I did a fairly poor job at the gardening last year, and the one grand experiment for the year was so poorly documented as t barely qualify as an anecdote, but here it is anyway. I decided to do some experimentation with tomato growing, to see what would give the best yield.
I tried three different methods... well, six, really.
1. Free growing bush, no pruning
2. Free growing bush, some pruning
3. Tomato cage, no pruning
4. Tomato cage, moderate pruning
5. Single Stake, moderate pruning
6. Single Stake aggressive pruning
Unfortunately with all the health issues, I sort of fell down on care-taking, and documentation. So I may need to try and run the experiment again, probably not this year, as well...
I managed to lose the photos I took as well, save this one.
At any rate my largely unscientific conclusion is that Stake and moderate pruning (5) produces the best yield. The first 5 options are actually in order from worst to best. and 6 was somewhere near 3 in performance, gotta leave enough leaves on to gather the energy to make the tomatoes...
One other thing I am thinking of trying - take a tomato start, lay it on its side, and bury all the the branches sticking upright (that would probably by 3 or 4 branches). In theory, each of those can be stakes and treated as an individual Tomato plant (3 for the price of 1! ). We'll have to see how the weather (and my health) goes .
Incidentally, if you are thinking of growing a few Jalapenos, one plant is really probably sufficient. Below is one harvest from two plants. First time I have grown them, had no idea....