farmwife, gardening, tomatoes

How to Make the Best Tomato Cages

Learn how to make the best tomato cages! #tomatoes #gardening #homesteading #growingtomatoes #beginnergardener

Hey guys!

So, a couple weeks ago, a reader asked me about my tomato cages after seeing this picture

Learn how to make the best tomato cages ever!
See my tomatoes in the background?

Because of that, I decided to do a tutorial on how to make them and where to get all of your supplies!

Before we get started, let me give you a little tomato tip- tomato plants produce more when they are staked in some sort of fashion!  I have read this numerous places, plus I have experienced this in my own garden.  Last year, I didn’t quite have enough cages, so I let a couple plants just sprawl on the ground.  Yes, they produced tomatoes, but they didn’t do as well and the tomatoes were much harder to pick!

So, having some good heavy duty tomato cages will definitely increase your tomato production, plus it’ll make harvesting them much, much easier!

How many of you have tried the cheap 3 ring cages that you find at about any store this time of year?  Yeah, me, too!

They lasted me all of one season, they can’t support the plants, and they’re super short, right?  I knew I needed something heavier.

Now, before I begin, I must confess, my cages are not my own invention.  My sister and another friend both have cages like mine.  So, I didn’t invent these, K?  I’m sure there are other’s out there using these, too!

But, enough chit chat!  You’re ready to learn to make them, I’m sure!

Here’s what you need:

  • bolt cutters
  • a small crescent or box end wrench
  • roll of concrete wire mesh

If you don’t have bolt cutters laying around (I live on a farm, so we have every tool imaginable), you can get them at any home improvement or hardware store, or be modern and order them online!  Jeff said a 14 inch pair would be enough to cut the wire or you can go slightly bigger for better leverage and get an 18 inch pair.  They run you about $20.  You can find them on Amazon, Lowe’s, Walmart, etc.

 

The best DIY tomato cages!
Ignore the middle pliers- I didn’t end up using them!

This is what the wire mesh looks like.  It’s super heavy duty and is used in laying concrete.  This is a partial roll left over from a project my in-laws were doing.

Learn to make the best DIY tomato cages!

It’s officially known as either concrete wire mesh, or remesh.  You can find it at home improvement stores (Lowe’s, Home Depot, Menards, etc).  A full roll is usually 150 ft long and 5 ft tall which will make you about 25 cages.  Don’t freak out if you don’t have 25 tomatoes to stake!  Have a cage making party with some fellow gardeners and split the cages and the cost.  Or make all 25 and sell some!  Or just be like me and go ahead and plant 25 tomatoes, lol 😉

Learn to make the best DIY tomato cages!
See the big holes in it? This is wire it’s such a wonderful tomato cage! It’s very supportive, yet allows you to pick your tomatoes without any difficulty.

Next you need to start rolling it out.  It’s really a 2 person job.  I had Lindy helping me, but since she was also my photographer, you won’t see her doing her part 😉

Learn to make the best DIY tomato cages!

You need to unroll about 70 inches of it or enough that you have 12-13 squares.  In the next picture, you’ll see how we trimmed the ends to give you wire to work with.

Learn to make the best DIY tomato cages!

OK, see how I trimmed the ends to leave pointy wire?  That’s what you’ll use to close your circle and attach it to itself so it doesn’t come apart.

Learn to make the best DIY tomato cages!

Now, I’m closing in the circle.  Next I take that little crescent and using the hole in the handle, I’ll wrap the wire ends around the mesh itself.

Learn to make the best DIY tomato cages

Start wrapping!

Learn to make the best DIY tomato cages!

In the end it looks like this…

Learn to make the best DIY tomato cages!

When you’re all done you have a cage that looks like this!

Learn to make the best DIY tomato cages! #tomatoes #gardening #growingtomatoes #beginnergardener

See that t post inside the cage?  That is very important if you live in an area that gets strong winds or thunderstorms!

Learn to make the best DIY tomato cages!

I use 6 foot t posts and drive them about a foot into the ground.

It’s important to stake your cages because that itty bitty tomato plant will grow to be 5 ft tall and top heavy.  One stiff breeze can knock it right over.  My first year using these cages, I just used electric fence posts to support them.  They only stick up about 3 ft.  We had a good thunderstorm in August and all of my tomatoes blew over!!

Lesson learned, people.

Learn to make the best DIY tomato cages!

What is this going to cost you, you wonder?

If you add in the cost of the bolt cutters, you end up with about $6.50 in each cage (I’m rounding up).  If you already own bolt cutters, then it drops the price to $5.50 a cage.  But, if you ask your family/friends/neighbors if you can have their extra concrete mesh from that home project they just did, then your cages are free, lol!  This is how I acquired the materials for my cages 😉

To put it in perspective, one of those flimsy, tiny wire cages from a garden center or Walmart costs over $6 and they only last one season!  These cages could potentially last a lifetime 🙂

Learn how to make the best tomato cages! #tomatoes #gardening #homesteading #growingtomatoes #beginnergardener

Here’s a brief recap:

  • 150 ft of wire will make you about 25 cages
  • Each cage will cost $5.50-6.50 a piece
  • A cage is 5 ft tall
  • Use a 6 ft. t post to stake it
  • Enjoy gathering your yummy red tomatoes!!

Before I forget, make sure you cage your tomatoes before they get huge!  Did you see the size of the plant in my picture?  Not very big yet, right?  Which means it’s the perfect size to cage!  I have waited too long before and it ends up being a pain in the backside as you try to slip the cage over the plant without breaking branches.  As they grow, I try to tuck the branches into the cage so that they take up less space in the garden.

Learn how to make the best tomato cages for your plants!  Get improved yields and easier harvesting!

Happy gardening!!

Do you have any questions for me?  Any tips or tricks that work for you?

 

 

Feel free to share with your friends!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *