this year. Did you prune your tomatoes to one main vine or just let them go? I am seriously considering the cattle panel arch trellis thingy too. Happy Spring!! Marie

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