Why Do Tomatoes Need Support?
Tomato plants, especially indeterminate varieties, do best when supported up off the ground. Aside from supporting the stems, you’ll notice the following benefits:
- Prevent some diseases
- Makes harvesting easier
- Fruit stays cleaner
- Able to monitor pest and other problems
How To Build A Sturdy Tomato Support Cage
Cutting The Panels
You’ll cut your panels based on the side of finished cages you want. We count over 8 sections and then cut. We are able to get two large cages and one small cage out of one panel.
Bending The Panels Into Cages
Bending the panel is probably takes the most effort. You’ll need to slip on some gloves to protect your hands. Grab the short end of the panel while standing on the next set of squares. Bend the panel back towards you and then move down to the next section continuing to bend the panel towards you. Once you reach the middle section go to the other end and do the same thing.
Wiring The Panel Together
Cut off 3 sections of wire that are about 8″ long. You’ll use these to temporarily hold the cage together. Hold the two short ends together and wrap one of the 8″ pieces of wire around the bars in the middle and at each end. At this point, you should be able to tell you have a tomato cage. Once the cage is secured with the smaller sections you’ll cut off a longer piece and weave it down the center.
Cutting The Bottoms To Make Stakes
At the bottom section of the cage, the section with larger squares, you need to remove the wire that forms the lip. This will leave exposed stakes. These stakes are what you will drive into the ground to offer additional support.
How Long Do they Last?
We have been using these cages for at least 8 years and they are holding up very well. Each year we make a few more as our garden expands. These cages are larger, more sturdy and cheaper to make than anything you’ll find in local garden shops.
If you have any questions about the steps shown or about gardening let me know.