I confess my vegetable garden this year sucks. I blame the book project….you just can’t do everything.
Despite my negligence, I do have peppers, corn (I got in just one planting) and tomatoes (both from starts and volunteers) and basil. Everything else has either been eaten by the woodchuck, was never planted, or succumbed to weeds.
But its the tomatoes that are really making me feel bad – especially the volunteers. They are working so hard to give me lovely fruit — that aren’t even splitting (that’s what I get for not watering!) — but they are pathetically buried in weeds and their limbs lay all over the ground.
The guilt of taking the red treasures without even the slightest attempt to help them to their feet finally got to me and I set out to do some late season tying up.
This isn’t the easiest thing to do and I don’t recommend you ever let things get to this stage. But if you make the effort and you are really careful — your tomato plants will be happier and the fruit they produce will not lie in the dirt rotting or waiting to be taken away by creatures.
You will need stakes (I like these metal U-posts and use them over and over every year), twine (my favorite is the Nutscene Tin of Twine— it never tangles and it comes it pretty colors), something to cut the twine with and a sledge hammer.
The posts will provide you with something to wrap the twine around (make sure to pound them in deep with the sledge) and I advise putting them on all corners of the planting area as well as wherever else you need.
Slowly and carefully thread the twine under the plants and wrap it around the posts – easily lifting the plants off the ground. Keep moving around the planter and work with the plants to figure out the best way – because honestly, if you have left it to this stage (as I have) then you have no right thinking that these plants should succumb to your will. You must work with them…coddle them…do what they want to do or I assure you, they will literally snap. And then you just have useless broken plants.
Tie off the string regularly so it doesn’t unravel. And also take care to prop plants up on the posts and tie them in.
It’s late but if you do it now, it is better than never.
images by rochelle greayer
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Lowes. This is a series that I am doing through the end of the year. I am not an employee of Lowes and all opinions are my own. See the other posts in this series.