Do it Yourself Tomato Cages

| by | garden, vegetables | 2 comments:

It’s that time of year to put those tomatoes in the ground! YAY!!!!! As much as I love our tomatoes, they sure are needy little things. They’re always like “I’m thirsty, I’m hungry! I fell over! There’s bugs on me! This weed is touching me!” Sheesh! Yes, as wonderful as they are, they sure do need some additional attention and support. Emotional support (in the form of fish emulsion application and pep talks) and physical support. Oh yeah, we’re talking about the ever so important tomato cage. Those of you that usually buy tomato cages at big box stores can know how flimsy and unreliable can be. Instead of buying those or stringing up trellises, we make our own super sturdy and durable tomato cages from highway mesh. They’re very cost effective, can be used year after year, really strong and really awesome. We start out with a roll of highway mesh. You can find this at Home Depot, Lowes or farm supply stores. First, cut that sucker open with your bolt cutters but watch out because it can spring back and bite ya!

DIY tomato cages-Such and Such Farm
Behold, the roll of concrete highway mesh!
DIY tomato cages-Such and Such Farm
Use the bolt cutters to cut open the roll

Now it’s time to cut the highway mesh into the appropriate length. Start by cutting off the end of the wire, leaving you with open ended squares. You’ll use this end to tie together the opposite end, making a circle. It’ll make sense in a little bit. I promise. Now, you’ll measure out the appropriate length of wire you need for the diameter of cage that you want. We count eight full squares, then make a cut. This will leave you with a piece of wire that has one “open” end and one “closed” end.

Cutting off the first straight end of the wire will leave you with the "open" end.
Cutting off the first straight end of the wire will leave you with the “open” end.
DIY tomato cages-Such and Such Farm
Now you have one “open” end. Then, count eight full squares and cut again. This will leave you another “open” end for your next cage.
DIY tomato cage - Such and Such Farm
A little hard to see but you can see one “closed” end and one “open’ end. And our house.

Now that the piece of wire is cut, it’s time to construct the cage. Bend the wire so that the ends meet together. Take the wire pieces from the “open” end and bend it around the closed end to temporarily tether them together. Slightly bend the wires to one side. This prevents you from getting poked from the wire and also will serve as a guide when you bend the wire completely around.

DIY tomato cages - Such and Such Farm
Wrap the open wire around the closed end to hold it in place
DIY Tomato Cages - Such and Such Farm
Once the wire is wrapped around and securely held in place, you’re ready to move on.

Now, you can do this next step by hand (which we did with the first 100 cages). Or you can use this cool little tool thing that is actually a pin for our tractor implements. The hole for the clip is actually the perfect size for our tomato cage wire! You’ll take this tool, put the wire through the hole and use that to twist the wire around, securing it to the “closed” end and therefore making your circular cage.

DIY tomato cage - Such and Such Farm
Here’s the tractor pin tool thingy!
DIY Tomato Cage - Such and Such Farm
Slip the wire through the pin hole and twist around

tomatocage10Once you have all of the wires twisted around, you have a tomato cage! Almost. You’ll have a tear drop looking wire structure. Push down on the sides you just tied (the pointy end) and try to flatten it out so you have more of a circle than a tear drop.

IMG_2849

 

Now all that’s left is to cut the bottom wire! Use the bolt cutters to cut out the very bottom line of the wire so that you have spokes sticking out. This is the end that you’ll shove into the ground.

Cut off the bottom rim of the cage so you have pokey things to stick into the ground
Cut off the bottom rim of the cage so you have pokey things to stick into the ground

And just like that you have a DIY tomato cage that you can use for years and years! It takes a little investment but if you’re growing many tomatoes and are sick of buying cages every year, it really pays to make your own!

IMG_2857

 

 


2 Responses

  1. Linda Hutchison
    June 7, 2014
    Reply

    That’s how we made our cages, but without the nifty tool. Our first ones were a gift from a friend going through a divorce and that was in 1983. Those original cages are still in use, so rest assured these are a good investment. Have made them for neighbor’s, too. But instead of cutting off the end wire and sticking them in the ground, we use T-posts and wire these 12-15″ off the ground.

  2. June 11, 2014
    Reply

    Great DIY, thanks!! enjoyable read

Leave a Reply