Homegrown tomatoes are where it’s at. They are better than any tomato bought at a store, and in the simplest of terms, nothing tastes quite so magical as the DIY tomato. That’s why, despite sometimes being a troublesome crop to grow, just about every gardener has to make a go at cultivating tomatoes. A garden, a sandwich, a salad, and so many other things just feel incomplete without tomatoes.
To grow tomatoes, standard and well-advised protocol is to provide them with something to grow up. This invites the plant to go vertical, saving space in the garden, and ultimately, it keeps the fruit off the ground, preventing problems with rot. Often this is done with tomato stakes, simple sticks that are put next to the plant, but tomato cages are much sturdier.
While cages can be bought at the store, they are totally doable DIY-style, and will likely cost less money. Plus, there are plenty of options to explore.
- Wire Cages
- Stick Cages
- String-and-Stake Cages
- Growing Tip for the Cages
- 1. The Trellis Raised Bed Combo
- 2. The T-Post Tomato Trellis
- 3. The Wooden Tomato Cage
- 4. The Lean-To Tomato Trellis
- 5. The Garden Obelisk
- 6. The Upside Down Tomato Cage
- 7. The Homemade Trellis
- 8. The Bailing Twine Tomato Bed
- 9. The Wire Method Trellis
- 10. The PVC Pipe Tomato Cage
- 11. The Bamboo Tomato Cage
- 12. The Folding Cage
- 13. The DIY Champion Trellis
- 14. The Folding Trellis
- 15. The Colorful Cages
- 16. The Sturdy Wooden Tomato Cage
- 17. The $10 Obelisk
- 18. The 3-Step Trellis
- 19. The Arch Walkway Trellis
- 20. Upcycling Trellis Ideas
- 21. The ‘Ultimate’ Tomato Trellis
- 22. The Grow Box
- 23. The Folding Cage #2
- 24. The Livestock Cage
- 25. The Concrete Mesh Tomato Cage
- 26. The Tomato Tower
- 27. The Stake A Tomato Cage
- 28. The One And Only
- 29. 11 Tomato Staking Technique
- 30. Recycled Pallets Turned Tomato Trellis
- 31. The Funky Garden Tomato Trellis
- 32. The Tomato Tower #2
- Was this article helpful?
- How can we improve it?
- We appreciate your helpul feedback!
- Weekend Project: DIY Tomato Cages
- Tools and Materials
- Making Tomato Cages – How To Build A Tomato Cage
- How to Make a Tomato Cage
- Steps for Building Tomato Cages
- The Incredible Low-Cost Tomato Support That Works Wonders In The Garden
- 10 Cheap and Easy DIY Tomato Cages
- Cattle Panels Tomato Cages:
- Cage/Stake Hybrid:
- Wood Frame Tomato Cages:
- DIY Obelisk:
- PVC Tomato Cage:
- Folding Tomato Ladder:
- Tomato Teepee:
- Simple Stake and Twine Tomato Cage:
- Bamboo Tomato Cage:
- One Cage for All Your Tomatoes:
- How to make large, strong, and durable DIY tomato cages
- Small, weak tomato cages can lead to increased plant diseases
- Easily make your own DIY tomato cages
- 6 Tips When Making Your Tomato Cages
- 1. Two people are better than one.
- 2. Wear thick gloves, protective eyewear, and other protective clothing as-needed.
- 3. Use heavy duty wire cutters.
- 4. Wrap cut end pieces back for vertical reinforcement.
- 5. Cut off the bottom vertical wire to make ground spikes (picture below), then reinforce.
- 6. Put your cages on sooner, not later.
- Do you have to store your tomato cages over the winter?
- More tomato growing resources:
- Related posts:
The classic DIY tomato cage is made from heavy gauge wire fencing. Ideally, this is the five-foot-high variety with six-inch squares. Cut a three-foot piece of the fencing and roll it into a circle, overlapping the ends and fastening them together with twine or old bread ties. The cage is put around the tomato plant, providing it with both protection and support, and the cage itself is helped by weaving a stake through one of the vertical columns (of open squares) and fixing it into the ground.
A 50-foot roll of wire, roughly 16 tomato cages, is about $45, or three dollars a cage, whereas tomato cages can run over ten dollars a piece at the store. Even cheap ones, not nearly as durable as the wire variety here, cost more than three bucks a piece. Obviously, if upcycled wire — even chicken wire — is available, that is an even better option.
While wire cages are inexpensive and long-lasting, stick cages can be even cheaper (even free) and can be composted at the end of the growing season. Plus, they provide a more natural look for the garden and require less in the way of tools. Starting with four sturdy sticks, roughly an inch in diameter, build a four-cornered pyramid. About a foot off of the ground, attach sticks (with natural twine) to form a ring around the bottom. Then, build a grid of about one-foot squares, by stretching sticks from one side to the other. Move up a foot higher and do it again, all the way to the top.
A ball of twine is a few dollars and can make quite a few tomato cages. Sticks are free for the industrious gardener, and they are often the byproduct of cleaning up the yard after winter or free from the neighbors’ clean-up. By the time fall rolls around again, and the last of the tomatoes have been harvested, these cages can be disassembled and put at the bottom of the compost pile to keep it aerated. Very sustainable.
Another ultra-cheap, short-term method is to use four five-foot stakes, either scrap lumber or sturdy sticks. Between the stakes, tie natural string, such as jute twine, to create a kind of net that the scaling tomato plants can use as support. This twine can be tied crudely around the planting space, or it can be fashioned into a rudimentary net through the center every foot or so up the stakes. This is the least sturdy of the choices, but it’s very cheap, functional, and can be repurposed after the tomatoes are finished producing.
Again, the material list for this is a ball of twine and some sticks or scrap lumber. That’s super cheap and compostable when all is said and done. Plus, the twine — something always handy to have around a garden — can be salvaged for the rest of the growing season. This, too, is a very sustainable way of addressing tomato cage needs.
Growing Tip for the Cages
A great tip for growing tomatoes well in cages is to put a five-gallon composting bucket in the center of the cage. Drill a few holes in the sides of the bottom third of the bucket, and bury that section underneath the soil. Slowly fill it with veggie scraps, topping off each deposit with some shredded leaves, shredded paper, shredded cardboard, or wood shavings (to help with fruit flies and smell). The compost will attract worms to the garden and feed the tomatoes as it breaks down.
Lead Image Source: Flickr
Do you have a smaller yard that has limited growing space for your tomatoes? What if you just don’t like the idea of having a huge garden because of maintenance?
I understand that feeling completely!
That is why we’ve put together a list of tomato cage and trellis ideas that can help you to grow vertically. Not only these trellis plans are eye-catching, but they’re also fully functional.
Now, doesn’t that sound like the perfect concoction?
1. The Trellis Raised Bed Combo
This trellis idea is the epitome of elegant simplicity.
Basically, you just build two small above-ground beds. Once those beds are set in place, you’ll need to add a wire trellis that connects the two. It will make an archway.
This is such a cool idea because if you grow green beans, squash, pumpkins, or any other vine related plants then you’ll have a fully covered archway.
It will give your garden that whimsical feeling.
Build this trellis ›
2. The T-Post Tomato Trellis
This tomato trellis idea is one that screams ‘HOMESTEAD.’ It is homemade, rustic, yet fully functional.
So what this woman did when creating her tomato trellis was drive t-posts into the ground. She used some rebar and then twine.
The basic concept is that the t-posts go into the ground, the rebar goes across the top, and then you run twine up and down the frame. You’ll then tie the twine to the base of the tomato plant. So when the tomato plant grows, it will grow right up your homemade trellis.
This allows your tomato plants to grow straight and strong. All the while, it saves you the headache of staking all of your tomato plants.
And if you are like me, you grow quite a few tomato plants.
Build this trellis ›
3. The Wooden Tomato Cage
I love this tomato cage!
The reason being is because it is simple, easy to DIY, and seems to be fairly inexpensive. That’s everything I love in a homestead project.
So here is how this tomato cage can come to life for you:
You’ll need 2x2x8 boards and 1x2x8 boards. You’ll then take these boards and cut them into different sizes. After you get the different dimensions cut, you’ll need to start screwing or nailing the wood together.
You are basically building a wooden box for your tomatoes to grow strong and tall.
The best thing about this is that it is sturdy. Don’t you hate it when your tomatoes get so big and beautiful towards the end of summer and then their support just gives way on them?
Well, that’s the great thing about this tomato cage. It will not give way to your full-figured tomato plants.
Build this trellis ›
4. The Lean-To Tomato Trellis
This is another tomato trellis that has ingenuity written all over it. The authors of the post-drive posts into the ground.
Sounds pretty easy so far, right?
And then they use livestock paneling. They actually place the posts on one side of the bed and then place the livestock paneling on the other side of the bed.
Once that is in place, they just allow the livestock paneling to lean over the bed and rest on the posts. This will allow any plants that you grow in the bed (that needs it) to grow up into the livestock paneling for support.
I also love this idea because it is sturdy but is easy to take down when it is not in use.
Yet, another fantastic way, to grow your plants that need room to run.
Build this trellis ›
5. The Garden Obelisk
For those of you all that are like me and have those country roots running deep (I had to refrain from using the term ya’ll back there) you might be wondering what an obelisk is?
It sounds kind of fancy, right?
Well, I’ll admit it, it sounds fancier than anything I use around my homestead. But I digress, it is basically a snazzy word for a trellis that resembles a lighthouse shape.
This particular obelisk is known for how easy it is to make because there are no angles that have to be cut anywhere. All you do is cut wood to different lengths (which she provides in the post) and then build a 4-sided ladder.
It isn’t the simplest trellis I’ve mentioned but if you have your heart set on an obelisk, this could be the plan you’ve been waiting on.
Build this trellis ›
6. The Upside Down Tomato Cage
Years ago the Topsy-Turvy Upside Down Tomato Planter hit the market, and the dream for growing your tomatoes upside down was born.
Most Americans had never thought, “Gee, I think I’ll grow my tomatoes upside down today.”
But they do now.
That is what this one is all about.
If you want to buy a planter to grow your tomatoes upside down then there are options available. But if you want to DIY it to grow your tomatoes upside down, this is a great option.
It is so cool how this person is able to transform 5-gallon buckets into upside-down planters. They basically start by drilling a small hole in the bottom for the tomato to run out of. Then they drill holes for the chord to fit through that is going to hold the bucket.
Now, this is the really cool part:
They place newspaper in the bucket and place soil in it.
Right before planting the tomato plant, they cut a small hole in the newspaper that will allow the plant to grow through it and reach the outside of the bucket.
So they use the newspaper to hold the tomato plant in place until it reaches a more mature stage of growth.
This is a really cool idea. If you want to try it yourself, follow my steps when I made my own hanging tomato planter.
Build this trellis ›
7. The Homemade Trellis
This trellis is a little hard to see through all of the pictures of this post. So allow me to fill you in.
Basically, they are building a fenced-in garden. I guess they have large critters where they are because it looks as though their garden is similar to Fort Knox.
As I was saying, in the midst of this build, they realize they had a bumper crop of pumpkins.
So what do you do when you have pumpkins that randomly come up on their own?
Why, you build a trellis of course!
So they built this little trellis out of wooden stakes and some metal fencing. The wooden stakes will lead this crop up to the roof where they have a ceiling made of old metal gates.
Are you seeing what is going to happen here?
After the pumpkins grow up the trellis and latch on to the gates, they are literally going to have a garden ceiling filled with dangling pumpkins.
That sounds pretty neat to me.
Build this trellis ›
8. The Bailing Twine Tomato Bed
If I grew a smaller amount of tomatoes, this would be the tomato cage of my dreams!
Unfortunately, I grow a ton of tomatoes, and I don’t think I could build enough of these to cover what we do. However, if you are not a tomato addict (like myself) and actually grow a regular crop of tomatoes, do me a favor?
Build this for me! Post your pictures so I can see how great it turned out and allow me to live vicariously through your tomato plants.
So now that I’ve carried on aren’t you the least bit curious how she created this wonderful trellis/tomato bed?
Well, allow me to fill you in. All she did was build an above ground garden bed. She even states that it doesn’t have to be an above-ground bed.
After building the bed, she puts two wooden posts in the ground and then one long beam that connects the two posts.
Then, she simply drapes bailing twine from the top beam down to her tomato plants. This allows for the plants to grow right up the twine.
It looks very organized, and I’m in love with it.
Build this trellis ›
9. The Wire Method Trellis
This is a very inexpensive and easy method to train your tomatoes to stand straight and tall. All you have to do is put two metal poles in the ground. That sounds easy enough, right?
After you put the metal poles in the ground, you run one metal pole across the top. Then add a horizontal line of string every 5 feet.
So when your tomatoes grow to meet the first wire then you clip the vines to the pole with a clothespin, plastic clip, or Velcro. You do this every 5 feet.
However, the only drawback to this type of trellis is that it is not sturdy enough to handle beefsteak tomatoes. The author does give ideas on how to make it sturdier, though. The picture shown above is the sturdier version.
Build this trellis ›
10. The PVC Pipe Tomato Cage
This tomato cage is a very sturdy one. It starts with a large PVC pipe that you actually attach the tomatoes to.
However, there are smaller PVC pipes that are formed into a box shape from the bottom of the tomato to the top. This gives the tomatoes an ample amount of room to grow and lots of support.
I truly like this idea because it is inexpensive and should last for years to come.
As you can see on the site, this woman grows monster tomatoes. So these are a great option for any type of tomato plant.
The design is simple as well and is something even the newest member of the DIY Club could figure out and build quickly.
I give this trellis two thumbs up.
Build this trellis ›
11. The Bamboo Tomato Cage
This is another tomato cage that I absolutely love! My reasoning is the fact that it is sturdy, functional, and potentially free.
Who doesn’t like free?
So if you grow bamboo or know someone that grows bamboo then you are in business. I encourage you (if you have space) to grow bamboo. It is great to build with and animals can eat the shoots off of it as well.
Anyway, this tomato cage is your basic box/cage shape. They begin building it by putting four bamboo posts in the ground. Then they put two bamboo supports in on each side. These are very sturdy because bamboo is a very sturdy material.
It will also be easy storage during the winter because you can simply tie the cage together and then untie it to store it for the winter.
Ultimately, this is a great tomato cage.
Build this trellis ›
12. The Folding Cage
If you need a tomato cage that will serve its purpose during the summer and be easy to store during the winter months then this is it.
This tomato cage is actually folding. Amongst the fact that it is easy storage, it also requires few materials and is something that someone who is somewhat familiar with building things could whip up in a jiff.
You need a few different sizes of wood to build this cage and some screws. The basic idea is that you are building two separate ladder pieces that can fold and unfold together.
And you will also have to build the connecting hinges on the side as all ladders have.
Because of its unique design and simple materials list, this is a great option for larger tomato plants as well. Wood doesn’t bend as we all know so go ahead and grow those prize-winning beef steaks inside this thing.
Build this trellis ›
13. The DIY Champion Trellis
This trellis is an easy DIY project. It is the basic box design of a trellis, and you only need a few different sizes of wood to build it.
So you begin by putting the four posts in the ground. You will then connect the four posts with rungs. The tomato plant will grow big and strong on the inside of it.
The only somewhat tricky part of building this is keeping everything square. With the proper tools, you should have no problem.
So now that you know how to build it, don’t forget you can paint it as well. Painting your trellis really gives it your personal touch and is what adds character to your property.
I love this type of trellis because they are so classic looking and not difficult for those of us that like to do things ourselves.
Build this trellis ›
14. The Folding Trellis
This one is not to be confused with the folding cage. This was is not a cage at all. Instead, it is a trellis. The main difference between the two is that the folding cage is closed in on the sides while this one is not.
So instead of building this one from thicker wood, it is actually built from slats. You will need some hinges and staple gun too.
You will begin by building the outside square of one side of the trellis. After you do that, you will need to run the wooden slats vertical and then horizontal to create a checkered pattern.
After this, you’ll need to repeat the same steps for the other side of the trellis. Then you connect the two sides with hinges, and you are ready to go.
I like this option because not only is it creative, but it also stores well when not in use.
Build this trellis ›
15. The Colorful Cages
On most of these posts, you see that wire cages have taken on a bad reputation. People don’t like that they are flimsy, or they say they don’t last.
What everyone overlooks is how inexpensive and versatile they can be. Take this spin on them for example.
Let’s say you need a tomato cage this year, but you don’t have the time or money to invest in some of these other projects.
That’s okay. Go ahead and buy the wire kind. Then you’ll get to add your own flair to it without much time or money invested.
So how you make your wire tomato cages your own is by spray painting them. If you want some additional color in your garden, paint them each a different color.
If you want to add a touch of classic style to your garden, pick out a great classic color and paint them all in uniform.
There really is no end to the possibilities here. Happy spray painting. Here is to a bright summer!
Build this trellis ›
16. The Sturdy Wooden Tomato Cage
This tomato cage was created by someone that got so frustrated with the flimsy quality of the wire cages.
Now, as I mentioned, if you want to make a small investment and buy the wire cage that is totally up to you.
But if you are wanting to grow large beefsteak tomatoes year after year, it might be a wise investment to make a cage similar to this one.
They began creating this wooden tomato cage like a lot of the others we have already looked at. They used four posts and then connected the sides with rungs of wood.
After doing this, they placed them in the ground and tied the tomato to parts of the cage to train it to grow.
However, these people took it one step further (which I love). They painted their tomato cage.
So not only is it sturdy, but they also used it to add a splash of character to their garden.
Build this trellis ›
17. The $10 Obelisk
Here is another obelisk. I want to start off by saying if you grow pole beans this might be a great option for them.
This obelisk is very tall and sturdy so it should give your tomatoes or beans an ample amount of room to grow.
So now that we know what this obelisk could be good for, how do you make it?
Well, it is very similar in detail to the other trellis. You need to buy your wood. She provides a materials list with the sizes you’ll need. Because of this very helpful list, it makes building this obelisk much easier for the newest of DIYers. She actually lists different options for your wood.
For instance, how you can buy the wood cheaper if you have a table saw and also what you can do if you don’t have one.
So after you sort through the wood options and get your wood to start the build, you’ll construct two sides of a ladder. Then add ladder rungs to the outside to give a square shape.
It will then grow upward and begin to look like a lighthouse in appearance. She also adds a splash of character to her garden with this creation by painting her obelisks different colors.
Build this trellis ›
18. The 3-Step Trellis
This is a truly easy yet beautiful creation for your garden. You can grow almost anything with this trellis.
The trellis can actually be built in three easy steps. How amazing is that?
So we’ll begin by measuring the area that you’d like the trellis to be. The author gives a detailed materials list so you’ll know what to buy for the next steps.
After you get the area measured, then you’ll take four pieces of wood that you will be using as the main structural support and make two teepees with them.
Once you get those in place, you’ll tie the tee-pees up at the top.
Then you’ll begin to tie the horizontal pieces to the trellis. It doesn’t get much easier than that.
There is no drilling or hammering. All you have to do is tie everything together as you want it.
Build this trellis ›
19. The Arch Walkway Trellis
This is a truly beautiful creation! It is simply stunning.
So now that I’ve drooled all over my computer screen because I’ve found yet another creation that I wish I could squeeze into my gardening area, let’s talk about how you can have it in your backyard.
You begin by building two container boxes. They should be close enough in vicinity that you can create an arch between the two.
After you have your boxes built, it is time to build the arch walkway. You can accomplish this as they did with metal poles or with PVC pipe. (I added the PVC pipe because we’ve made a green bean archway with it before.)
Then you’ll make wooden slats that go up the side, and then use longer pieces of wood to run over the top of the archway.
When this creation is done and the tomatoes are full, you’ll have a fully covered archway. That creates a great way for your vegetables to grow and a picturesque scene in your very own garden.
Build this trellis ›
20. Upcycling Trellis Ideas
This one gives you multiple options of how you can take old items you probably have lying around your house and utilize them to help your plants grow.
She begins by showing how you can use an old chair with the bottom knocked out of it as a trellis. It actually looks very beautiful.
Then she moves on to old bike tires that she hung on the fence. This would help with plants that run more so than bush plants probably.
Next, she took an old coat rack and put in the ground vertically so plants that run can run up it. It is actually a very cool idea.
She follows up with crib railings placed in the ground vertically. This allows for plants that like to run to have the space to do so.
The last three are my favorites. She uses an old door, a ladder, or an old mirror frame with a string running across it to train the plants to grow on it.
They all have a very classic feel that stands out beautifully. If you desire a garden with character, this is certainly one way to accomplish it.
Build this trellis ›
21. The ‘Ultimate’ Tomato Trellis
If you are looking for a whopper tomato trellis that will keep your plants from sagging, this is probably going to be what you were looking for.
This trellis is built like an A-frame swing set. That is literally what it reminded me of.
They built this tomato trellis by placing four pieces of wood in the ground on either side. They put two pieces together to make the ‘A’ shape.
Then they placed a beam across the top and a beam across the bottom.
Finally, they ran the wire from the top beam down to the bottom beam to train the tomatoes to grow up it.
I’m going to take this option one step further and offer a smidge of creativity. If you want to avoid building the A-frame and have an old swing set, use it.
You could actually take the swings off and use the frame. Then you’d just have to add the bottom beam and run the wire.
If not, this option appears to be fairly simple to build and would work very well at keeping your tomatoes standing tall.
Build this trellis ›
22. The Grow Box
This tomato trellis is meant for a container bed. It appears to be pretty simple to create as well.
So you begin by putting four wooden posts in the bed. That is one in each corner.
After you have them in place, you’ll need to make or buy a wooden slat trellis. You’ll attach the layer of trellis to each of the poles.
Then you’ll add the next layer of wooden trellis and attach to the four posts. You can add as many layers as you feel your plants will need.
That is really all there is to this one.
I think it would work well for those planting in a smaller area and would certainly do the trick at holding your tomato plants up.
Build this trellis ›
23. The Folding Cage #2
This site gives you multiple options for great tomato cages. A lot of them have been previously mentioned in this post already.
However, they do offer another great option for a folding tomato cage. It is constructed very similarly to the first folding cage I mentioned.
You begin by building two sides of a ladder and add three rungs to each ladder. Then you’ll need to add braces on the side to make your cage sturdier. Then they actually recommend adding scrap wood at the top to stabilize it.
I like these instructions because not only does it give you a materials list but it also provides the estimated cost and a site for full-length detailed instructions.
Building this cage is rather short, sweet, and to the point. However, that is a good thing because that usually equals simplicity.
Build this trellis ›
24. The Livestock Cage
This is a very unique idea. If you have extra livestock paneling around your homestead then you already have what you need in order to build these cages.
They begin by laying out the livestock paneling on a flat surface. He actually recommends a driveway for this step, but wherever works for you is fine.
Then he cuts the livestock paneling down to size. After doing this, he places a piece of wood inside the livestock paneling where he needs to bend it in order to shape it.
Then he bends and shapes the paneling until it forms a square.
After this, he places it in the ground. That seems rather simple, right?
The great thing about this tomato cage is that if it can be used to work with large livestock then it can certainly handle holding up your big, beefy tomatoes.
Build this trellis ›
25. The Concrete Mesh Tomato Cage
This tomato cage appears really simple to make. They begin by giving you a list of all of the materials you will need, which isn’t many.
The main thing I noticed is that you’ll need work gloves and sharp cutters because of the materials you are working with.
After you get all of your materials laid out, you’ll roll out the concrete mesh. You have to set a milk crate with a cinderblock in it in order to hold it down.
Then you’ll cut the concrete mesh to the size you want.
After that is done, you’ll roll it up and place it in the ground around your tomatoes.
That is pretty much all there is to it.
Build this trellis ›
26. The Tomato Tower
In case you were wondering, this is another obelisk. I love how at the beginning of this article that seemed like such an unfamiliar term but now it is old hat.
But I digress, you build this obelisk, like all of the rest. This one just looks really cool because you will literally have a tomato tower.
No more bending over to pick those tomatoes. Now you’ll think you are picking fruit from a tree with this creation.
So you begin with your four posts. You add the rungs all the way around until you have a box.
It will then grow upward in shape and begin to resemble a lighthouse. It will then be that little beacon of light out in the middle of your garden.
Build this trellis ›
27. The Stake A Tomato Cage
You want to talk about a simple tomato trellis/ cage creation, this is it. No bones about it.
This idea was born in a pinch. The author needed a way to tie up her tomato plants.
So she began looking around for what she had and boom, the stake A tomato cage was born. Isn’t that how most ingenious homesteading ideas happen?
So you take welded wire fencing and cut it down to the size pieces you need. The drive an old stake in the ground.
Attach the fencing to the stake in the ground on either side, and you have yourself a tomato cage.
It is easy to construct and also does an amazing job. You can see what kind of job it did by her pictures.
I love this idea for a tomato cage because of the ease in construction and durability. If it uses wire fencing, your tomatoes aren’t going anywhere.
Build this trellis ›
28. The One And Only
The author of this particular post claims this is the only tomato cage you’ll ever need. Now, it isn’t pretty but after reading the materials list, it certainly appears sturdy.
You are going to use concrete wire mesh to construct this tomato cage. As she plants her tomato seedlings, she inserts t-posts at the end of each bed.
After inserting the t-posts, she slips wire cages made of concrete mesh over her baby seedlings. Then she runs a PVC pipe through the homemade wire cages.
This offers a ton of support and keeps her cages from ever falling over.
If you look at her pictures, her tomato plants come out looking more like trees so she needs a lot of support.
Since it appears this cage is holding her tomato ‘trees’ up, I don’t think any homesteader would have a problem out of their tomatoes not standing tall with this option.
Build this trellis ›
29. 11 Tomato Staking Technique
This post gives you tomato trellis and cage ideas but it also gives you the how-to and the pros and cons of each.
It begins by covering cages like the wire mesh and concrete wire mesh cages. Then it moves on to cover other methods, like the post and twine method.
The really awesome thing about this article is that it also includes the cost to build each. So if you are someone looking for the most cost-effective method to build a trellis or tomato cage then this article should be able to help you.
It even offers options that you buy versus creating yourself. One of those options is Texas Giant tomato cages.
He gives you the cost of each of them and what they are capable of withstanding. The only downfall stated is that they are not widely available.
So for those of you that are kind of browsing around trying to figure out what to do about staking your tomatoes this year, this article might be very helpful.
Build this trellis ›
30. Recycled Pallets Turned Tomato Trellis
This is another simple and potentially free idea for building a tomato trellis. I love free so let’s get started on how to construct this masterpiece.
You’ll begin by collecting old pallets. After you get them you’ll need to take them apart.
Next, you’ll need to form A-frames on either side of the garden bed. After your A-frames are constructed, then you’ll take some of the slats and run them horizontally between the frames.
You will need to tie up the tomatoes in order to train them to grow up the trellis.
And one thing that should be mentioned is how great this trellis is for lack of maintenance. It may look rustic but it is fully functional and should last quite a while.
Build this trellis ›
31. The Funky Garden Tomato Trellis
I love this garden idea. I am all about things that add character to any homestead, large or small. These will certainly do it.
So you begin by finding old pallets that have been tossed aside. Don’t worry, you are about to bring these precious little guys back to life.
You will deconstruct the pallets by just keeping the part with slats available. The rest of the pallet can be put on hold for a while.
Then take two flat pallet sides and tie them together where they form an a-frame over the tomatoes.
You will need to tie the tomatoes to the pallets in order to train them where to grow. However, the funky part is what she did to add the character.
She actually paints hers all sorts of bright colors. It looks really amazing. I know homesteaders don’t always have the time to do all of the crafty stuff we’d like, but if you can swing it…go for it!
Build this trellis ›
32. The Tomato Tower #2
This is a very practical tomato cage for someone growing their tomatoes in a pot. To start, you’ll need a fabric bag, some metal posts, and wire fencing.
What you are going to do is to place the tomato in the grow bag. Once the grow bag is in place, you are going to wrap the wire fencing around the bag. It is important to note here that your fencing should be about six feet tall.
Then you’ll need to place two metal posts on opposing sides of the wire fencing. This will help support everything.
I don’t see this as a good solution for those with a large garden or even those who plant their tomatoes in the ground.
However, if you are someone who just likes to plant a few tomatoes in a pot out back, or if you are someone who is an urban or apartment homesteader this is a great option for you.
You can buy your fabric grow bags here, and then you are ready to get started.
Build this trellis ›
Was this article helpful?
How can we improve it?
We appreciate your helpul feedback!
Your answer will be used to improve our content. The more feedback you give us, the better our pages can be.
Weekend Project: DIY Tomato Cages
While “determinate” varieties such as Romas reach only 4 feet tall or so, “indeterminate” varieties – think ‘Better Boy’ and heirloom ‘German Johnson’ – tend to push well past 5 feet. And flimsy store-bought tomato cages, often a mere 3 feet tall, aren’t up to the job of supporting the plants. Good thing, then, that making your own cages requires very little time and even less skill.
Concrete-reinforcing steel mesh provides the perfect raw material, with 6-inch-square openings that allow easy access to the fruit. Building-supply stores sell the stuff in rolls that are roughly 5 feet high and 150 feet long. Yes, that’s a whole lot of reinforcing mesh, but a roll only costs around $100 and yields 25 to 27 cages. So why not get a group together and make a community project of it? The cages, which acquire an attractive patina of rust and can be stacked and stored outside all winter, will last for decades.
Tools and Materials
Leather work gloves
One 150′ roll of 5′ concrete reinforcing steel mesh
2 milk crates
2′ wood or rebar stakes (optional)
1. Working in a large, flat area and wearing leather work gloves, lay the roll of mesh down, unroll it slightly, and secure the end with a cinderblock in a crate – the mesh is springy. Unroll the mesh to a length of about 8′ and hold in place with a second crate and cinderblock. Count a length of eleven 6″ squares from the end, then use bolt cutters to clip through the very end of the eleventh square, as shown.
2. Remove the first crate and very carefully pull the end toward the (very sharp) cut edge to create an 18″-diameter tube, then fasten in place by folding and crimping the cut edge’s protruding prongs, as shown, left. Lightly press down on the cage to ease it into a neat circular shape. Repeat the above steps until you’ve used the entire roll of mesh to fashion 25 to 27 cages.
3. Once you’ve settled on your planting area, stand three or four cages in a snug group and tie their tops together with 3″ lengths of jute twine, as shown. (This will create a larger, more stable footprint, ensuring the cages don’t blow over.) If you’re using fewer than three cages, drive a 2′ wood or rebar stake halfway into the ground at the outside base of each cage and secure the top of the stake to the cage with twine.
Making Tomato Cages – How To Build A Tomato Cage
While tomatoes are easy to grow, these plants often require support. Tomato plants can be successfully supported as they grow by building tomato cages. In addition to providing support, tomato cages help keep plants from breaking off or being knocked over. Learning how to build a tomato cage is easy. By building your own cages, you can make some of the best tomato cages you ever had. Let’s look at how to make a tomato cage.
How to Make a Tomato Cage
Making tomato cages is not too difficult. If you’re growing a small, bush-like tomato plant, a small cage (purchased from most garden centers) or even a tomato stake should be adequate. However, larger tomato plants require something a bit sturdier, such as homemade wire cages. In fact, some of the best tomato cages are homemade rather than purchased.
Depending on the materials or method used, building tomato cages is relatively inexpensive.
On average, heavy gauge, wire-mesh fencing is used for making tomato cages. Most people choose to use fencing that is approximately 60″ x 60″ tall (purchased in rolls) with 6-inch square openings. Of course, you can also choose to recycle poultry fencing (chicken wire) into makeshift tomato cages too. Using what you have on hand can be a very cost effective method for tomato cage construction.
Steps for Building Tomato Cages
- Measure off and cut the desired length of fencing.
- Lay this out on the ground to cut and roll it up into a column when finished.
- Then weave a wooden stake or short piece of pipe through the wires. This will anchor the cage to the ground.
- Hammer it into the ground next to the tomato plant.
While tomatoes that are grown inside cages rarely need to be tied, you can give the vines a helping hand by loosely tying the stalks to the cage with pieces of soft twine, cloth, or pantyhose. As the plants grow, simply tie them to the cage.
Caged tomato fruits are generally cleaner and of better quality than those that are grown without adequate support. Making tomato cages takes little effort and can be used again the each year. This also makes any purchased materials money well spent.
Now that you know how to build a tomato cage, you can make them for your own garden.
When it comes to finding a low cost tomato support that actually works, the task can seem nearly impossible!
That is exactly the way we felt some nine years ago, when we planted our first big garden at the farm.
Faced with finding a way to support 50 tomato plants and 30 large pepper plants, we quickly found out just how expensive tomato stakes and cages were!
Our homemade Stake-a-Cage tomato supports in action.
And making matters worse, in addition to their high cost, the stakes and cages available were pretty flimsy.
The Problem With Traditional Tomato Stakes & Cages
Although traditional tomato stakes and cages do work, they both have obvious disadvantages.
With a single stake, it can be hard to tie the tomatoes up as they grow. And, it’s easy for branches to break off with the limited support.
And even though cages provide a better solution for tying up branches, they can be extremely difficult to harvest through. See : How To Tie Up Tomatoes With Ease
We have all been there, trying to squeeze our fingers through a cage to pick that perfect tomato!
Although cages can support a tomato crop, they can be difficult to harvest through.
Cages also seem to easily grow right out of the ground as plants mature. Especially the smaller (yet still expensive) flimsy cages.
And the large ones? Well, at $25 to $50 each, you might as well buy your tomatoes and save the cash!
So what is the answer? Well, for us – it came down to creating a low cost homemade solution that combines both the stake and cage method.
By using a simple wooden stake, and attaching a piece of wire fencing to the front of it, it creates an open faced tomato support that is both strong and easy to use!
The front fencing grid makes it super easy to tie off plants. And the open-faced nature makes harvesting a breeze.
We loved it so much we even gave it a name : The Stake-a-Cage.
And it has worked wonders in our garden for supporting both our tomato and pepper crop.
The Stake-a-Cages work wonders in holding up the crop with ease.
And when we say low cost tomato support, we mean low-cost. In fact, you can create them for as little as $3 to $4 a piece!
Below is a step by step tutorial to help make your own. We included a short video tutorial at the end as well.
The Incredible Low-Cost Tomato Support That Works Wonders In The Garden
Tools / Materials
- Wooden Stakes
- Welded Wire Rolled Fencing
- Wire Cutters
- U-Nails (Fence Staples), Hammer – or Staple Gun
- Jig-Saw or Miter Saw
There are a couple of options to make or buy strong wooden stakes. If you are starting from scratch, the easiest option is to buy inexpensive 2x2x8 framing lumber at your local home improvement / lumber store.
Combining a stake with an open faced “cage” to create the Stake-a-Cage.
They can be cut down to size for the support you will be making.
We use 5′ stakes for making stake-a-cages for our large heirloom tomatoes. And 3 to 4 foot stakes for smaller tomatoes and peppers.
We even make small 18 to 24″ stakes for small variety peppers like our jalapeno and banana peppers.
You can also make your own stakes from scrap 2×4’s and 2×6’. Simply run them through a table saw lengthwise to make 2 x 2’s, and then cut them to length.
To make a sharp point on the stakes, you can use a jig saw to cut angled points on the end of one side. If you angle all four sides – it makes for a sharper point to drive into the ground.
We used 36″ high welded wire galvanized fencing rolls with either a 2″ x 3″ or 2″ x 4″ mesh grid. They can be found in 25′, 50′ and even longer rolls.
We used a 36″ high x 50′ roll that cost about $30. When cut in half, it made well over 30 large tomato supports.
Combined with a few dollars for the stake, that is about $3 for one amazing tomato low cost tomato support.
Putting Your Low Cost Tomato Supports Together – How To Make A Stake-a-Cage
Roll out the galvanized welded wire roll.
Using wire cutters, snip off 18″ wide x 18″ high sections for large tomatoes, and 12″ wide x 18″ high sections for smaller tomatoes and peppers.
Center the wire grid on the stake with the bottom of the wire about 12 to 14″ from the bottom of the stake. This allows the stake to be driven in so that the wire grid is near the soil line.
Next, nail or staple in 3 fencing nails (U-nails) to secure the wire grid to the stake. One at the top, one in the middle, and one at the bottom.
And just like that – you have created your very own low cost tomato support!
Here is a quick video tutorial that goes over the entire process:
Here is to growing a great garden this year! Jim and Mary.
As always, feel free to email us at [email protected] with comments or questions. To receive our 3 Home, Garden, Recipe and Simple Life articles each week, sign up below for our free email list. This article may contain affiliate links.
How To Make An Incredible DIY Low Cost Tomato Support – With Video! Tagged on: diy tomato supports low cost tomato supports making tomato stakes Stake-A-Cage supporting tomatoes tomato cages tomato stakes tomato supports
10 Cheap and Easy DIY Tomato Cages
A very important part of growing tomatoes is their need for vertical support. This particular need is taken care of by using cheap and easy DIY tomato cages to give the plant the vertical support it needs to grow properly.
As almost all tomato farmers can attest to, you need good tomato cages for support and sometimes the store-bought tomato cage just isn’t able to provide that kind of support over a long time period.
Most of them end up breaking after a year or two, usually when you are removing or adding them to your garden. The wires are pulled loose after a little while and due to its flimsy construction it can end up broken from when you are taking care of your tomatoes.
It’s known that they are advertised as being reusable every time you plant tomatoes but the truth is that they can become damaged just from removing or inserting them into the ground.
There also comes the problem of storage space. Due to the tomato cages large size and its inability to be flexible, storing the cages can be a real problem.
What most people don’t know is that building tomato cages by yourself is a relatively simple and inexpensive task. And by using a couple of different techniques it can also be made to look attractive for your garden.
Here are 10 DIY ways to build tomato cages for your garden:
Cattle Panels Tomato Cages:
Despite being made to keep the cattle in a designated area, they are surprisingly good at providing plants with vertical support.
Making this 16 x 4 feet metal fence is usable as a plant support system. It requires a little manual labor, and since this is a DIY project, I think manual labor is kind of mandatory. Oh, and don’t forget to bring your bolt cutters.
First you need to make the width of the fence to just six squares wide. Cut the rest of the remaining squares along the length of the panel. Next you need to shorten the length of the panel to about 9 squares.
For the last line of horizontal squares, you need to remove the horizontal wires so that your panel can go deep into the soil to support itself and stay upright.
Repeat this same process for the remaining piece of the original panel. Using a straight piece of lumber that is at least as long as the panel, place it in the middle such that 3 squares are showing on the side of the lumber.
Then pull on the end until the panel is at a 90 degree angle, it should look like a rectangle without two sides at this point. Do the same thing to the other remaining panel.
Now before you go inserting the panel into the soil, you should take minute and straighten out the ends of the panels so that they all are even to each other, this provides a more stable support. Now insert both the panels around the plant in such a way that the plant is centered within the cage.
You now have you very own tomato cage made by livestock panel and your own two hands. A very surprising thing you will notice at the end is how cheap this was and the best part is that it can be easily restored and reused next year since the panel does not rust.
If you are looking for a durable, easy to assemble cage, check out Growsun 5 Ft Tomato Cage Plant Support Garden Stakes. Strong and will manage to stay up against very strong winds!
On Sale 60 Reviews Growsun 5 Ft 5-Pack Tomato Cage Plant Support…
This cage/stake hybrid is basically a steel wire panel that is held up by a stake, kind of obvious given the name. How you make a cage/stake hybrid or a Stake-A-Cage is that you plant a large wooden stake deep into the ground so that you have your basic yet strong support for the plant.
Attach the wire panel to the stake using fencing nails. You can easily wound the tomato plant across the panel, and have a lot of free room to grow. It combines the strong and durable support of the stake with the ease and benefits of a wire panel trellis.
You can easily pick your harvest at the end of the season since the harvest is right in front of you, which is a surprising problem with using cages.
You will need wire cutters, fencing nails, saw, hammer, 2x2x8 feet lumber stakes, and 30” high welded wire fence. Use the saw to make a pointed end on the lumber and then bury it 16” in the dirt. Next you use the wire cutters to cut the fence into 18×16 inches grid.
What to do:
Just hammer the fence into the wood using 3 fencing nails at the center, also known as U-nails. Note: Only use U-nails since they are perfect for this job and other nails usually end up being pulled out by the weight and lack of support.
You now have your very own Stake-A-Cage and the best part is that all this costs is a little effort and approximately 2 dollars. Plus, these handy cages can last up to 5 years.
If you need continuous support that is made of durable and excellent materials, check out F.O.T Sturdy Garden Plant Support Stakes 3-Sets Tomato Plant Cage. Highly recommended!
Plant Cages Tomato Garden Cages Stakes Vegetable… Durable Material: The stakes feature Strong steel core stakes And Tough and a thick, heavy-duty plastic coating in lovely green, which allows them to blend in beautifully with surrounding plants and decor.
Want to knowtips and ideas on different tomato varieties you can grow? Check out our helpful blog 14 Best Tomato Varieties to Grow.
Wood Frame Tomato Cages:
As the name suggests, it is a tomato cage made entirely of wood. It is a very simple and easy to make project that only requires a little bit of effort. Since you only need some wood and nails the cost of making this cage is very low.
What you need is two 2x2x8’ boards both cut in half, three 1x2x8’ boards cut in to different sizes. Cut the three 1x2x8’ boards in to six 1x2x18” and six 1x2x19.5”. The two 2x2x8’ boards that you cut in half at the beginning will be the four corners of your cage and the rest will be the support for the plants.
Take the two of the corner boards and lay them out flat, starting from the absolute top hammer 3 of the remaining smaller boards, leaving at least 15” between each board. At this point you should have something resembling a ladder.
Repeat this process with the other set of poles as well, now you have two ladders. Now you nail the remaining wood pieces to both of the sets of ‘ladders’ leaving 15” gaps between them, same as when you were making the first set.
When you are done joining the boards of wood, you should notice that the last piece of side wood and the end of the poles have a larger gap between them then the gap between the other side pieces, this is fine, it is supposed to be this way.
Now you plant the poles of the cage a few inches in to the dirt. Since wood cages are more durable and have a heavier weight, you don’t need to plant them too deep.
If you will go for minimal time needed to set up tomato trellis on new plants or already established plants without undue strain then EasyGO EGP-GARD-020 Stakes-Vegetable Trellis-3 Pack Tomato Plant Cages is for you.
EasyGO Products EGP-GARD-020 Cages –… EASY ASSEMBLY – No tools and minimal time needed to set up tomato trellis on new plants or already established plants without undue strain and simple disassembly for use during many growing seasons!
First, lay the columns on a flat surface at an angle. Cut the length of the rungs according to the space in between the two columns at different points. The space of the first rung will be the largest, and at least 6 inches from the bottom. The second rung will be a little shorter since it will go in the middle, and the shortest rung will be at the top.
Remember to keep the angle same for the other columns as well and make 4 rungs for each step. Traditionally, the obelisk has 5 rungs but a little more or less according to your needs won’t hurt.
A charming accent in the yard or on a terrace, deck or patio is Luster Leaf’s ready made Tomato Tower Obelisk. It will provide excellent support to your growing tomatoes. Check it out!
Luster Leaf Tomato Tower Obelisk A charming accent in the yard or on a terrace, deck or patio.
PVC Tomato Cage:
Whoever invented this particular method is a genius. This particular cage makes use of the PVC’s extremely light weight and almost unbreakable body to give you the perfect tomato cage.
With the PVC you can easily assemble and disassemble the cage as per your needs and since it won’t wither with time or break, you can use it for an indefinite amount of time. First you’re going to need 4 ½ inch T’s, 20 ½ inch elbows, 20 of the 10 inch straight PVC pipes, and finally 20 ½ inch crosses.
First you want to attach two 10” pipes to a cross, on opposite sides to each other with one side facing up and one side in the dirt. Do this for 4 crosses and at the end of 4 of the 10” pipes, attach an elbow and then attach the remaining pipes on the other side of the elbow so that you have a square.
The hole that faces up on each of the crosses should have a pipe in it. Now repeat the same process, only this time attach the crosses on the pipes that are facing up. Keep going until you reach your desired height for the cage.
If you are looking for a long folding plant support for long term use, check out MTB Green Square Folding Tomato Cage Plant Support Tower. Very convenient at an affordable price!
MTB Green Square Folding Tomato Cage Plant Support… Pack of 2 sets (4 panels square frame) folding garden raised bed plant support / plant protection. Powder coating for long term use.
Folding Tomato Ladder:
The concept of the folding tomato ladder is quite simple and as the name suggests, it is capable of being folded.
First you attach two 1”x3” 8 feet long wooden strips at the top and do the same with two more of the same wooden strips. Now take a 2×4 inch piece of scarp board and attach the pair of wooden strips at the top using 3” deck screws.
Now attach some rungs on the bottom of the ladder since they really aren’t needed at the top and voila, you have your very own, easy to make, folding tomato ladder.
If you’re looking for taller tomato cages with stronger and old-fashioned cone-shaped supports, then Gardener’s Supply Company Square Heavy Gauge Extra Tall Tomato Cage is for you. Check it out!
Gardener’s Supply Company Square Heavy Gauge Extra… DURABLE- Super-sturdy cages keep your tallest tomato plants upright for a bigger, cleaner harvest
I think the design can be interpreted just by reading the name but I’ll just reiterate, yes, it is a teepee. Get 5 bamboo stakes and properly wedge it in to the ground at a slight angle. Make sure that bamboo sticks form a circular shape and wrap them at the top where they all intersect.
Things to Remember:
Make sure to use a strong rope or twine and wrap it until it feels like nothing can break it. Plant a tomato plant at the bottom of each individual bamboo stick and as the plant grows make sure to wind the main stem around the stick.
If you are looking for an economical shaped wire cages that are a great way to support small tomato plants, try these Panacea Products 89776 Heavy Duty Tomato and Plant Support Cage. Perfect for your tomato garden!
Panacea Products 89776 Heavy Duty Tomato and Plant… Set of 10 galvanized wire 33″ cages for small tomato’s & plants
Simple Stake and Twine Tomato Cage:
They say that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but in this case you can ignore it. What you read in the name is pretty much what it is. It is basically 4 support sticks placed in a square shape around the tomato plant and have walls of twine.
This is literally the most easy-to-make and cheap cage that you can find out there and it won’t take more than 10 minutes to make.
Another durable steel ring support with rust-resistant plastic coating is Plant Support Ring Garden Trellis by Anleo. Suitable for growing tomato plants at an affordable price!
Plant Support Ring Garden Trellis Flower Iron… Durable steel ring support with rust-resistant plastic coating
Wondering how to fix blossom end rot for your tomato garden? Check out our helpful blog on Blossom End Rot – What Is It and How to Fix It.
Bamboo Tomato Cage:
It is like Tomato teepee with slight differences. The most major being that one cage will only cover one tomato plant. First, you plant the four 6 foot bamboos in the ground at an angle similar to the tomato teepee cage. Then you need to tie the bamboos with twine at where they intersect.
Get two more bamboo sticks and mark the tree places in the teepee. This is where you will need to put “rungs of the ladder”. Measure the spaces in between the sticks at your desired points.
Using a handsaw, cut the bamboo sticks in the length of the spaces. Make sure that you cut for all four sides. Attach the “rungs” using twine starting with the largest stick at the bottom and the smallest at the top. These steps will ensure that your tomato plant does not start sagging under its own weight.
Lobesea’s Plant Support Ring Garden Trellis are designed to support and protect growing tomato plants by securing and straightening then from being damaged or breakage. Check it out!
Lobesea Plant Support Ring Garden Trellis Flower… RUGGED AND DURABLE:The Plant Support Ring Made of Durable Steel,UV Treated and Rust-resistant Plastic Green Coating,Reusable, Weatherproof & Non-rusting. Keep Your Garden Plants Upright and Can be Used for Many Growing Seasons.
One Cage for All Your Tomatoes:
As the name says, this is a wire cage that will surround all your tomatoes like a giant cage. You will need two galvanized welded wire panels, wire cutters, 4 pieces of rebar and some twine.
First you should cut of the bottom wire row so that the panels can go deeper and have more support. Plant the panels at an angle on each side of your tomatoes. Then drive the rebar into the soil outside of the panels. Finally, run the twine through the entire panels in a zig zag formation. They will be able to provide support to the growing plants.
If you want to protect your tomato garden from unwanted animals, check out Erva Bunny Barricades. Excellent anchors to keep the cages secured to the soil and guaranteed protection too!
Erva Bunny Barricades, Pack of 10 Protect your garden plants from rabbits
Do you want to be as creative as possible when it comes to your garden? Check out our blog on Crafty Container Vegetable Gardening Design, Ideas and Tips.
Last update on 2020-01-17 / Affiliate links / Product Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
How to make large, strong, and durable DIY tomato cages
As an Amazon Associate, GrowJourney earns from qualifying purchases. Read more: terms of service.
Tired of small, flimsy tomato cages that get swallowed and crushed by your indeterminate tomato plants? Here’s how to make your own DIY tomato cages that are large, strong, and built to last.
There are innumerable varieties of perennial, biennial, and annual food crops that can be grown in an organic garden, but one variety that is nearly ubiquitous is the tomato.
Tomato plants come in a huge range of shapes and sizes. On one end of the spectrum: small dwarf determinate tomato varieties that are only a couple of feet high and set all of their fruit at once. On the opposite end: large indeterminate tomato varieties that continue producing fruit throughout the summer and in to fall in our growing region.
Mmm, a beautiful ‘Tlacolula Ribbed’ heirloom tomato. This is a large indeterminate variety that can grow to be over 8′ tall.
We like and grow tomato varieties of all sizes, from tiny to huge. However, if you’ve ever tried to grow a large indeterminate tomato plant inside the small, flimsy cages that you find at most garden centers, you know how difficult it can be.
Many indeterminate tomato varieties can easily grow to be over 6′ tall x 3′ across. So the standard 4′ tall x 1′ wide tomato cages at the nearby garden center just doesn’t cut it. It’s like trying to put children’s clothes on an NFL lineman!
Small, weak tomato cages can lead to increased plant diseases
Tomato cages that are too small to adequately support your plants aren’t just an aesthetic problem. They can cause tomato plants to flop over on the ground, or lead to leaves and branches that are stuffed too tightly inside the cage.
Both of these problems can increase the likelihood of plant damage or even foliar diseases that decrease fruit yields and shorten your tomato plants’ lifespans.
Also, many of the store bought tomato cages are so poorly made that they’re bent or broken after a single growing season. Surely, there’s got to be a better tomato cage solution out there, right?
Wouldn’t it be nice to have high-quality tomato cages that:
- look good,
- are as tall as your tomato plants,
- can support the weight of your tomato plants without breaking or getting crushed,
- could last for years.
Below, we’ll show you exactly how to make your own DIY tomato cages that will do all of the above!
Easily make your own DIY tomato cages
Finished DIY tomato cages made from concrete reinforcing wire. The cage on the left will be used for smaller plants like peppers, eggplants or determinate tomatoes. The cage on the right will be used for larger plants like indeterminate tomatoes, cucumbers, and pole beans.
Getting the right tomato cage material
The best material we’ve found to make durable, reusable, and attractive DIY tomato cages is concrete reinforcing wire. You might want to call around first, but you can almost always find concrete reinforcing wire at Lowes, Home Depot, and Tractor Supply.
Concrete reinforcing wire might come in silver-colored rolls, but we think it looks better in an edible landscape once it’s rusted and brown in color. This is especially true if you use mulch/wood chips to top-dress your garden beds since the rust-colored wire blends in with the mulch.
Note: This isn’t a problem once the tomato plants have matured and filled out the cage, because you can’t even see the cage at that point. However, it is a problem when your tomato plants are still young and much smaller than the cage they’re growing into.
Can you see the plant cages? They blend in very well with the surrounding mulch.
What size is best?
Our preference is the 72″ high rolls of concrete reinforcing wire. This will make finished DIY tomato cages that are just under 6′ tall. (The bottom few inches are below the soil surface as stabilizing spikes to hold the cages in place.)
DIY tomato cages: final cut sizes
Another nice thing about using concrete reinforcing wire, is that you can cut it to create finished cages of any height, circumference, or diameter you want. For instance, we use it to make:
- thin 6″ diameter trellises for spring peas,
- stocky 3′ tall pepper and eggplant cages,
- large 6′ tomato cages, and
- everything in between.
If you’re growing large indeterminate tomatoes, we recommend cages with the following MINIMUM dimensions (you can go larger):
- 5′ height
- 4′ circumference
- 16″ diameter
(Definitions: In case you don’t remember that day in math class, circumference = distance around a circle, and diameter is the distance across the circle through the center point.)
How long will these DIY tomato cages last?
It depends on your climate and how much abuse you heap on them. The tomato/plant cages shown in the photos above are now 10 years old (as of 2019)!
They get abused regularly, and live in a very humid/wet climate (southeastern US), but they’re as good as they day we made them. Eliza (who also works with GrowJourney) has some that she inherited from her grandfather, and they’re finally becoming unusable… 40 years after he made them!
6 Tips When Making Your Tomato Cages
1. Two people are better than one.
This DIY project will go a lot faster and be a lot easier with two people. Include a friend or a spouse.
Making tomato cages together also constitutes an exciting first date, especially if you talk about soil microbiology. Ha!
2. Wear thick gloves, protective eyewear, and other protective clothing as-needed.
You don’t want to cut or poke yourself. Ouch.
3. Use heavy duty wire cutters.
Concrete reinforcing wire is thick and strong – after all, that’s why it makes great tomato cages! You’ll need to use heavy duty wire cutters (like the ones pictured below) that will cut through the thick wire like butter.
Heavy duty wire cutters – a must when cutting concrete reinforcing wire.
4. Wrap cut end pieces back for vertical reinforcement.
Cut your vertical wire to allow for a piece to wrap back around the vertical frame. This gives your cages reinforcement all the way up the cage, which creates extra strength. (See below.)
*Safety note: if you’re worried about you or a young child poking their hand or arm on these wire points, you can stick a wine cork on the end.
We also recommend adding extra reinforcement by either:
a) For smaller cages/plants – Stick garden/landscape staples in the ground where your cages touch the ground.
b) For larger cages/plants – For larger cages where you plan to grow your biggest plants, you might also want to drive a rebar stake into the ground right next to your cage and attach it to your cage with wire or twine.
It’s no fun walking outside after a severe summer storm and seeing a pile of blown over cages and tomato plants – especially when you could have potentially prevented this up front by reinforcing your cages!
Here, I’m pointing out the bottom cut end of the DIY tomato cage that sticks into the ground. You’ll want to push it into the ground all the way to the first level of the cage to help give it stability.
6. Put your cages on sooner, not later.
Don’t make the mistake of waiting for your plants to be large enough to “need” a cage!
We put our cages in position over our plants when they’re still seedlings or recent transplants, then train their branches through the cage openings as they grow. If you wait too long to put on your cages, it’s very easy to snap branches and damage your plants!
Do you have to store your tomato cages over the winter?
Nope. We leave our tomato cages outdoor in our garden year round. No special winter storage needed.
Now get out there and grow some beautiful ‘maters!
View this post on Instagram
Black beauty tomatoes. We’ve had some that get almost uniformly dark black/purple, but these beauties have some gorgeous red flame action going on below those purple shoulders. All the best flavor notes you could want in an heirloom tomato with some extra anthocyanin for your health. #blackbeautytomatoes #heirloomseeds #growjourney #heirloomtomatoes
We hope this gardening tip was helpful, and your huge tomato plants finally get the DIY tomato cages they deserve! If you have any questions, please ask away in the comments section below.
More tomato growing resources:
If you’d like to learn more about growing tomatoes, you’ll love these GrowJourney resources:
- Complete guide to growing organic garden tomatoes, from seed starting to seed saving
- Five Tomato Growing Tricks You Need to Start Using
- Top-5 reasons you keep killing your potted tomato plants
Sometimes our articles will contain Amazon affiliate product links. These products have been carefully curated by our team. We use them, trust them, and know they work (or in the case of books, know that the information is extremely helpful). GrowJourney may earn a small commission on any sales that are generated via these affiliate links (without any additional cost to you).