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Lawn & Garden

Tomato Cages

I am in California and my tomatoes get very large.  The tomato cages you sell at Home Depot have a hard time holding them and supporting all the weight of the tomatoes.  Do you have any suggestions for solving this problem?

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Posted 2012-03-05T16:52:33+0000  by rickpca rickpca
 

Howdy rickpca,

 

I've had my share of growing tomatoes for some years and have had the exact same situation. The great news is that I think I may have a solution for you.

 

Keeping tomatoes off the ground is the main goal to keep critters from eating them before you do. This also allows for airflow as well so pests and fungus won't be a problem.

 

One way of doing it was to use a regular tomato cage or using 3 large stakes in a "Teepee" shape like this;

 

stake (501x640).jpg

 

Although this worked, I got tired of continually tying the branches to stakes. So I took a class on 

welding and tried something different. This is the "Rebar Tomato Cage".

 

RebarCagePic (640x480).jpg

 

I started by cutting 3/8 rebar, (9 pieces at 2 feet, 3 pieces at 7feet 10 inches, and 1 piece at 4 foot).

 

Then welded 1/2 inch nuts to the ends of 3 of the 2 foot pieces for hinges. Those first 3 pieces will look sort of like a crescent wrenches (refer to drawing). Weld the corners together and remember to put the 1/2 inch nuts on top of lower welds so they don't slide down.

 

I took a drill and cup wire brush attachment and removed the rust and grime, and finally I was able to use some Rustoleum spraypaint to protect against rusting. A couple of small hose clamps did the job of securing the cage in a triangle shape. 

 

This project is definately not for every weekend warrior because of the welding involved.

 However, if you can weld, know someone who can, or maybe it's on your "things to learn list", these "Rebar Tomato Cages" are nearly indestuctible and fold up flat for storage.

 

Happy Gardening,

Posted 2012-03-05T20:29:41+0000  by Dave_HD_OC
Another type of support which I use for tomatoes, vining cucumbers and squash, pole beans and peas can be found in the book All-New Square Foot Gardening. This method uses electrical conduit for the frame (just have it cut or bent at Home Depot), connectors (found in the same aisle) to make a frame shaped like an upside down U. Then ziptie vegetable netting (nylon netting from the garden dept) to the frame. Place two sections of rebar in the ground and put the conduit on the rebar for support. It works great and can be left in place or stored in a garage or shed when not in use. This frame should be about 4' wide and 5 - 6' tall.
Posted 2012-03-23T22:03:34+0000  by GardenInspire
 
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