How to Make Your Own Tomato Cages
Homemade Tomato Cages
Finding a good tomato cage is hard work, maybe harder than growing the actual tomatoes! The traditional wire tomato baskets never seem to be tall enough and become costly if you have several plants. There are trellis-type structures, but it's a lot of work to tie tomatoes stalks and branches to the supports. Structures or cages that are strong enough and tall enough usually cost more than $10 each. With just a little bit of do-it-yourself ability, you can make your own heavy-duty tomato cages for about five or six dollars each. They are sturdy and will last for years.
Here's how to do it:
Step 1 – Buy a roll of fencing from your local or big box hardware store. You can get a 50 foot roll of welded wire farm or garden fencing, five feet (60 inches) tall, for about $40 - $50. This farm fencing, sometimes known as hog wire, has rectangular openings, approximately two inches by four inches. If you don't have bolt cutters, it is worth buying some while you are at the store. It is very easy to cut welded wire fencing with bolt cutters. Eight inch length cutters are about $10.
Step 2 – Cut a length of fencing five feet long, or slightly less. You should be able to get 10 sections, enough for 10 tomato cages, out of your 50 foot roll. Make your cuts in the middle of each wire segment. That will leave about one inch of wire to hook the cage together. Hook the fencing together to form a circle or tube. It will be about 30 inches diameter. Use pliers to bend each, or at least every other, of the horizontal one inch wire segments around the opposite end of the circle. This will lock or hold your tubular tomato cage together.
Step 3 – Cut off the entire horizontal length of wire from one end of the tube by cutting each vertical wire section where it meets the last horizontal segment. This will leave a series of four inch vertical segments. When you install the cage, these vertical segments will stick into the ground to help anchor the tomato cage.
Step 4 – Create a series of handholes, anywhere from four to six, evenly spaced around the cage. You might have three “rows” of holes with one or two holes in each row. Remove the wire segments that form the center of four adjacent rectangles. This will create a hole approximately eight inches tall by four inches wide. When you cut the wire, leave about one inch of wire on each side, top and bottom. Bend back each of these wires so that there are not sharp edges on the perimeter of the handhole. You don't want want to scratch yourself when you harvest tomatoes! Add flagging, tape or a clothespin next to the hole to make it easier to find.
Step 5 – Place the tomato cage over a recently planted tomato. The wire ends created by Step 3 will stick into the ground. You may want to tie the cage to one or two wood or metal stakes for extra stability.
That's all there is to it! Your new, homemade tomato cages will last for years.
Caution – the cut pieces of wire have sharp ends! It's a good idea to wear gloves when you are making the cage. If you are worried about scraping yourself after the cage is installed, you can wrap exposed wire ends with duct tape.
Note: All photographs are by the author and may not be reused without permission.
Supplies mentioned in this hub
- Kobalt 8'' Bolt Cutter
Find Kobalt 8'' Bolt Cutter at Lowes.com
- Welded Wire Fence
Google shopping results for 60" x 50' welded wire fence
- Shop Red Brand 60" x 50' Wire Garden Fence at Lowes.com
Welded wire fencing
© 2012 chet thomas