Staking tomatoes is a pain (it seems like every time a new tether gets added, a branch gets knocked off, fruit tumbles to its death, wind gets misjudged, stakes lean like Pisa, and curses fly) and cages take up a lot of space. So one of the attractions to planting hybrids designed for small spaces was the notion that not all plants would need to be staked or caged.
Like, for instance, the “petite” Patio Princess Hybrid and the supposedly 18″ Tomande. In POD’s case, evidently, we’re talking a well-endowed plus-size petite and a 36-inch 18″er… Both of which toppled over one recent gusty day.
As caging tomatoes after they’ve hit maturity is pretty much like telling a rabidly teething one-year-old that she doesn’t really want to chew on that piece of grubby-feet-spiced rubberized mulch from the playground’s “ground,” your best bet is to cage or stage every damn tomato the minute they hit the ground in May or June.