DIY Tomato Cage

There are two types of tomatoes: determinate and indeterminate. Determinate varieties are bred to grow in compact bushes about 3–4 feet tall, and their fruit ripens at about the same time over a week or two. Indeterminate tomatoes, also called vining tomatoes, can reach 6–10 feet and need cages or stakes for support. Indeterminate tomatoes continue to flower and produce fruit until a killing frost. Here 's how to support vining tomatoes in your own garden.

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What You Need

• 4 pressure-treated posts, 1×1 inches and 8 feet long (found where decking materials are sold)

• Measuring tape

• Marker

• Carpenter square

• Safety glasses

• Saw

• Hammer

• Nails

• Exterior paint

• Paintbrush

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Step 1: Measure Posts

Mark each of the pressure-treated posts for the various lengths needed (see list of measurements below).

Step 2: Mark Lines

Make straight cutting lines with a carpenter square to aid in cutting.

Step 3: Cut Posts

Saw posts into lengths needed (see below). Trim one end of each leg and one end of the center post at a 45-degree angle for inserting into the ground.

Step 4: Nail the Top

Nail a 10-inch piece to the top of two legs. Repeat with the other two legs.

Step 5: Attach Supports

At 1-foot intervals, attach the second and third 10-inch lengths.

Step 6: Finish Assembly

Connect the leg panels by attaching the 12-inch pieces to the outside of the 10-inch lengths.

Step 7: Paint

Choose an exterior-grade paint to add color to your tomato cages.

Measurements

To make this tomato cage, you'll need four 8-foot posts cut to the following lengths:

  1. 4—3-foot lengths for the legs
  2. 6—12-inch lengths for outside support
  3. 6—10-inch lengths for inside support

Here's how to cut four 8-foot posts most efficiently to get the pieces you need:

  1. Cut two posts into two 3-foot lengths each, with 2 feet left over from each post.
  2. Cut each remaining 2-foot section in half, resulting in four 12-inch lengths.
  3. From the third post, cut two 12-inch pieces.
  4. With the 6 feet remaining from the third post, cut six 10-inch pieces. (You'll have an extra 12-inch piece that's not needed.)
  5. The fourth post will become the cage's center stake, securely holding the heavy tomato plant in place.

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