Tomato Cages That Don't Fall Over?

Discussion in 'Gardening' started by DonnaFreak, Mar 28, 2017.

  1. DonnaFreak

    DonnaFreak Out Of The Brooder

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    Howdy y'all. [​IMG]

    I've been gardening for decades and for the most part, I've been fairly successful at it. But I've failed miserably at keeping my tomato plants standing. Sooner or later they get top heavy and they fall over, dragging their poor defenseless cages with them! So is there such a thing as a cage that won't fall over before the maters even start getting ripe? What have y'all done?

    Donna
     
  2. authHeirlooms

    authHeirlooms Just Hatched

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    We've done a couple of things that have worked. We had a lot of success making cages out of rabbit fence, then staking on 4 sides with 12" loop stakes. We put the narrow end down to keep pests out. :) Last year we did that and also put some of our tomatoes along a heavy-duty fence made of remesh and t-posts. We tilted the fencing out at the base so the plants grew up through it, then we kept training them through the fence (& cutting suckers) - both methods have worked very well for us, and also make it much less expensive than the standard cages. We grow 70+ varieties of tomatoes each year and it works equally well for varieties that have big fruit, and huge plants. Hope that helps!
     
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Hey, Donna. Tomato cages are pathetic at doing the job they were designed for. IMO, the only good use for them is to lay them on their side in the early spring. You can use them to cover a row of tender seedlings, and put some poly over the cages. They make wonderful tunnels.

    Want a perfect and sturdy tomato cage that will support a whole row without falling over? Buy 2 pieces of cattle panel. (16' long) Drive rebar stakes or T posts in the ground about 5' apart down each side of the bed the tomatoes will be planted in. I place the CP about 15" apart. Plant your tomatoes, then attach the CP to each set of stakes with zip ties. I like to prop them up off the ground with bricks. But, really no need to do so, as CP is essentially indestructible. I sometimes stick some tree branches horizontally between the CP to help hold up some of the inner tomato vines, but rarely have to do so. You could also tie the CP together here and there for more support, but again, I've rarely had to do so.
     
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  4. R2elk

    R2elk Overrun With Chickens

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    The simplest thing I have done is to simply drive a wooden stake so that it passes on the inside of the middle ring and the outside of the bottom ring of a regular tomato cage. We get really strong winds here and the stake prevents the tomato cage from falling over. If necessary a second stake can be added but I have found the single wooden stake placed on the windy side works great for me.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2017
  5. Momlife

    Momlife New Egg

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    Sometimes I find turning the cage upside down large side down.

    I never find tomatoe cages to be tall enough.

    I like using stakes and twine. I do a lot of vertical a gardening
     
  6. R2elk

    R2elk Overrun With Chickens

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    For the few indeterminate varieties that I grow, I wire two tomato cages together big end to big end getting double the heighth. Those I sometimes use 2 stakes to make sure they are stout enough to keep from tipping over.
     
  7. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

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    I wish I could grow tomatoes. I have such a black thumb. we tried straw bale gardening two years ago and it worked really well. but I sure wish I was a better gardener. Only problem with straw bale gardening is you end up with all these leftover straw bales . we don't need to compost anywhere else on the lot so we end up with all this crud we have to haul away.
    Anyone had good luck with Hansen's Bush Cherries in zone 5 ? thanks!
    I want a new Orchard . my cherry trees died of crown rot. Both my snow apple and my cider apple trees died of old age . I just have the Fuji apple left . It is two stories tall now. We grew it from a stick. I want a Northern Spy , a Jonathan, and a Rome super dwarf trees. I think that would be fun.
    Believe It or Not best crops I ever had came from tabletop Gardens that Bob built me. we went to the lumber mill on top of the mountain , got rough cut Lumber, and he made me tabletop Gardens . I painted them Lowe's White Barn paint . They were great and I didn't ever hardly ever have weeds up there either because they would like three and a half feet above ground level but he doesn't want tabletop any more because they are hard to move around, so it looks like I'm back to raised beds or something. You can see a picture of one of them on my BYC
    ThreeRiverschick VIP interview.
    Sigh,
    Karen
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2017
  8. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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  9. Kryden

    Kryden Just Hatched

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    My favorite method for tomatoes is the Florida weave. Before I knew it had an actual name and was a widely used technique, I just called it a tomato wall. It requires posts (we use metal T-posts) and twine or rope. It's pretty simple. Plant tomatoes 18-24 inches apart in rows. Then put posts at each end and in the rows so that there is a repeating pattern of "post, 2 tomato plants, post...." and so on, for however long the row is. Then use the twine or rope to make a tight loop around each set of posts with the plants inside the loop. I hope that makes sense, but if it doesn't a quick google search brings up a lot of pictures and blog posts.

    This picture is from the first or second year I tried this method. They were cherry tomatoes, but we've used it for large varieties too. Those posts were about 5 feet high and I had to keep trimming the plants because they were getting way too tall for it. Also, I should have had at least one more post in the middle there. I'm pretty sure there were 4 or 5 tomato plants in that row. The only problem I've ever had with this method is my tendency to procrastinate. If they get too tall before adding more twine, they will start to fall over the twine/rope. Then it's much harder to add the next row and get the plants in where they need to be.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2017
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  10. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

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    That's a great idea on the straw bales lazy Gardener ! only problem is that last year I didn't know about this and now they're just covered with weeds . so if I try to use them for compost I'm going to have weeds in my garden . What Frustration!!
    somebody come Garden for me [​IMG][​IMG]
    Looking up lasagna gardening .sounds good enough to eat.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2017

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