Build Tomato Cages For Your Garden Build Tomato Cages For Your Garden
Building tomato cages for your garden can be a time-consuming process that requires a bit of strength and technique. Tomatoes are hardy plants, but they grow best when secured within a wire or mesh cage.
You can re-use tomato cages year after year. The resulting crops will produce robust, delicious fruit that you can enjoy all summer long.
Step 1 - Cut the Wire
You'll want to cut the wire in widths of about 4 to 5 feet. Keep in mind that you will curve the wire into a tube-like shape and place your tomatoes in the center. Use the wire cutters to cut the wire or mesh in a straight line. It may help to lay one of your wooden stakes across the wire and cut along the side of the stake.
Step 2 - Form the Cages
Hold the wire upright and curve it into a column. Use twine or panty hose to secure the top and bottom and then tie three stakes to the inside of the cage using cable or zip ties to help the tomato cage keep its shape. Many people use panty hose instead of cable or zip ties because the latter are difficult to untie should you decide to readjust the size of the cage.
Never use zip ties to secure the plants themselves to the cages, as the zip ties can be too strong and end up damaging the tender branches.
Step 3 - Plant the Tomatoes
Plant the tomatoes in the center of each cage and dig a shallow moat around the edges of each plant for water collection. You shouldn't tie the plants to the cages until they have reached about 2 to 3 feet high. This way, the plants will still be able to recieve plenty of sunlight and spread their leaves.
Step 4 - Secure Tomato Branches to Cages
Once the plants have begun to bloom and spread out, they may begin to poke through the tomato cages. This is normal growth and actually serves as a good sign. Periodically check the tomato garden for branches that droop or appear to need support.
Tying the branches to the tomato cages with twine or panty hose should help sunlight ripen the fruit and reach all parts of the plant. It will also help keep the fruit from touching the ground and gathering dirt.
Step 5 - Store the Tomato Cages
Tomatoes are seasonal crops, so you will want to store your tomato cages during the winter for later use. If you have the storage space, leave them in a tube shape. If not, remove the ties and store the wire flat so that you can reshape and use it later. The wooden stakes should remain secured to the inside of the tomato cages.