Tomato plants benefit from support, whether a cage, stakes, or a myriad of other creative solutions. These tall, wooden tomato cages (see illustration ) add a beautiful vertical accent to your garden and are strong enough to support a bumper tomato crop. In my first garden year-lo, many, many years ago-I bought a few of these cages and blithely placed them over my little tomato plants. It’s best to use long, heavy wood stakes for to prop up the arms of those beasts.
Plant one tomato inside the cage and pull the stems through the wire as they grow for support. I usually recommend determinate varieties to people who want to grow tomatoes in containers, as it is a little more difficult to place larger cages in pots. I cut my wire in 7.5 ft lenght and leave a piece of wire sticking out from the next square to fold in when I roll it up. Works out nice and you have a nice size tomato cage that will last for years. To support the fruit I make little baggies out of pieces of pantyhose, and as the fruits appear I arrange a baggie around each one, then attach the baggie to the wire.
There are many styles of well-made cages available for purchase that require little or no assembly. Price them too high and customers may look to wire cages as a cheap alternative. A few years back, with the garden planted, and about 45 tomato plants growing quicker than we imagined – we knew we needed to give them support and fast! They usually produce smaller tomatoes (often cherry or grape tomatoes) but if you grow these types of tomato plants, you get the reward of juicy, vine-ripened tomatoes without the hassle of staking your tomato plants. Secure the stake to the end of the chicken wire with your lengths of 20-gauge wire.
You can tie this stuff together with all sorts of things like plastic cable ties, string, or iron wire that comes in 300 foot rolls and you twist it on with pliers. Length of the wire mesh roll (updated on June 10th, 2009): Since these rolls are really heavy, try to buy the 50ft roll. Your tomato stems will adjust to hanging from the grid and strengthen and become turgid to support the fruit. We pound a 5 foot long piece of rebar two feet in the ground, allowing three feet above ground to attach to the wire cages.
If you want to grow any indeterminate varieties, you’re probably going to have to make your own tomato cages. The following method is the only way we’ve discovered which will keep the cages intact during a summer storm. While untreated wood will last shorter than the treated one, it will last for good 5 years. You can leave a space of about a foot from the bottom of the wire to the ground; it should be high enough that your tiller can clear underneath. The basic form is a row of stakes with wire or string forming horizontal supports in between the stakes.
Heather at Green Eggs & Goats turned cast offs from her husband’s work into colorful and creative trellises for her tomatoes and other garden crops in Fun, Funky, Free Garden Trellis and Tomato Cage! Think optimistically – you’re gonna get a 2 lb giant juicy tomato on you plant and need to get out of the cage! When you install the cage, these vertical segments will stick into the ground to help anchor the tomato cage.