Do nothing, Let them flop
Some folks decide to let the tomatoes fend for themselves, letting them grow directly on the ground with no support whatsoever.
All you need to do is plant the tomatoes and pick the ripe fruits, which is much less work.
Plants grown in this manner tend to shade themselves; sunlight cannot reach in inner leaves thus reducing photosynthesis hindering productivity.
Plants are more prone to soil borne diseases, and insect damage.
Ripe fruits come into direct contact with the soil increasing the chance for rot.
Commercial Tomato Cages
This is probably the most widely used method used by the general public to support tomatoes.
This method is relatively inexpensive, and widely available
Over the past couple of years I’m sure most of you have noticed that the quality of most tomato cages has decreased significantly. The wire used is so thin that the cages will hardly support any weight at all. Most of these are imported from China, and are not worth taking home. The slightest amount of weight will cause them to collapse.
On the other hand many big box stores and garden centers are carrying heavy duty cages in an array of pastel colors. They carry a pretty hefty price tag as well; I've seen them priced between $7-$10 each, which could get quite expensive if you have a lot of tomato plants.
Concrete reinforcing wire cages
I have used this method for a number of years; this is probably my second favorite method of supporting tomatoes. You can obtain remesh in large 100 foot plus rolls, or more convenient for the home gardener panels come precut which are 42 inches high and 7 foot long. The panel is rolled into a cylinder to create the “cage”. The precut panels are available at most big box stores.
They are difficult to work with, and need a bolt cutter or similar tool to cut it.
Since they are not galvanized they will rust.
They require a lot of room to store.
These cages are virtually indestructible.
The plants are easily tied to cage through six inch grids
The cost of each cage is about $7 each, but will last for many years.
Florida weave aka basket weave
This is a method of supporting tomatoes using a series of stakes and twine. To view a short video on how to install the Florida weave, click here
You need to be vigilant since plants grow very fast, and if not supported quickly the tender stems will break easily when trying to place then inside the twine.
This method can be time consuming.
The foliage is exposed to maximum sunlight.
Fruits are easily picked.
There is a minimal cost for many plants.
Cattle (Livestock) Panels
I am in my second year using this method and I have to say this is my favorite way to support my tomatoes. These are panels 16 feet in length and 42 inches in height. They are made of a heavy duty galvanized wire which will not rust. The wire is heavy but can be easily cut with bolt cutters. They are supported by “T” type fence posts.
They will last a lifetime, but are pricey at about $20 each plus posts
These are very sturdy, and will support a lot of weight.
The large grids make it easy to reach plants to prune or pick.
They are virtually indestructible.
These are what I have used over the years to support my 'maters. You be the judge, which one is best suited for you?