1200 Tomato Stakes

tomato rows landscape​Late June on the farm means it’s time to stake some tomatoes. These heavy, unwieldy plants need support to produce a healthy, bountiful crop, so we use wooden stakes and twine to keep them upright. Pounding several hundred wooden stakes into the ground is the purview of our guy, Mike “The Brockton Hammer” Nevins.

the brockton hammer

Mike’s a framer on a construction crew during the week, so he’s no stranger to a hammer (or a 3 lb. sledge, as we use here). A long-time member of the farm crew, Mike also drives the hayrides during PYO pumpkin season and for birthday parties, and he’s also a champion Christmas tree cutter here, so you’ve probably seen him around.

On Saturday, Mike started before the sun was up and by 9:30 he’d covered a 1/4 acre and pounded over 1200 stakes one foot into the ground. Impressed? You should be. We’re blessed with many, many rocks in our soil here in Easton and that does not make stake pounding any easier. Mike just makes it look easy.

shenanigans contraptionIf you were driving by our fields on Saturday morning you might have noticed this odd contraption. With a little ingenuity we set up a camera to record Mike’s feat of upper body strength and stamina. And then we sped it up a little. Take a look:

tomato rows from the northAnd here’s the result of all that hard work–almost a full mile of tomato beds, ready for the crew to secure into the upright and locked position with a few dozen miles of tomato twine. Then, in a about a month, we feast!


Thanks for the great work, Mike! And make sure to rest those guns, because the next planting of tomatoes’ll need staking soon, too!

While Mike was hard at work pounding that sledgehammer, another crew was working to document all the shenanigans.

Kevin, assessing Mike’s potential to become world-renowned for his tomato stake-pounding abilities:

An initial estimate of how quickly Mike could pound 1200 stakes for a 1/4 acre of tomatoes:

Mike’s actual time to pound 1200 stakes? Just under 3 hours, 15 minutes.

One final cultivation pass to knock out any  last remaining weeds:

As Mike gets started, Dave works ahead of him laying out the tomato stakes in their appropriate spots. Here’s real time video of Mike’s tomato staking–note Kevin’s Tom Brady-style motivation as he rides by on the tractor: