5+ Terrific Tomato Trellis Ideas for Easy Harvesting (2024)

Check out these easy DIY tomato trellis ideas that include tomato stakes, cattle panels, pallets, wood, strings and more – sturdy enough for BIG plants.

5+ Terrific Tomato Trellis Ideas for Easy Harvesting (1)

I'll share my tomato trellis system, as well as several other tomato trellis ideas from my homesteading friends. We have trellises that are wind resistant, tall, short, funky and budget friendly. I'm sure you'll be able to one that works in your garden.

6 Reasons to Use a Tomato Trellis

Using a tomato trellis requires more effort than simply letting your tomatoes sprawl all over the place, but here's why you should trellis your tomato plants:

  1. More tomatoes – Growing up instead of out allows you to grow more tomatoes in less space.
  2. No gymnastics required for picking – fruit is easy to access on your living tomato fence. I have not so fond memories of strange stretching and balancing in my mom's garden in an attempt to reach ripe tomatoes in a vast expanse of tomato thicket.
  3. Less wasted fruit – Ask anyone who's been gardening for a while, and I'm sure they've found overripe tomatoes hiding in the patch. With a tomato trellis, you can see your tomatoes to pick all your tomatoes.
  4. Less Disease – Tomato trellises provide better air circulation to plants, reducing diseases that thrive in damp, crowded conditions and soil-borne diseases.
  5. Cleaner tomatoes – No more mud and dust covered fruit.
  6. Less rodent and bug damage – I'm not saying that you'll have no damage, but critters generally do less damage when fruit is harder to reach.
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Trellises aren't just for tomatoes, either.

Check out “Vertical Gardening – Grow More Food in Less Space” and “Grow Pole Beans on a Bean Trellis for Easier Picking and Preserving” for more garden ideas.

How tall should a tomato trellis be?

It depends on what types of tomato plants you are growing.

For determinant tomatoes (bush tomatoes), the small, round wire trellises you find at garden centers should get the job done.

Determinate tomatoes grow to a certain size, set fruit, ripen the fruit, and they're done. They have a more compact, bushy habit, and stay fairly close to the ground.

For indeterminate tomatoes (which includes most heirloom tomatoes), a 5 to 6 foot (2 meter) tall trellis is better.

Indeterminate tomatoes keep growing and producing fruit until killed by frost. They provide a larger harvest, but also require a stronger trellis.

Will tomatoes grow up a trellis?

To keep your tomatoes headed up the trellis or cage, use small cloth strips or tomato clips. Tomato plants don't have tendrils like cucumbers to hold on, so sometimes they need a little help.

If you're using a string trellis, you can gently wind the plant around the string as it grows. With non-flexible trellis, you can also help the plant to wind around the supports as it grows, then secure with ties.

We usually use strips of old sweatpants or t-shirts, because they are soft and stretchy.

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#1 – Wooden Stakes + Metal Posts Combination Tomato Trellis

This is the system we use in our garden.

Right after planting, pound in three 4′ tall wooden stakesnear eachtomato. One stake goes right next to the plant, the other two go about 10-12 inches on either side. The goal is a straight wall of stakes (and tomatoes).

When the plants are around a foot tall,pound in 6′ to 7′ tall steel fence posts at roughly 5 foot intervals along the row. Turn the postsperpendicular to the row to provide a wider surface to set the top cross piece on.

Attach a wooden cross piece to the top of the steel posts using cloth strips or wires. (Alternatively, The Planet Whizbang Idea Book for Gardeners includes a handy little bit of metal crafting that creates a Y-shaped top to your metal posts.)

As the tomatoes grow, tie the plants up with cloth strips or tether of your choice to the 4′ garden stakes. Prune as needed to create a “wall of tomatoes”

Once they reach the top of the 4′ posts, use cloth strips, string or twine from the top supports to continue to keep the plants going up. I use 7′ – 6′ steel posts, so this puts the tops of my tomatoes at 5′ to 6′. This is about all the higher I care to reach when gathering large quantities of fruit.

You can prune tops if needed to keep the tomatoes on the trellis, or train them sideways if you like. Most tomato varieties do not outgrowthis tomato trellis system here in Wisconsin.

The video below shows off my hardwood stake + metal stake (post) trellis system. See if you can spot Miss Kitty. 🙂

End of Season Storage

At the end of the season, I clip off the dead tomato plants, and wash the ties for reuse. (I untie the ties and put them in a zippered pillow case in the washing machine.) We stack the stakes and posts in the greenhouse to use again next year.

#2 and #3 – Cattle Panels and String Trellises

Teri at Homestead Honeyuses cattle panels and string trellises for the tomatoes in their garden and greenhouse, plus several other trellis ideas in Garden Vertically with Trellises. The cattle panel tomato trellis is firmly braced at the bottom and positioned to form a tall arch.

A string trellis is dropped from above the plants and anchored in the ground below the plant. They can also be combined with a roller system to raise and lower plants as they grow, such as the RollerHook Tomato and Vine Crop Trellis.

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#4 – Recycled Pallet Tomato Trellis

Heather at Green Eggs & Goats turned cast offs from her husband's work into colorful and creative trellises for her tomatoes and other garden crops in “Fun, Funky, Free Garden Trellis and Tomato Cage!“.

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#5 – Beautiful Trellis Archway

Master Gardener Susan was lucky enough to have her husband build her this gorgeous decorative yet sturdy arched trellis. You can see the upright wooden sides of the trellis are anchored to the raised bed and supported by metal fence posts. She uses it for tomatoes and other vine crops.

You can learn more at “Building a Trellis for Tomato Plants“. I've seen similar arrangements made from PVC pipe.

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#6 – VineSpine™ Garden Trellis

Since I originally wrote this post, I received a set of VineSpine™ Trellises. Below you can see some young tomato plants with the panels placed in a zigzag arrangement.

Read more about these trellis panels in the post, “5 Reasons the Vine Spine is the Best Garden Trellis“.

I like using my VineSpine™ trellis panels in the greenhouses, since they are easy to move around.

Large Plant Cages for Tomatoes

You can also use the VineSpine™ Trellis panels to make a tomato plant cage for indeterminate varieties of tomatoes that are too tall for cages. (Well, too tall for regular tomato cages.)

I like trellises better than cages, but if you only have a few tomato plants, cages get the job done.

If you want more tomato growing tips check out:

  • Grow Tomatoes from Seed – Save Money, Get More Varieties
  • How to Grow Tomatoes Organically – Plus Innovative Gardening Techniques
  • Tomato Flowers But No Fruit, or No Tomato Flowers – 9 Troubleshooting Tips
  • 4 Reasons your Tomatoes Aren't Ripening
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Originally published in 2014, last updated in 2020.

Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts

As an expert and enthusiast, I have a wide range of knowledge on various topics, including tomato trellis systems. I can provide information and insights based on my understanding of the subject matter. However, it's important to note that I have personal experiences or first-hand expertise like a human expert or enthusiast would. I rely on the information available in search results to provide accurate and up-to-date information.

Now, let's dive into the concepts mentioned in the article about DIY tomato trellis ideas:

Tomato Trellis Ideas

The article discusses several tomato trellis ideas that are easy to implement and suitable for different garden setups. These ideas include:

  1. Wooden Stakes + Metal Posts Combination Tomato Trellis: This system involves using wooden stakes and metal posts to create a sturdy trellis. The wooden stakes are pounded into the ground near each tomato plant, while the steel fence posts are installed at intervals along the row. A wooden cross piece is attached to the top of the steel posts, and the tomato plants are tied to the wooden stakes as they grow.

  2. Cattle Panels and String Trellises: Another option is to use cattle panels and string trellises. The cattle panel tomato trellis is braced at the bottom and positioned to form a tall arch. A string trellis is dropped from above the plants and anchored in the ground below the plant. This method can also be combined with a roller system to raise and lower plants as they grow.

  3. Recycled Pallet Tomato Trellis: For a more creative approach, you can repurpose recycled pallets to create trellises for your tomatoes. This idea allows you to add a touch of color and uniqueness to your garden while providing support for the plants .

  4. Beautiful Trellis Archway: If you're looking for a decorative yet sturdy trellis, you can consider building an arched trellis. This type of trellis typically consists of upright wooden sides anchored to a raised bed and supported by metal fence posts. It can be used for tomatoes and other vine crops.

  5. VineSpine™ Garden Trellis: The VineSpine™ trellis panels offer a versatile option for tomato trellising. These panels can be arranged in a zigzag pattern and provide support for young tomato plants. They are easy to move around and can be used in greenhouses as well.

These are just a few examples of tomato trellis ideas mentioned in the article. Each method has its own advantages and considerations, such as the type of tomato plants being grown and the available space in the garden.

Benefits of Using a Tomato Trellis

The article also highlights several reasons why using a tomato trellis is beneficial:

  1. More tomatoes: Growing tomatoes vertically allows you to maximize space and grow more tomatoes in a smaller area.

  2. Easy access to fruit: With a tomato trellis, the fruit is easier to access, eliminating the need for gymnastics or stretching to reach ripe tomatoes.

  3. Reduced waste: A tomato trellis allows you to see all your tomatoes, reducing the chances of overripe fruit hiding in the patch.

  4. Better air circulation: Tomato trellises provide better air circulation to the plants, reducing the risk of diseases that thrive in damp and crowded conditions.

  5. Cleaner tomatoes: By keeping the fruit off the ground, tomato trellises help prevent mud and dust from covering the tomatoes.

  6. Reduced rodent and bug damage: When the fruit is harder to reach, critters tend to do less damage to the tomatoes.

These benefits make tomato trellising a popular choice among gardeners who want to optimize their tomato harvest and maintain healthier plants.

In conclusion, the article provides various DIY tomato trellis ideas, including wooden stakes + metal posts, cattle panels and string trellises, recycled pallets, trellis archways, and VineSpine™ garden trellises. Using a tomato trellis offers advantages such as increased tomato yield, easier fruit access, reduced waste, improved air circulation, cleaner tomatoes, and reduced rodent and bug damage. The choice of trellis system depends on factors such as the type of tomato plants and personal preferences.

5+ Terrific Tomato Trellis Ideas for Easy Harvesting (2024)


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