Neighborhood Farm Initiative | Pruning, Thinning, Staking

May 27, 2014

Author: Neighborhood Farm Initiative

Category: Planting 101


During our Pruning, Thinning and Staking class last weekend, Joe Ludes walked us through some quick tips for developing a cucumber teepee, along with tomato staking. Below were some of the insights we took away from our class at the garden.

The class taught us how to grow a cucumber on a teepee. Cucumbers are great because they are easy to grow, and growing them on a trellis saves space, makes pest and disease control easier and makes harvesting easier too. Below are some things to  keep in mind when putting a cucumber teepee in your own garden:

  • Choose a plot with good sunshine (cucumbers love sun and need at least six hours a day)
  • When placing the stakes, place them equidistant from one another
  • Wrap strings around the stakes so you have a band of strings running around the teepee, helping to support the cucumbers
  • Plant two or three cucumber seeds around the base of each pole
  • Train the vines up the structure as they grow

Staking, and regularly pruning, is one of the most space-efficient and hygienic tactic to grow tomatoes. Staking should be done at the time of planting so it doesn’t disturb the roots, and there is an abundance of methods to accomplish this. NFI recommends using one stake per tomato, and tying it to the stake. However, we have seen over ten different methods for tomato staking used – including the Florida weave.

We will be back in the garden on May 31st for our Organic Pest Management education class. For more information on this class, and others offered by the Neighborhood Farm Initiative, visit us at

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