Your tomato plants need to have a trellis/cage for support - otherwise your plants will rest on the ground and your tomatoes will rot.
This project is very "green" - bamboo is a plant that grows very quickly and is invasive in NC - you don't have to feel guilty about cutting it down! The twine is compostable, and the bamboo stalks, if stored inside over the winter, can be used for a few seasons.
The only thing you have to buy is the twine a few dollars/roll.
Step 1: Harvest Bamboo
use a saw to cut down the bamboo near its base. Then, saw off all branches so that you have a straight pole remaining.
Next - be sure to put allow your bamboo to dry out (to prevent it from growing in your garden) by leaving the stalks raised above the ground for a few weeks*.
*This is our first time using bamboo for this purpose - we didn't not allow the bamboo to dry thoroughly because the tomatoes were desperate for support. I'm hoping that since we're only keeping the stalks in the ground for the season that we won't run into the problem of having the bamboo grow in the garden.
Step 2: Place Support Poles
Step 3: Hammer in Support Poles
Step 4: Tie on Cross Beams
The first round of horizontal poles should be approximately 6 inches above the ground. Each successive round of horizontal poles is 6-8 inches above the pole below it.
Step 5: Continue Placing Horizontal Poles, at Least Three Layers
At this point in the growth of the plants I've created there layers of horizontal poles, but I expect to add more as the plants continue to grow. If you can't tell from the picture below, I have horizontal poles going around the perimeter of the bed, one pole extends across the middle, and two are on the diagonal.
The garden in the pictures is the Duke Community Garden at Duke University - a garden managed by undergraduate and graduate students. For more information, please check out: