Inventive Vegetable Gardener:Easy methods to Use Tomato Cages for Bigger Harvests


tomatoes with a cageWhether or not you’re a rural dweller with an enormous vegetable backyard or an urbanite who practices small area gardening, you’ve most likely tried your hand at rising tomatoes. Everybody loves the savory style of homegrown tomatoes, and rising them might be enjoyable.

Whereas rising tomatoes has its rewards, it additionally has its challenges. As a result of tomato crops develop quickly, they must be caged or the tomato stems can bend and even break, spilling all of that lovely fruit on the bottom.

So what do you do? You’ve most likely heard that many gardeners use tomato cages. However you might be not sure of find out how to purchase and use them. On this article, I’ll share some tips about find out how to use tomato cages to guarantee that you’ve got loads of ripe, juicy tomatoes all season.

examples of tomato cages

These are the DIY tomato cages I made for my backyard

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Why Use Tomato Cages

I can’t think about rising tomatoes with out caging them. It could be a catastrophe! Listed here are the the explanation why I extremely suggest studying find out how to use tomato cages:

Unsupported tomato crops can sprawl onto the bottom as a result of their stems change into too weak and wobbly to assist their massive measurement and heavy fruit.

It’s attainable that the stems may even snap, significantly throughout a tough wind and rain storm. Then you definately’d lose all of that great fruit that you simply’d been trying ahead to harvesting.

Tomatoes that lie sprawled on the bottom are extra vulnerable to ailments, the bane of all natural gardeners.

Many plant ailments unfold by way of the soil, so learn extra about methods to stop tomato illness.

Sprawling tomatoes can rot simply in wet climate.

It’s greatest to maintain your tomato fruit as dry as attainable. The skins are very skinny and may change into broken once they’re in touch with the bottom, particularly in moist circumstances.

It’s more durable for rabbits or different animals to eat the tomatoes once they’re upright.

As nature lovers, all of us love the little creatures on the market. However we actually want they might eat their lunches someplace moreover our vegetable gardens. Staking the crops will raise the fruit out of the attain of many of those animals..

It’s simpler to reap tomatoes which might be upright.

Once you use tomato cages, you may harvest whereas standing. No extra crawling round on the bottom within the mud to select your tomatoes. Ulch!

So, by now you realize why you have to assist tomatoes, however you would possibly nonetheless be questioning find out how to use tomato cages.

tomatoes that need caging

What Kinds of Tomatoes Want To Be Caged?

Whether or not your tomato crops are one of many mammoth varieties (indeterminate) or a extra compact plant (determinate) you’’ want to make use of cages for many styles of tomatoes. The instances in my backyard after I determined to not cage a tomato plant resulted in numerous regrets.

Indeterminate tomato crops proceed to develop all through the whole season and set fruit on the brand new development proper up till the crops are killed by frost. My indeterminate tomatoes typically develop as much as 10 ft tall! You undoubtedly must cage these varieties, no query about it.

To assist management a few of this wild development, I spend a while early within the season pruning indeterminate tomatoes.

Determinate tomatoes embrace the bush varieties, that are extra compact than the taller (indeterminate) crops, however produce a variety of fruit on shorter stems that ripen in a brief window of time. Which means there’s a variety of alternative for the fruit changing into too heavy for the stems to bear. Then your crops are prone to sag or probably even break.

I’ve had years after I was too lazy to cage these tomatoes and I had a variety of breakage and rotting. That was a mistake!

If you end up deciding on your tomato crops within the spring, just be sure you’re cautious to pick out varieties which might be greatest in your backyard. On this article I share the greatest tomato varieties.

tomatoes being cage

How To Choose Tomato Cages

Contemplate fastidiously earlier than you buy your tomato cages. Don’t select undersized, flimsy cages that may’t assist your loved one crops. Before you purchase cages, bear in mind how huge your crops will develop by mid-season.

In case you have indeterminate varieties, you’ll must have cages which might be no less than six ft tall. Even if you happen to’re rising the bush-type tomatoes, choose cages which might be no less than 4 ft tall.

Do not forget that your crops will sprawl, too, and purchase cages which might be no less than 14 inches in diameter.

You additionally need cages which might be sturdy sufficient to resist the load of all of that luscious fruit. If it’s too costly to purchase high-quality cages, you can also make your individual utilizing concrete reinforcing wire. Study extra about DIY tomato cages.

When you’ve selected the scale that you simply want, you then should determine what particular kind of tomato cage works greatest for you. Under, you’ll discover a description of a number of the most typical sorts. I’ve additionally included a number of the professionals and cons of every and a few tips about find out how to use them.

round tomato cage

An instance of a spherical tomato cage.

Varieties Of Tomato Cages And How To Use Them

Tomato cages typically come in numerous shapes, together with:

Ring-style, or round cages.

Professionals: These round cages have the benefit of being broad, which permits the plant to unfold out a bit extra, offering extra air circulation, which may assist reduce down on illness.

Cons: Relying on which sort of cage you purchase, they might not present the assist that very massive crops want.

Can take up a variety of room in storage until they’re collapsible.

Really useful: The least costly possibility is to make your individual DIY tomato cage, identical to I do!

Texas Tomato Cages. Learn concerning the professionals and cons of this model on the backside of my DIY tomato cage article.

Sq. or rectangular type cages

Professionals: These cages typically fold up for simple storage, so that they’ll take up much less area in your shed over the winter.

Cons: Normally aren’t needed for extra compact crops and could also be cumbersome in small gardens. 

Really useful: Gardener’s Provide Tomato Cage. I’ve an identical tomato cage as this, however not from the identical firm. Sadly, they’re solely 53″ when put in. The panels come aside, so you may lay them flat in storage and you may organize them in inexperienced or purple, which is enjoyable! 

Triangular Cages

Professionals: My private favourite for smaller styles of tomatoes. The triangular form permits loads of room for the plant to unfold and produce fruit. Additionally it is straightforward to heart them instantly over the plant. I discover them very handy to make use of as a result of they’re not cumbersome, they usually’re straightforward to heart.

Most fashions additionally fold for simple and compact storage in winter.

Cons: Relying on which type you buy, they won’t be sturdy sufficient for very massive tomato crops.

Really useful: I used to be despatched the Vine Backbone Trellis System by Higher Bilt a few years again. I didn’t like them for my vining crops, however I do love them for making triangular tomato cages. Made within the Midwest.

Cattle Panel Trellis

Okay, this technically isn’t a cage, however extra of a trellis. However, I nonetheless needed to share as a result of I take advantage of them in my very own backyard.

Professionals: Nice for rising tremendous tall crops like cherry tomatoes. Straightforward and enjoyable to select as a result of you may stand below the trellis for harvesting. Straightforward and cheap to construct.

Cons: Not sensible if you happen to develop a lot of tomato crops.

Really useful: I LOVE utilizing cattle panel trellises in my backyard!

cattle panel trellis for tomatoes

A cattle panel trellis on the entrance of my backyard with Solar Gold tomatoes rising up the left aspect.

How To Use Tomato Cages and Take care of the Vegetation

Some novice gardeners don’t set up the cages appropriately, and so the cages collapse onto the bottom. It’s very, very irritating to come back exterior within the morning after a heavy rainstorm to seek out your cages have fallen over, taking the crops with them. Belief me, I do know.

To put in your cage correctly, heart it instantly over the plant. Then, press down firmly till the cage stands securely upright. (Trace-This is essential, significantly if you happen to dwell in a moist local weather. An excessive amount of rain softens the soil and may destabilize the cage if it’s not pressed firmly into the bottom.)

If you happen to dwell in a excessive wind space, you might need to present additional assist by pouding in a t-posts between each two cages and securing them to the publish. 

Then, pull the younger leaves gently by way of the cage in order that they relaxation on the cage wires. Some gardeners choose to tie the stems to the cage to begin to practice them to climb up, however watch out that you simply don’t tie them too tightly!

Unfold a thick layer of vegetable backyard mulch across the crops proper after planting and putting in the cages. Mulch retains soil moisture and helps reduce down on illness.

All through the season, pull useless leaves off of the tomato plant and choose them up off of the bottom to stop ailments from spreading. Study extra about methods to stop tomato plant illness.

Usually, tomatoes want about an inch of water per week, so water them if it doesn’t rain. You’ll be able to fertilize them when planting and as soon as throughout the season if needed with an natural backyard fertilizer.

tomato harvest

Blissful Harvesting!

If you happen to observe the following tips, it’s best to have an considerable provide of succulent tomatoes all season lengthy. They’re delectable in salads and stupendous on sandwiches. What’s higher than a pasta sauce or a bowl of gazpacho constituted of recent home-grown tomatoes?

With your whole success, you might find yourself with extra tomatoes than you need to use straight away, and subsequent winter, you’ll be craving the wealthy tomato style. In fact, you could possibly can your leftover tomatoes, however that’s a variety of work. There are simpler methods to do it.

Learn extra a few tremendous fast hack for preserving tomatoes.

Now, go set out these crops, cage them, and prepare for a lot of weeks of completely satisfied harvesting!