Make A DIY Tomato Cage Today For Lending A Helping Hand To Your Tomatoes!
Tomato plants need a lot of maintenance once they start fruiting and a DIY tomato cage is the best thing that can help you to give additional support to the plant which is its primary need in this phase. Thus, we are here with some of the best homemade tomato cage ideas to help you build a great cage that helps your plants bloom the way they want without creating a mess for you.
Advantages of using a tomato cage
Cages help tomato plants so much as against their usual purpose and this gets proved with the following benefits:
- Give support to the plant in growing upright
- Help the lean stems during the blooming season not falling under the weight of fruits
- Prevent sprawling of the plant on the ground
- Prevent the catching of pests, rotting, and diseases by the fruits if they touch the ground
- Prevent breaking of the branches or main stem
Use of cages for different tomato varieties
The tomato cages DIY are good for supporting all the varieties of tomatoes that are usually clubbed into two categories of determinate and indeterminate. The major difference between these categories is the way they produce crops.
Cages support the determinate tomato varieties by giving them support during the bounty season. They also fill in as these varieties can’t be pruned or trained.
The indeterminate tomato varieties grow much and keep producing fruits continually for a long and this is where cages support them. Cages also let you leave the plant to grow wild without having to control them via pruning.
Guide to making a standard tomato cage
The process of making DIY tomato cages isn’t very easy surely but with the right steps, the task becomes convenient. Here is all about the DIY.
Ready up the equipment
You will need the following things to make your DIY tomato cage:
Remesh or reinforced mesh
This product comes under the category of concrete support structures and includes strong quality metal wire woven together in the shape of a big panel with smaller grids. The wire must be thicker around 10 gauges to prevent bending and untimely warping and wrinkling. Make sure that the length of the mesh isn’t lesser than 3 inches and that the inner squares are big enough for a hand to move across.
You may want to have durable and sturdy stakes to hold the cage as well as the plant growing inside it in place. Have at least three stakes from which you can use two for the cage and one for the plant but you can have more of them depending upon the requirement. The length of the stake will also depend upon the height of the cage and plant and you can even cut them as per the custom needs.
Pick some galvanized wire which is also referred to as the zip ties or coated garden wire. These wires help in securing the cage when the mesh is folded.
These can be used to tie up the plant with the stakes or any other minor things in various homemade tomato cage ideas that needs to be sealed or secured with any support structure.
You will need them for cutting purposes.
Make sure you have them for safety purposes while handling the wires and other stuff.
Method of making the cage
Once you have all the supplies ready, you can move ahead with the steps for DIY tomato cage. We are going to break down the whole process as per the ease of a beginner but you can omit certain steps or even move faster as per your expertise. Start with putting the safety gloves on.
Measuring and cutting
The first step is getting all the measurements right for yourself by taking into consideration the size of mesh squares, size of the plant, desired circumference of the cage, and the full length of the mesh panel you have. Roll out the mesh and observe it to decide the measurements of the cuttings you are going to make for each cage.
Make sure to keep the mesh hooked to something so that it remains unrolled straight and doesn’t curl back. This makes it easier to work on it and also saves accidental injuries.
We suggest you start with cutting only sample cages or pieces from the mesh with at least one spare row and column of squares on the sides. You can straightaway go with making exact cutouts if you are precise at measurements and trust your techniques. You can even cut a sample age by simply rolling the mesh in one go and see if the circle made is good enough but that may take you many rounds to reach the desired result and also waste time.
Rolling the cage
Once you have your sample cut ready, simply roll it in the shape of a cylinder and make sure the ends meet without any overlapping. You may need a partner to help you with making tomato cages.
Once the edges meet, secure them together with the help of wires properly end to end. Use the galvanized wires of garden ties as per the need. Tie the first and last squares of the meeting edges together and then take a bigger chunk of wire and start wrapping it around the bottom portion of meeting edges from one end to another. If you left some cut flushes while cutting the panel piece, then just bend them around the other end of the cut panel and the two sides will be hooked tightly.
While the panel is lying on the ground, try to press it down a little to amend the shape a bit and make it more circular from an oval as it may appear initially.
Now is the time to test the cage and install it in the garden. You may want to just put the prepared cage around the plant and see if they fit well. In case they don’t, there is still time and you can go back to make another cage altogether or open the current one and make necessary changes in the dimensions.
Once you are done with the installation testing, go ahead with putting the cages in their place. You will need the stakes at this step and place two of them at opposite ends of the cage in a vertical line. Make sure to insert them at least one foot of the stake inside the soil to make them sturdy enough and then tie with the cage at least 2-3 points with the garden wire, zip ties, or Velcro.
You can also simply cut the horizontal ring at the bottom of the cage that will leave the vertical wires free at one end and then just insert those ends deep into the soil for a good hold.
Alternatives for making tomato cages
There are many other alternatives you may want to know how to make tomato cages and here are some of the interesting ones:
Using cattle panels- These are sturdy wire panels that are welded and makeup to be a super durable cage.
Using wooden frames- This is a cheaper way and works great for the determinate tomato varieties. It is also easier to make them.
Using twines and stakes- The simples of all cages can be made with some twines tied around four stakes in a square form.
Using bamboo sticks- These bamboo towers give a very smart look to the garden and are cheaper too.
Using PVC- If you want to avoid arranging and dealing with heavy equipment, then PVC is the best option for you as it lighter and easier to handle.
Making obelisk- This is an option when you have really tall-growing tomato plants like the indeterminate varieties and even easier to build.
Making a folding ladder- This looks nicer and is a more convenient option for easy storage during non-use months.
Making pods- These can be made super simple with just some rods and are very portable too.
Making a row cage- You can make a long cage that covers all the plants in the same row. This saves efforts, cost, and gives very effective results.
Tips on handling the tomato cages and plants inside
Here are some useful tips on managing the plants and the DIY tomato cage together:
This was all about the different ways of building a DIY tomato cage and how it can solve many problems with your tomato plant. We suggest you keep in mind your budget and convenience while making a cage and choose a suitable alternative in that case.