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When growing tomatoes, you need some way to contain them. Here are some different ways on how to stake tomatoes and use tomato cages.
Growing up, the one vegetable that was always planted in our garden were tomatoes. We always had several different types of beefsteak, Roma and cherry tomatoes.
This tradition of always growing tomatoes came from my Dad and his family tradition of growing a ton of tomatoes. My Grandma always used to say the grocery store tomatoes had no flavor and there wasn’t anything else like a homegrown tomato.
And it’s true. The flavor from the old heirloom varieties is amazing.
Growing tomatoes is something that my family has continued to make sure to grow in our garden. There are so many different ways you can preserve tomatoes – from ketchup and salsa to making your own sun-dried tomatoes.
While we love growing tomatoes, we don’t love how tomato plants spread out and become so unruly. Tomato plants can and will take over and spread EVERYWHERE if they aren’t contained some way.
Not only is it a pain when the tomato plants are all over, but it can cause the plant to become diseased.
We found we liked our tomato plants to have some support. Tomato cages serve as one of the best ways to support them.
What Are Tomato Cages?
If you aren’t sure what a tomato cage is, it is most commonly made of wire, although they can be made from other materials such as wood or pvc pipe too. It’s basically a cage that goes around the tomato plant and the plant can grow up and through the openings around the tomato cage.
Tomato cages are good because they provide an all-around support to the growing tomatoes. Since there are so many leaves around the cage, the tomatoes are not harmed due to sun scald, and the soil remains shaded too.
Since the tomato plant grows up through the cage, this also gets the tomato fruit up off the ground, which can help prevent tomatoes from cracking.
The tomato cage stays with the tomato plant for the growing season. It is very easy to harvest the tomatoes when it is growing with a tomato cage, even if the fruit is on the inside of the cage.
Tomatoes can be caged in different ways and there are plenty of options. One thing you should keep in mind is that you should keep the height of the cage at least 5 feet so that it can support tomato vines the whole growing season. If you want to grow shorter tomatoes such as Siberia and Santiam, you can use short cages.
The cheap wire ones from the store don’t really work. As soon as your tomatoes really start taking off and there is some weight to the plant, the cages bend and/or fall over and don’t really do the job you bought it for.
These wire cages are a lot thicker than the ones you see in the stores and should be able to support the tomato plant weight. Or you can DIY with this wire cage that should also work much better than the typical ones you see at the stores.
How to Stake Tomatoes
The string and stake method of caging tomatoes is very affordable and easy to use. You need a stake of at least 5 feet long for each plant plus some stretchy twine/rope like this.
Put the stake next to the tomato plant and loosely tie the stem of the plant to the stake. As the plant grows, you will keep tieing the plant to the stake.
It’s super easy to do.
Basket Weave / Florida Weave
For this type of tomato support system you will use strong support stakes, such as T-bars on the outside of the rows as well as spaced where needed throughout the rows. You also need smaller stakes to go between the T-bars and every few plants and you need some twine.. You will have 3-4 plants between the stakes and weave the twine around the plants and stakes.
This is a great method to use if you have a lot of tomato plants growing. it will save you a lot of time.
Another video will do a better job of describing this method.
I hope you found a new way to cage your tomatoes.