Brandywine or San Marzano? Cherokee Purple or Early Girl? Once you get past the questions of what kind of tomatoes to plant, you quickly reach question No. 2: What kind of support is best? We surveyed six L.A. garden pros about their favorite tomato cage and got six different answers, including some clever tweaks on garden-store staples:
Scott Daigre: The owner of Powerplant Garden Design in Ojai and the organizer of the Tomatomania! events said tomato vines are more flexible than you might think.
He wrote an article titled “Your Tomatoes Deserve Better Support” for Fine Gardening magazine last year in which he explained how he likes to train tomato plants across trellises made of concrete reinforcing wire or heavy galvanized animal fencing, often called hog wire, sold at feed stores.
The effect is a bit like espalier — a sort of living fence, a surprisingly elegant strategy for corralling one of summer’s most gangly crops.
(Photo credit: Scott Daigre)
Rhett Beavers: The Los Angeles landscape architect offered his own artwork to illustrate his design.
“I take the standard cages and stack them, using a bamboo pole as a support,” Beavers said.
His arrangement of basic, cone-shaped cages was born out of his method for planting tomatoes: Seedlings go in a deep layer of compost — so deep that “they develop roots along the stem that would normally be above ground. With all the new roots to support the plant, the plants grow really tall.”
The stacked tower accommodates the plants' height and helps to give a new look to a common form.
For more pros' favorites, keep reading ...