By Nikki Phipps
(Author of The Bulb-o-licious Garden)
While tomatoes are easy to grow, these plants oftentimes require support. Tomato plants can be successfully supported as they grow by building tomato cages. In addition to providing support, tomato cages help keep plants from breaking off or being knocked over. Learning how to build a tomato cage is easy. By building your own cages, you can make some of the best tomato cages you ever had. Let’s look at how to make a tomato cage.
How to Make a Tomato Cage
Making tomato cages is not too difficult. If you’re growing a small, bush-like tomato plant, a small cage (purchased from most garden centers) or even a tomato stake should be adequate. However, larger tomato plants require something a bit sturdier, such as homemade wire cages. In fact, some of the best tomato cages are homemade rather than purchased.
Depending on the materials or method used, building tomato cages is relatively inexpensive.
On average, heavy gauge, wire-mesh fencing is used for making tomato cages. Most people choose to use fencing that is approximately 60″ x 60″ tall (purchased in rolls) with 6-inch square openings. Of course, you can also choose to recycle poultry fencing (chicken wire) into makeshift tomato cages too. Using what you have on hand can be a very cost effective method for tomato cage construction.
Steps for Building Tomato Cages
- Measure off and cut the desired length of fencing.
- Lay this out on the ground to cut and roll it up into a column when finished.
- Then weave a wooden stake or short piece of pipe through the wires. This will anchor the cage to the ground.
- Hammer it into the ground next to the tomato plant.
While tomatoes that are grown inside cages rarely need to be tied, you can give the vines a helping hand by loosely tying the stalks to the cage with pieces of soft twine, cloth, or pantyhose. As the plants grow, simply tie them to the cage.
Caged tomato fruits are generally cleaner and of better quality than those that are grown without adequate support. Making tomato cages takes little effort and can be used again the each year. This also makes any purchased materials money well spent.
Now that you know how to build a tomato cage, you can make them for your own garden.