Thursday, May 28, 2009

An Inexpensive Homemade Tomato Cage

Here is an inexpensive little project I'm working on that hopefully will work to hold a tomato plant. This homemade tomato cage is made from the pliable branches of a sycamore tree my neighbor limbed up. I offered to take the branches to dump in a pit in the backyard and mentioned I might use a few of the branches for cages. The cage itself isn't complete since I still have two more branches to add that will cross from corner to corner.  Once I put those on I'll tie them at the center point and at each corner. I may add one more branch vertically along the stem of the tomato plant as a stake then attach it to the others. Afterward I'll just add a few more branches along the outsides as needed to hold in that feisty tomato plant!

Total cost of this project was $0 and it only took a few minutes to put it together.  If it works it's well worth the effort!


As you can see the tomato plant is growing strong and healthy among the garlic. Garlic is a good companion crop for tomatoes. It seems that when choosing companion planting combinations what you can eat together on a plate (basil, garlic and tomatoes) usually does well together in the garden!

16 comments :

  1. Cool, Dave! Let us know how it works!

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  2. Yes, please post the results, I'd like to use this myself, if it works.

    Thanks!

    ~Faith

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  3. I think it will work well if you are sure to balance out the tomato as you tie it up. It's actually really innovative!

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  4. Those look more like twigs instead of branches Dave. I love the rustic look, but I'm afraid they might be a tad on the skimpy side for supporting fully grown tomato plants laden with fruit. Especially if your plants get as big as mine.

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  5. TC,

    You may be right but the project isn't finished yet. The center stake will provide a good deal of the support while the cross braces will help it too. It may be hard to tell from the picture but the twigs are thicker than some bamboo stakes that you buy in the store (what I used last year). My other tomatoes are staked up using tomato stakes so I can do a bit of a comparison.

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  6. I bet it will do great...you are a very creative gardener..

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  7. When I was growing up, we called this a switch, lol. I think this is a great way to use the branches.

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  8. I do the same thing, except I use tulip sapplings that I cut out of the woods beside our house. They work wonderfully!

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  9. I love this idea! I just wish I had read this before making this year's purchase.

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  10. Me too Dave. I like the fact it costs 0. Some of the stakes I've used this yr. are too short for the plants. The stakes from the big box store. I have used the stalks from my hibiscus {after the cold has knocked it back}. They are quite strong & some are not little at all.

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  11. Hmmmm. I have a few Princess bushes that could use a severe pruning, and 7 tomato plants that can't fit into the cage system I already have. . . there's inspiration!

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  12. Dave- I love those tomato cages! I'm hoping I can convince my hubby to use those on his tomatoes!

    I have a question for you. Where did you gain all of your gardening experience? I'm considering a Master Gardener program in the fall and wondering if it's worth my time & money or if I can just as easily gain that knowledge on my own. Jen

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  13. Thanks all for your comments! I went out last night and tied a few things together and everything seems to be going well so far. I can't wait for those tomatoes to come in. We have a ton of blooms about to open!

    Hi Jen!

    My gardening know how has been gathered in two main ways, a whole lot of reading and trial and error. I'm one of those nerdy types who can spend time reading an encyclopedia of gardening! That being said I have taken a Master Gardeners course and it is a great thing to do. If you already know a lot the course can help remind you of things you might have forgotten or fill in gaps. For those with limited experience it can teach a ton of information. Besides it was fun to do!

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  14. Looks to me like it ought to work great. I need to build my tomato trellises soon too. The plants are growing like wildfire!

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  15. If you have grape vines (and you should) every year they produce copious amounts of long tough flexible woody new growth that has to be pruned in the fall.

    Marvelous material for all kinds of trellises. Yes, I should blog that one.

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  16. I did this last year with bamboo, the martha stewart way (with one plant at the base of each stake, tied up as they grew). It worked great!
    Look forward to seeing the progress pictures here!

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