If you or someone you know owns an electric miter saw, it is very easy to make stakes that are very easy to drive into the ground by creating a nice sharp point on the end of the stake.
Before I go further, let me stress that it is very important to observe all safety procedures outlined by the manufacturer of the saw. Be sure to respect the tool for what it can do and do not take a cavalier attitude towards using any kind of electric saw.
I like to use 2x2s purchased from the local home store for my stakes. These are typically 8 feet long and are often referred to as “furring strips”. Be sure and purchase the 2x2s that are not treated. The chemicals in treated wood are toxic and since you are using these stakes for gardening, you do not want any of the chemicals from treated wood leaching into the soil around the roots of your plants.
Purchase as many of the 2×2 furring strips as you need according to how many tomato plants you need to support. What I do is leave my miter saw set at a 90 degree angle and hold the end of the furring strip into the saw off to the side about 20 degrees. This creates an angled cut on the end of the furring strip. Be sure to position your 2×2 so that the cut will bisect the middle of the end of the stake.
After you’ve made the first cut, flip the stake over 180 degrees, place it in the same 20 degree angled off to the side position and make a cut on the opposite side that cuts at the same place right down the middle of the end of the stake essentially creating a “V” shape on the end of the stake. Now rotate the stake 90 degrees, make the same cut, and rotate the stake 180 degrees and make the same cut again.
At this point you should have a nice point on the end of your stake. You can shorten the length of your stake if you happen to be using it for a determinate variety tomato plant, but if you are planting tomatoes in the ground, it is probably best to just retain the entire length of the furring strip. This is because when planting tomatoes in the ground you will most likely be digging a deep hole and then driving the stake down into the ground from that point. Ideally you will have about 6 feet of the stake sticking up out of the ground.
At the end of the season, pull out the stakes, clean them off with the hose and store them away for the next year. If you are feeling particularly motivated, you can quickly slap on some green or brown outdoor wood stain that will help them to blend into your landscape better when you use them again.
David Mitchell is a gardening hobbyist and an avid grower of tomato plants. He likes to start tomato plants from seed in order to have access to more unique varieties of the plant. He looks forward to trying new varieties each year.
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