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Stone obeliskGrowing tomatoes against an obelisk

 

Most tomato plants need support - so what better than using a wooden obelisk?

Tomato plants are susceptible to fungal diseases that are transmitted when soil splashes up onto the foliage during a rainfall so using an obelisk to provide support is ideal. The fruit is more susceptible to slug damage or rot if it is allowed to rest on the ground.

How to makle a tomato obelisk
You can either purchase a ready-made obelisk or trellis or you can make your own. Square or triangular obelisks can also be built from wood. Start with four upright pieces, roughly three feet high. Nail crosspieces on the outside of the upright boards on all sides, one set all around the top and attach another set about 18 inches below the top boards to make a four sided enclosure with rungs on each side.

Using appropriate support will give your plants plenty of room and allow for adequate airflow in and amongst the plants. Pruning is also neccessary to ensure that there is not unproductive growth. As your tomato plants grow, they send out new shoots above every leaf stem where it attaches to the main stem. These new shoots are called suckers, and each one is capable of producing a fresh stem. Eventually the suckers will even grow their own suckers, making for a very full plant.

Remove the first suckers that appear by pinching them off with your fingers as soon as you can. Removing the first suckers on your plants will encourage the plant to send out even more suckers. You’ll want to leave most of these suckers on the plants so they can produce more tomatoes for you.Your tomato plants can expend their energy making lots of smaller tomatoes, but if they are limited to producing fewer tomatoes, those tomatoes will generally be larger and will grow to maturity quicker. Garden obelisk