DIY Tomato Cage

Easy Tips for Successfully Supporting those Tomatoes

Tomatoes ripen best in full sun so it's important to keep them exposed to air and those solar rays.

DIY Tomato Cage

In addition, to keep the ripening fruit from rotting, it's crucial to prevent them making contact with the soil.

The solution? A DIY tomato cage!

There are lots of easy ways to support the heavy lush plants and their harvest until it's ready for you to pick.

Some people just let their plants sprawl along the ground, but then the tomatoes get dirty. If this is you, use a mulch that will keep them up off the ground so you don't have to wash them as much.

Simple DIY Tomato CageSimple DIY Tomato Cage using a length of soaker hose stuck through the fence

I've seen commercial greenhouses using strings put in place when the plants are quite small and the growing vines of indeterminate types are twined up the strings, making it easy to pick the fruit (the ones at the bottom ripen first) and then at the end of the season the drying vines are simply pulled off the bottom of the loose string.

This is the perfect solution for indeterminate tomatoes, those that ramble along for the whole summer. For determinate types, that start setting fruit then don't grow any taller, there are other methods to use.

You can tie the string to some kind of weight to hold it in place in windy areas outdoors.

Tomato PlantTomato Plant, held up by the fence

In my hay bale garden, I've utilized the stucco wire fence to support the vines.

Initially I thought the fence would have supported them, but it soon became obvious that the growth was too much and the plants were falling over.

So I used the end of the soaker hose that I cut off as it was too long.  I put each end into one of the holes in the fence and this holds the stem of the tomato plant against the fence. The coarse texture of the hose keeps it from sliding out.

I've also used the support of a warm brick wall to give the tomato plants an edge in the upright sweepstakes. For this method, you'll need something like a trellis or a wire cage.

If you're handy with willow, make a cone shape to place over the tomato plant. Weave smaller branches through it where needed to hold up the (hopefully) heavy crop.

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