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Growing tomatoes with Wire plant cages
Using wire cages to grow vegetable crops such as tomatoes has become increasingly popular because of their simplicity and benefits. Without such support, the weight of the developing fruits can cause the stem of the tomato plant to break. On the other hand, fruits that develop and rest on the ground can rot easily or encounter diseases which might reduce its quality.
The two strong stakes found on both sides of the cage prevents plants with heavy fruit from being blown away by heavy wind. Support tomatoes with cages also allow the plant to grow in a natural manner. It keeps the leaves of the plant off the ground and makes staking easy too. Tomato fruits grown in such condition develop more foliage which helps to reduce sunscald on the fruits. In addition, humidity is also higher due to the foliage density. Wire cages also help to space the plant apart. This causes better air circulation.
Things to consider when installing wire cages on tomato garden
However, wire cages for tomatoes are available in various designs. Tall growing vegetables should be supported with tall square cages.
All the designs and style of cages have the same way of installation. Gardeners can go for cage that is about 3 – 6 feet tall and 18 – 30 inches in diameter to support their tomatoes. Considering varieties, determinate tomato varieties should be supported with shorter cage. While the indeterminate tomato varieties should be supported with taller cages.
The opening in the cage is another thing to consider. It should be at least 15 cm so that you can harvest the fruits easily.
Steps in Installing the Cage
Materials required are:
Choose the right size of cage to support the mature tomato plant.
Place the cage over the plant after transplanting the seedling outside. You can also perform this task 10 days after transplanting. The plant should be at the center of the cage and drive the legs of the cage into the soil.
Hammer two 2-foot stakes into the ground. It should be done on each side of the cage. Make sure each stake is tied to the wire cage with a cloth plant tie so it does not fall off as the plant grow further.
Allow dropping branches to pass through the openings of the cage as the plant grows t maturity. This will prevent the branches from touching the ground.
To prevent the tomato plant from growing taller than the support, take off the top of each main stem.
There is no better way to make plants grow and yield well than providing supports. It makes it easier to maintain crop. It also protect crops from animals and better produce quality at harvest.