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Supporting Vegetables

Supporting and training vegetables to grow upright, away from the soil surface, takes up less space in the bed.

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A-frame structure

Vining crops such as peas and pole beans grow nicely on wire-covered A-frame structures. When the produce is ready for harvest, it will be within comfortable reach from either side.

Get inspired by the way vegetables are grown in the White House garden!

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Garden stakes

Support individual tomatoes or other tall plants by driving 8-foot stakes at least 12 inches into the ground. Plant a young transplant near each stake and loosely fasten its stem with soft strips of fabric.

Wire cages

Firmly insert wire cages into the soil to give tomatoes good support as well as access to air and light. Wide openings make it easy to pick the fruits.

Cucumber netting

Not all support structures need to be tall, such as this cucumber netting. Check seed packets and plant labels for information on the mature height.

Wooden lattice

Wooden lattice panels, their base deeply embedded in the soil for solid footing, provide an attractive support. Small pea tendrils cannot wrap around it, so place netting in front of the trellis.

Wire or nylon mesh

Wire or nylon mesh with 4-inch openings allows for easy picking of peas, which in this garden are followed by tomatoes.

Freestanding teepee

Build a freestanding tepee sturdy enough to hold several vines. Anchor it firmly in the ground to stand up to strong winds. It should be 8 to 10 feet tall.

Tomato Types

There are two types of tomato plants. Determinate types grow only about 4 feet tall and stop. They don't need a tall trellis. A sturdy wire cage suits them fine. They also do well in containers with attached supports.

Indeterminate types will grow as high as 20 feet if you let them. Make a 6-to-8-foot support for them -- whatever is within maximum reach -- and clip off the tips of the main stems when they reach that height. This promotes subsidiary branching and more production.

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