Tomato Ladders Getting Good Reviews

Gardener's Supply Company

Green Tomato Ladders, Set of 3

Tomato ladders are sturdy metal tomato supports that offer some of the advantages of tomato cages but are typically stronger and taller than cages. They look like two sides of a triangular cage. They are superior to simple tomato stakes because they don't need as much vine tying and the cross members provide a place to support heavy vines laden with fruit.

Because ladders are the same width at the top and bottom it's possible to buy ladder extensions that allow extending the height of the ladder to extend upwards to nearly seven feet, depending on the manufacturer.

Ladders can be set in place either before or after the tomato plants are set out. They are attractive and very sturdy and durable.

The main disadvantage of tomato ladders is their higher cost compared to other tomato supports.

In another article I gave reasons why using tomato supports has advantages over letting plants sprawl naturally:

  • Tomatoes remain free of ground spots and blemishes
  • Fruit is less subject to slug damage and soil rot
  • Less bending is required for tending vines
  • Gardens are neater -- less messy looking
  • Frees garden space -- unsupported tomato vines need 15 sq. ft.

Tomato Ladder Pros and Cons

I have read through enough customer feedback about these ladders to get a good sense of what gardeners consider the pros and cons.

 Pros:
  • The heavyweight powder-coated red or green steel ladders look attractive in the garden
  • Most tomato ladders are very sturdy--made of 7mm steel--they don't bend
  • Because they are heavyweight they should last for many seasons.
  • They are versatile and can be used with tomatoes or other tall and/or vining plants from dahlias to cucumbers
  • Easy to use--weave the vines in and out as the plant grows
  • Most customers love them.
Cons:
  • A few gardeners have reported branches breaking on horizontal rungs of the ladder when the plant grows upward
  • They are among the pricier of the vertical tomato supports.
  • The standard ladder is a little over 4-feet tall--too short for most vigorous tall growing indeterminate tomato varieties. You may want to buy ladder extensions for an added cost which will extend the ladder height to about 6-1/2 feet tall.

Using Two Ladders Per Plant

For better support of large vines some gardeners are reporting that the 7-inch arms of the V-shape aren't wide enough and wished they were longer. Some have resorted to using two ladders per plant.

For some plants you may have to prune your tomato plants to one main stem in order to support them adequately with one ladder. Of course the same is true for most vertical support methods except for large cages. If you are willing to tie up all the branches then pruning won't be necessary.

My take on tomato ladders is that if you can afford them they are are extremely sturdy cage replacements that will look very attractive in your garden. Gardener's Supply is the place to buy them - Green Tomato Ladders, Set of 3



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