Any tips on supporting veg in containers? I have a leaning tower of beans this year, and totally ineffective tomato supports. It’s complicated by the fact that the tomatoes have a reservoir in the bottom and if I push the canes too hard they’ll pierce it. I’m also tempted to try tromboncino squash, but don’t really have a wall, and would love to try taller tomatoes one year. So what are your tips for good diy plant supports?
Grouping the containers and joining them into more stable shapes by tying in canes along the top helps. Or leaning taller canes towards each other from the individual pots and tying the tops together so that your pyramid has a wider base. It really is difficult if you don’t have anywhere to put a trellis or a drain pipe to tie things to. Tromboncino is very, very vigorous in my experience and needs a very big pot to get enough nutrition. It would certainly need more support than canes give unless you are willing to let it completely take over your paving.
I can’t see from that how much space you have but I’ve seen free standing square or rectangular frames built of treated timber, with pots placed beside the uprights. But not done it myself.
And worth looking at the end of the season for metal obelisks etc at greatly reduced prices for next year’s growing. I’ve found them very stable in big pots. Far more stable than canes.
Yes, this is a common problem @Bookmonster - and so a great question for this forum. Thank you for asking it.
To add to @Kathryn’s excellent tips, here a few more:
I’ve found one way to make canes much more solid is to tie them in to the container. You can do this by making two holes near the top of the container (you need a drill to do this, ideally - and it works best in plastic containers) either side of where you want to put the cane and then tying the cane in place with string or a cable tie. Simple but effective. (I made a video of this somewhere… but can’t find it).
Where possible, I’ve found strings are easier to use and more effective than canes or sticks in containers - particularly for tomatoes and squash. You tie the bottom end of the string loosely round the base of the plant , and then wind the string round the plant as it grows. This gives it excellent but flexible support - even in very strong winds. You just need to find a place to attach the strings… Here are two Tromba squash I grew in London - strings are attached to eyes in the top of the window sill.
And here in Newcastle are some tomatoes on strings at the back of our house. I put a wooden board up to make it easy to screw eyes in, but they could be screwed directly into the cement between the bricks.
The other thing is to make some sort of structure - joining canes or sticks together can make something more rigid and stronger. Here is a nice example I spotted (not mine):
I’ve seen people do something similar with beans but with homemade string netting for them climb up.
Or, if you fancy making your own willow obelisks, you can look out for local willow weaving workshop - this was my (not completely successful!) attempt. It’s a fun and relaxing thing to do.
Ooh, I like the idea of attaching canes inside the plant pots! That could work. I have found the one where it’s three small pots with a cane each more stable than several canes in one pot. Sadly walls and sunshine don’t match up much in our garden for strings though it could work for peas next year.