Tomato cages can be seen as the best alternative for growing your tomato plants since they can provide the needed fuss free support for their growth. With cages, you are sure to have a bountiful harvest of clean, healthy and good quality tomato fruits. Small scale farmers choose to support their tomato plants with its own free-standing structure like tomato cages because it allows the plants to grow at different rates.
Cages will give the best result when used for bush or determinate and semi-determinate or intermediate varieties of tomato. Determinate and semi-determinate tomatoes do not need all that tall, sturdier support since they don’t grow taller than about three feet or one meter high. Tomato cages can be made from steel mesh or from wood depending on the choice of the gardener
To make a wooden cage, you will need a saw, marker (maybe a pencil), tape measure, Steel Square, wood paint, electric drill, drive electric drill bit and lengths of 2X2 wood.
- Cut four of 16 inches 2X2 wood and place them on a flat surface to form a square pattern. Use the steel square to check the corners if they are square.
- Screw the four pieces of wood together with the electric drill and drill bit. By now you must have gotten a square wooden assembly. Reproduce three of these.
- Cut four of 48 inches 2X2 wood. Get one of the assembled square set and place it on the floor, place four of the 48 inches wood each on the inside corners of the square and drill to fit. These 48 inches woods will serve as the legs of the cage.
- Measure up to 11 inches down from the first assembled square and attach the second and third squares.
- By now, you now have a firmly structured wooden cage. You can now paint it if you want to and make sure it dries before using at the garden.
Steel or mesh-wire cage
- Firstly, get a 6-inch square reinforcing mesh and cut a 5-6 lengths of the mesh with bolt cutters.
- Carefully roll the already cut mesh to make a tube of not less than 18-22 inches in diameter.
- Use gauge wires to tie the ends of the mesh together to make a close loop.
- You can then easily cut off the bottom wire from the formed cage; this will leave only the vertical wires to be used in staking them to the soil sticking out. You can now stake the cage over your plants.
- For steel cages, make sure you paint it before use to prevent rusting.
- Store your cage in a cool dry place after each planting season. Fold the mesh type flat so as to save storage space.
- For wooden tomato cages constructed from treated wood, you need to stake or use the cage in the garden for a year before painting it so that the paint can soak the wood very well.
- To ensure a firmly rooted cage, stake the legs to about 10 inches deep into the soil.
- Install your cage during planting time when the plants are still small so as to prevent the legs of the cage from damaging the roots of the plants.