Seeds and plants are not the only things you can put in the ground while you’re gardening. Stakes can also be firmly planted in the soil to promote healthy growth and keep things in their place. MLC Group stocks a range of stakes sourced from renewable New Zealand pine plantations: seedling stakes, garden stakes, and even tree stakes. We think they’re upstanding members of our product range, and that’s why we believe you really should…Stake That!
Stakes are thought of primarily as a support for young plants, giving them a “spine” as they gain the strength and balance they need to stand on their own two feet, especially in areas of strong prevailing wind. Plants that look decidedly droopy can also be staked until the next growth spurt kicks in and they can support themselves once more. A young capsicum plant is a classic example. It will eventually develop a stem strong enough to support itself but during its first few fruiting seasons, it can struggle to deal with the added weight of the fruit it is producing. Staking the plant, or any young fruiting plant, will provide much needed support in its early stages.
Tomatoes are a Kiwi favourite when it comes to growing our own produce, and they too benefit from staking. Left alone, they’ll become heavy with fruit and sprawl along the ground, which makes the leaves and fruit susceptible to disease, moisture, mould, rot and pests. Staking your tomatoes and training them in an upwards direction will produce better fruit, but staked plants will require more watering…but not too much, as our guide to growing the perfect tomato will show.
Some plants will grow all over the place, especially vine-based plants like winter squash, beans and peas. They can smother other plants in your garden and deprive them from nutrients or sunshine. By staking these more vigorous plants, you can confine them to a specific space and let neighbouring plants grow in peace.
As we mentioned with tomatoes, pests and diseases can adversely affect fruiting plants that grow along the ground. Cucumbers and zucchinis are two more examples of plants that can be at risk by being left to grow at ground level. Garden stakes will keep plants off the ground, away from pests, disease and nasty things caused by excessive moisture, such as mould.
If you do decide to stake, try and do it at the same time you plant the seedling; staking as an afterthought can damage established roots. If you have to stake after you’ve planted, check out which way the plant is leaning, especially if you’re trying to help the plants stand up against the wind. If a plant is leaning to the left, or the wind is blowing to the left, put the stake on the right side of the plant. Simple! When tying the plant to the stake, try and strike the right balance between tying too tightly and too loosely. Proper stake ties from a garden centre will help you in this respect and greatly minimise the risk of damaging the tender stems of younger plants.
Don’t forget to check out the MLC Group range of stakes here.