Using tomato cages, coupled with tomato stakes, will lessen your worries in growing tomatoes in your garden. For one, they help clear out the messy vines that crawl all over the place.
Tomato cages are a good way to make the fruits more accessible. The tomato stakes, on the other hand, can help lift your plant off the ground and avoid possible diseases.
There are commercial options that are ready-to-use, but they may not be able to address your gardening's specific requirements. In this article, I'll be showing some practical DIY tomato cages and stakes you can try.
Practical and Easy-to-Make Tomato Cages and Stakes for Your Garden
1. Metal Panel Tomato Cage
Tomato varieties can be categorized as determinate or indeterminate. The difference between the two is that indeterminate tomatoes continue to extend its vine throughout the growing season.
Most of the tomato varieties we are familiar with are indeterminate. So if you're planning to stake and cage them, you should be looking at sturdier and taller options.
- livestock panels (16-ft long by 4-ft wide)
- bolt cutter
- cable ties
- straight lumber
- Lay the metal panel on a flat surface. Measure and mark 3 sections with 64-inches length each. The panels should be 3-feet wide as well.
- Use a bolt cutter to cut through the panel. Also, don't forget to use working gloves as the metal frames are really hard.
- Take one panel, place the lumber in the middle.
Put your weight on the lumber and bend the panel towards you until you achieve a 90° angle.
- You may use a sledgehammer to perfect the right angle. Do these with the other panels.
- Push two bent panels together to form a cage around your tomato plant.
- Secure the ends of the panels with cable ties at the top, in the middle, and near the bottom.
Expert Tip: You can have the livestock panels cut in the store to make it easier for you to take them home. Just instruct them on your desired sizes.
2. Wood Frame Tomato Cage
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This is a cheaper alternative to the first option above, but offers the same strong support to your tomato plant. You can choose from different types of wood available in stores near you. Go for untreated lumber for this project.
- 4 (2x2x60-inch) lumber blocks
- 16 (2x2x18-inch) lumber blocks
- deck screws or nails
- screwdriver or hammer
- measuring tape
- wood stain or paint
- Prepare your lumbers to make 2 rails. Each rail should have 2 2x2x60-inch and 4 1x2x18-inch lumbers. The longer woodblock will be the vertical support, while the shorter ones will be placed horizontally at 14″ distance between each other.
- Secure the horizontal lumber pieces using nails or deck screws. The horizontal rail should extend 1-inch each beyond the vertical posts.
- Once you've made the two main rails, connect them using the remaining lumbers. Align these to the horizontal lumbers and secure with nails or screw.
- Make the wood frame last several growing seasons by applying wood stain or paint.
Expert Tip: When placing the horizontal panels, start with the top panel first, then the bottom, and secure the middle panel last.
3. PVC Tomato Cage
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This easy DIY tomato cage is my favorite because it's easy to customize to meet your different requirements. Moreso, smaller versions of this tomato cage can be used for eggplants, cucumbers, and squashes.
To top it all, these look good in the garden and are easy to maintain.
- 20 pcs. 10-inch 1/2″ PVC pipes (vertical rail)
- 40 pcs. 7-inch 1/2″ PVC pipes (horizontal rail)
- 4 pcs. T-shaped 1/2″ PVC connector
- 16 pcs. X-shaped 1/2″ PVC connector
- 20 pcs. 1/2″ elbow PVC connector
- PVC cement
- 4 pcs. steel bar (optional)
- measuring tape
- marker and duct tape
- electric saw
- Start by cutting 10″ and 7″ pipes. Measure, mark with the marker and duct tape, and cut the PVC pipes according to the required length.
- Cement 2 10-inch vertical PVC pieces on opposite ends of the X-shaped connector. Add 2 7-inch horizontal PVC pieces on the remaining slots in the connector. Repeat and make 4 of these crosses.
- Using elbow connectors, connect the horizontal rails to form a square. This will form your base for the tomato cage.
- Add vertical pieces then put X-shaped connectors on top. Place the horizontal pieces and close off ends with the elbow PVC connectors.
- Repeat step 4 until you reach 4 levels.
- For the topmost square, use a T-shaped connector on top of the vertical PVCs. Add horizontal pipes and elbow connectors.
- Now that you're ready to put them in use, gently push down the tomato cage to mark the soil. Pull it out and set aside.
- Take the steel bar and hammer them down to the spots where the PVC pipes should stand. Place your cage over these steel stakes. They'll make your cage sturdier.
Expert Tip: Only cement the bottom and top parts for easy disassembly. This will also give you the flexibility to add or deduct portions depending on how big your plant grows.
Watch this video from Freckles and Sprouts on how to make tomato cage using compostable twines:
With these DIY tomato cages and stakes, you'll be able to grow healthy tomatoes and more. These ideas are not only easy to make, but they're also cost-effective and long-lasting. You'll be sure to use them for many growing seasons to come.
Which of these tomato cages will you try this growing season? Let us know in the comments section below.
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