Vertically Grown Tomatoes

Losing the Cages

Most gardeners will grow tomato plants as bushing vines inside of three hoop tomato cages. This method unfortunately results in lots of vegetative growth of the vines but less than optimal fruit production. The professional way to grow to tomatoes, on the other hand, is vertically! So at Till Next Time Farms we’re learning how to master the technique.

Tomato root stock starts
Tomato root stock starts
Tomato teens growing vertically on twine.
In our first year of vertical growing we used twine to support the tomatoes. Now we use the Qlipr System which allows us to lower and lean our tomatoes.

Vertical growing offers a number of benefits to modern farmers including increased production, easier pruning, and easier harvesting. Tomatoes are a vining plant by nature and the varieties that we’ve chosen to grow perform well when trained into single stalk plants.

Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes growing on the vine
Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes growing on the vine
Vertically grown tomatoes with unripe fruit on the vine
After the fruit has set we prune the foliage up the vine to allow for airflow and easy access to the fruit when it’s time to harvest.
Tomatoes growing vertically in a metal frame
We experimented with planting density in our first year of vertical growing.

Since our operation is small and we don’t have a hot-house with a ceiling for growing tomatoes, Grant designed a vertical metal pipe frame over one of our raised beds to act as a support structure.

Black Krim and Brad's Atomic Tomatoes
The first tomatoes off the vine in 2018!

New methods to grow upwards

tomatoes being trellised between rebar with jute twine
We implemented the Florida Weave method of training tomatoes at the school.

In 2019 we helped to restore the learning garden at Sitton Elementary school and planted over 70 tomato plants. Since we were growing outside without a greenhouse we needed a way to train our tomatoes vertically without the use of our Qlipr system.