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.
What You Need
• 4 pressure-treated posts, 1×1 inches and 8 feet long (found where decking materials are sold)
• Measuring tape
• Carpenter square
• Safety glasses
• Exterior paint
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.
To make this tomato cage, you'll need four 8-foot posts cut to the following lengths:
- 4—3-foot lengths for the legs
- 6—12-inch lengths for outside support
- 6—10-inch lengths for inside support
Here's how to cut four 8-foot posts most efficiently to get the pieces you need:
- Cut two posts into two 3-foot lengths each, with 2 feet left over from each post.
- Cut each remaining 2-foot section in half, resulting in four 12-inch lengths.
- From the third post, cut two 12-inch pieces.
- 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.)
- The fourth post will become the cage's center stake, securely holding the heavy tomato plant in place.