Gardening Homestead DIY — 01 September 2012

If you’re anything like me, you have been a little bit disillusioned by the cost of tomato support cages.  You know the ones that start out narrow at the base and get larger out near the top.  Like this:

Tomato Cage (image from About.com)

The cage is designed to support the tomatoes as they grow , and to keep them from spreading out in a haphazard way.

After my tomatoes started to get about a foot above the ground, I went on the hunt for some tomato cages.  Here is what I found…..$10 to $25 per cage!  Really?  I knew there had to be a better way, and their is.  After talking with a wise master gardener (AKA my father-in-law), he showed me a method to make cages that are cheaper, and better (I think) than the traditional ones.  Here is how he showed me how to make a field fence tomato cage.

Step 1:  Buy a roll of wire fencing from your local lumber or animal feed store.  The kind with square openings works the best.  You want something that you will be able to reach your hand through the opening and pull a big fat juicy tomato out.  If it is available, try the field fencing that has smaller openings along the bottom, and progressively larger openings towards the top of the fence.  The fence rolls usually come in lengths of 100 feet or more.  If you are planning to make 5 or more tomato cages, then the cost is well worth it.

Step 2: Roll out the fence and cut into sections that are about 5 feet long.  This length will give you a cage that is about 1.5 foot in diameter.  You can adjust the size to fit your needs by using the following equation:Use some wire cutters to cut the wire.

Step 3: Form the cut fence into a ring, and use the cut ends of the wire to wrap around the other end to secure the ring in position.

 

If needed you can secure the wire to the ground with a post.  Enjoy the tomatoes!

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Ben

(2) Readers Comments

  1. I have another idea for you to consider. Buy 6×6 welded wire fabric (the same used for concrete slab reinforcement) that comes in squares 8′ long and 2 metal posts.
    Drive the metal posts 8′ apart and lean the WWF up against the post and tie it in place. As the tomatoes grow, send the apex (growing end) a winding through the fabric. The WWF holds up the tomatoes.
    I like this method because their is no cutting of tough wire, the same method works wonders with butternut squash, melon, cucumbers, and most anything. For example, you can make a melon plant grow on the WWF trellace and it makes for an interesting garden where you see the melon handing in the air.

    At the end of the season you lean the WWF up against the side of the house. It takes up little room, doesn’t get bent and you can use it for a lot of years.

    I love your BLOG!

    • Great idea Wallace. I’ll look for some welded wire fabric. It may be just what I need for my peas, squash, melons, and cucumbers.

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