My container-grown tomato plants, particularly the big indeterminate ones, are laden with fruit now and very top-heavy.
On Monday evening I was really worried, because the wind was blowing very strongly. Two of the plants toppled over, in the course of which one of the supporting bamboo canes snapped. A rapid plan was required to save the precious crop!
My first response was to put in a second cane for each plant, tying them together for mutual support.
Where would I be without soft green string, eh??? The trouble is that the extra canes are only of limited usefulness because they are simply pushed into the compost, without anything to hold them upright.
After the initial "First Aid" response, I thought about the problem a bit more and came up with another little dodge that I thought I could share with you.
I made a sort of guy-rope arrangement for some of the most lopsided plants. I tied a piece of string to the top of the cane and led it down to a clip which I hooked over the lip of the pot, keeping the string taut.
The 'hooks' I used are actually the clips which came with the lidded tomato-pots that I have had for several years. I usually use them for chillis, because they are really too small for tomatoes.
Now obviously not everyone is going to have a few spare clips like this hanging around, but I'm sure the same effect could be achieved with some bent pieces of stiff wire. I think given more time, I might try this with two or three strings rather than just one, because I almost always have problems with stability in connection with my tomato plants.
As an additional measure, what about this for ingenuity...? I have strapped some of the tomato plants (plants, canes and metal cane-supports) to the nearby big potato-containers, using a couple of spare nylon fabric tree-ties.
The potato-containers are full of soil, so pretty heavy, and they should anchor the tomatoes quite nicely!
Do you know what? I think that next year I will put my tomatoes in the big black pots, and the potatoes can have the terracotta-coloured ones. This would surely save me a lot of angst! I'd even be able to tie my "guy-ropes" to the handles of the pots. Sounds like a good plan...
P.S. After last night's heavy and prolonged rain, the plants are going to grow like crazy, aren't they? So more "stability aids" may be required!