Mister Snodgrass and I spent some quality time working on the garden recently, and the biggest priority was to make a few extra tomato cages. I don’t always DIY, but there is no way I will use the small store-bought cages; they are far too small to allow your tomatoes to reach their full potential. You can use the small cages for peppers, basil or maybe eggplant, but they are not recommended for tomatoes.
How to Make Great Tomato Cages:
- Buy a roll of concrete reinforcing mesh wire. Here in Kansas City, we purchased ours at Sutherland’s Lumber in Waldo. The roll that you purchase needs to be at least 5′ high. Each cage will take about 5’hx5.5’w, which will give you an idea how many feet to buy. (for example, if you want 10 cages, you will need a 55 foot roll)
- Gather materials needed: Wire cutters, heavy duty gloves, and the concrete reinforcing mesh wire.
- Cut off a piece that is 10 of the grid squares in circumference. Place your cut just beyond the 10th grid square/11th vertical wire so that the wire pieces stick out.
- Begin forming your cage and wrap each exposed wire around the opposite end. When this step is complete, you should have a fully enclosed tomato cage.
- You need to make the bottom of the cage which will have prongs that poke into the ground for stabilization. To do this, cut off the bottom ring, leaving the vertical wire prongs.
Make sure you do this while your plants are young and small enough to accommodate a cage without harming the plant. The grid squares leave a 6″x6″ opening which is large enough to fit your hand through to prune and pick tomatoes. You may be tempted to buy a more inexpensive wire mesh, but the problem with those is that the openings are too small.
*** BE VERY CAREFUL*** It is easy to scratch or cut yourself on the wires.