Friday, August 26, 2011

Helping Caged Tomato Plants Survive A Tropical Storm Or Hurricane


With a Hurricane & Tropical Storm bearing upon millions of USA residents, it is sure to bring devastating winds and torrential rains to gardens across the region.

Any plant with a high center of gravity and dense vegetation will be vulnerable to severe damage. Tomato plants fit that description.

Damage to caged tomato plants can be minimized or completely avoided by taking the following steps today:

1. Cut off excess tomato plant growth above the top of the cage (as pictured above). If not removed, rain will make these branches and leaves top heavy and flop around in the wind - increasing the chances of plant collapse. NOTE: I realize this may mean sacrificing a bunch of young green tomatoes, but it's better to take one step back now in order to take two steps forward later.

1b. (Not pictured) Also trim any dead or dying leaves or other excess growth in the middle of the plant. Any extra weight must be reduced.

2. Using appropriate wood for wedges (I'll let you determine what's appropriate), hammer at least two wedges inside the tomato cage (each opposite side from one another) so as to hold and stabilize the cage firmly in place. NOTES: Try to use 4 foot (or longer) pieces of wood and hammer them into the ground at least 2 feet if possible. Also don't worry too much about killing your tomato roots. You're actually only affecting a small percentage of roots.

These are not foolproof methods of protecting your tomato plants from storm damage, but will increase your odds for survival. Much depends on your location, path of the storm, amount of rain and intensity of wind.

Good luck.

1 comment:

  1. I went out to my community garden today after Hurricane Irene, and there were quite a few knocked over tomatoes and peppers in cages. My wimpy bamboo stakes around my raspberries were torn out of the ground.