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Holy cats, that was a nice storm last night. 100 MPH gusts have flattened my 12in tall tomatoes, cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage.

This morning I straightened them out by propping them up with a little dirt or straw.

What is the best way to straighten these plants? Will they straighten themselves? should I just toss the ones that can't fix themselves? Have I just re-decimated my entire crop?

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Good news, everything popped back up and is looking good. –  Peter Turner Jun 16 '11 at 14:44

2 Answers 2

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Plants are more hardy than we give them credit for. Try giving them a little support and see if they catch on in a week. Usually for tomatoes, a cage like this is necessary to provide support for the plant when growing and also when it bears fruit. All of mine have one similar to this and they really like it.

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Similarly for cauliflowers/broccoli, giving some form of support should bring them back to life. Also, it is important that you provide support as soon as possible, before the plant starts drying out at the broken places. There is a higher chance of it surviving the lesser you wait.

Lastly, as a disclaimer: I have never experienced a storm, so I don't know the scale of destruction you're talking about :)

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It was pretty awful (and very depressing), I hope nothing like that ever happens for another few hundred years. –  Peter Turner Jun 9 '11 at 14:52

I don't have any experience with the others, but I would use stakes (canes) for the tomatoes. We find we need to stake tomatoes and peppers when they reach the 1-2ft range, anyway.

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Can you stake them after they're flattened, I was going to do that this weekend, since they're getting tall enough. (I might have done it two days ago but I got chased out of the garden by bees) –  Peter Turner Jun 9 '11 at 13:53
    
I guess they must be really flattened then!? I would still do it (otherwise the fruit will touch the ground), but be very careful about the roots and where the stem reaches the ground: you don't want to damage them. –  winwaed Jun 9 '11 at 13:55
    
What I have noticed with peppers (and I assume tomatoes) is that even if much of the above ground / 'trunk' dies back or is broken, a plant with a good root system will readily put out new buds near the base. Of course this puts the plant's maturity back a month or two, but it is still alive. –  winwaed Jun 9 '11 at 15:56

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