Stake, cage or pen tomato vines now

One time investment, years of use

Tomato ladders are sturdy and suitable for heavy tomatoes on lage vines.
Tomato ladders are sturdy and suitable for heavy tomatoes on lage vines. | Source

Tomato Pen

Collapsible tomato pens or folding cages are ideal support for tomatoes if the are well made and sturdy.
Collapsible tomato pens or folding cages are ideal support for tomatoes if the are well made and sturdy. | Source

Tomato stakes, cheap and easy

Supporting tomato plants. Bet your tomato plants are growing and blooming like crazy. You have the BLT makings, bread, bacon and lettuce, waiting for that first red ripe tomato.

Small tomatoes, like cherry tomatoes or pear tomatoes just keep on producing fruit all summer and on to the first frost. The vines may not be weighted with heavy tomatoes, but they do keep growing taller and taller. So, get yours supports or stakes in place before they are necessary. Really tall plants can become top heavy, fall over and snap. That will put an end to your tomato season for this year.

Big, heavy tomatoes need support as they grow. Indeterminate plants keep growing and producing fruit all season. If you are aiming for the biggest tomato category, don't lose the contest because heavy tomatoes snap the vines.

The easiest of all supports is a simple 1'x2' pine stake pounded into the ground beside the tomato plant. Buy stakes at least six feet tall. Saw one end to a point, making it easier to drive into the ground. Keep pounding the stake until it is solidly in the ground.

Place one stake on either side of an indeterminate tomato vine if big plants and big tomatoes are expected. Frugal gardeners can recut to the sharpen the pointed end and flatten the top in a couple of years when they dull or split. Store in the corner of the garage or under the house, away from winter weather.

Artful spirals are easy to use and attractive

Tomato spirals are ideal for roma tomatoes and determinate vines.
Tomato spirals are ideal for roma tomatoes and determinate vines. | Source

Tomato ladder and spirals

Tomato ladders will support big vines loaded with tomatoes. Most will provide solid support and do not need to be driven as deep into the ground as wooden stakes.

Spiral stakes or thin wavy metal stakes are best for determinate or smaller plants. Or, use two stakes per plant. Some large tomato vines simply become too unwieldy for this support method. If you keep plants well pruned, spirals are a good choice.

I like the artful tomato spirals for paste tomatoes and smaller fruited tomatoes. They take up a minimum of space during the winter. Bundle them all together and tie at the top and bottom plus, in the middle of the bundle. Now, storage is a snap.

Collapsible tomato cages, or folding cages are great for winter storage. Do not waste your money on flimsy versions. These may be pricey, they good, sturdy cages and be used for years, making your initial cost a bargain.

Stakes, ladders or spirals all work well if you are watching the tomatoes daily and pruning regularly. Big plants with lots of tomatoes can quickly get out of control toppling over or breaking the plant. All will allow air circulation and easy access for picking.

Tie Tomatoes Allowing for Growth

soft and reusable foam tie and bamboo stake.
soft and reusable foam tie and bamboo stake. | Source

Make your own cages and ties

Collapsible tomato cages or pens and homemade tomato cages are sturdy and provide good support. Well made cages will last for years. Make sure wire mesh is in 4 x4 inche or 6 x 6 inch squares for good circulation and easy tomato picking.

Build your own tomato cages from a roll of wire, concrete-reinforcing wire, woven-wire stock fencing. Four-foot wide reinforcing mesh makes great tomato cages because of its strength and large four-inch square holes. It is very stiff and difficult to work with.

You need heavy-duty wire cutters or bolt cutters and work gloves. Cut the roll of wire at 56 to 60 inches to make a cage about 18 inches in diameter. Form cages by wiring the cut edges together with lengths of lighter wire, or use pliers to form hooks from the horizontal wires and hook them onto the vertical wire on the other end.

Tie tomatoes to the stake with twine, kite string, rags or floral wire. I've used stretchy plastic tape, ties cut from plastic bags or cloth strips made from rags. Tie tomato plants to stakes with flexible plastic tape, soft foam tape or inexpensive kitchen twine.

Do not tie plants tightly. Leave plenty of room for plant growth and avoid cutting off circulation. Use a recyclable material that can go right into the compost pile, or ties that are easily retrievable at seasons end.

Even with staking, plants whould be pruned

This tomato support works well in containers or in the garden. To get easy access to fruit, keep plants pruned.
This tomato support works well in containers or in the garden. To get easy access to fruit, keep plants pruned. | Source

More by this Author


Comments 18 comments

Patsybell profile image

Patsybell 19 months ago from zone 6a, SEMO Author

Those small tomatoes are so prolific, they can weigh down a plant the same as giant tomatoes. Staking even the little ones also makes them easier to pick. Thank you for your kind comments.


Patsybell profile image

Patsybell 19 months ago from zone 6a, SEMO Author

You crack me up, poetryman6969. Since CA produces the majority of produce for our entire country, I don't think the state will begrudge you a few homegrown tomatoes. Some of my best friends grow tomatoes in CA. It's OK. Thanks for your comments, you made my day.


Patsybell profile image

Patsybell 19 months ago from zone 6a, SEMO Author

Hope you separate your three tomato plants, setting them at least 2 feet apart. I have windsock in the garden, that keeps the birds away from the tomatoes. Ribbons tied to stakes will work too. Enjoy those tomatoes!


mary615 profile image

mary615 19 months ago from Florida

I purchased this little peat container of tomato seeds. The directions said to just plant the peat pot in soil. Well, I rolled my eyes and followed the directions. Lo, and behold....I now have three beautiful tomato plants. I threw the label out like a dummy, so now I don't know what I have. I would be so happy to have some home grown tomatoes! One year the birds ate my tomatoes before I could enjoy them!

Voted this UP, etc. and shared.


poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 19 months ago

Stake those tomatoes because like vampires they had it coming! Besides they're red.

Where I am going, California, I would imagine they discourage gardening due the drought. But I vicariously appreciate your industriousness.

That tomatoes need to be penned or caged make me think of that movie: Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 19 months ago from California

Your tomatoes look great! We also grow the small ones, but the weight of them pulls the vines down so much!


Patsybell profile image

Patsybell 3 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO Author

If those squirrels have something else to eat or drink, they may leave your tomatoes alone. Put corn cobs as far away from the tomatoes as you can. Nothing is better than a home grown tomato. Don't give up. Good luck, keep me posted about your progress. Thank you for the comment.


Patsybell profile image

Patsybell 3 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO Author

Thnks for the comments. May this be your best tomato season ever.


Patsybell profile image

Patsybell 3 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO Author

If you stake those little cherry tomatoes, they will just keep growing and producing until frost. They can grow10 ft tall! Thanks for the comment.


Patsybell profile image

Patsybell 3 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO Author

ignugent17 I appreciate your comment. As weather gets warmer, tomato plants will grow very fast and need continued staking to get the best and biggest tomatoes.


ignugent17 profile image

ignugent17 3 years ago

My tomatoes are already having flowers and they really need a cage. Thanks for this useful information.

Have a great day! :-)


Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

Marcy Goodfleisch 3 years ago from Planet Earth

Hi, Patsy - you gave me some ideas to try 'once again' to have luscious tomatoes in my yard. So far, it's been nothing but disappointment and the honor of giving a few fat squirrels something to chomp on. One year, I had potted tomatoes - and I went out one morning & found every single one had just one bite taken out of it. Stupid squirrels - you'd think they'd realize after the first few bites that they didn't care for the cuisine!


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

Great hub with beautiful photos. You have me motivated to do something about those tomatoes while they are still knee-high.


vandynegl profile image

vandynegl 3 years ago from Ohio Valley

Good information! Love my tomatoes! Never tried the ladders or cages, but I have seen those cherry tomatoes get out of control! Thanks for sharing!


Patsybell profile image

Patsybell 3 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO Author

phdast7 Thank you. You made my day.


Patsybell profile image

Patsybell 3 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO Author

RTalloni, thank you for your kind words. I hope your tomato plants are loaded the year.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

Thanks for this look at supporting tomato plants. Though we only grow the tiny ones, the plants are so loaded that they need to be staked and/or caged. This is a good reminder to get them supported before it's too late.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Such a helpful Hub, well all of your hubs on tomatoes are! Thank you very much. Definitely SHARING.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working