Tomatoe cagesNow that you've planted your plants, you'll need a cage for each one which is sturdy enough to support your large tomato plants. Expect each plant to grow to 6-8 ft.
Don't wait until your tomato plants need support to build your cages, as it's difficult to install them around plants which are too close together, and a little late to move the plants!
Troy used 7 ft. wide 6" (holes) wire mesh rebar, found at some building supply places. You will need the large 6" holes in order to pick your ripe tomatoes. If you size your cages right, you should be able to "nest" about three cages, one inside another, for easy storage in the winter. Build one that is 6' in circumference, then one 5'6", then one 5'. Start over again in that manner until you have groups of three that can be "nested." You may be tempted to build larger cages, but if you do, make sure some tomato branches poke out of the sides so that your plant doesn't collapse in one big heap at the bottom of the cage when the tomatoes weigh it down.
Start with a 6'6" length of 7' wide wire mesh. Using bolt cutters, cut off the extra 6" lengths down the side so that you have two sides that meet up to create a circle. Purchase cage clips (like large bird bands) from Orchard Supply and a cage clip tool. Clip the sides together and you have a circle.
Again using bolt cutters, cut the bottom wire between the verticle wires so that you have six "feet" to cement your cage.
I'll have some photos before planting time next year.
For Palo Alto residents: I have some wire available for sale and can coach you while you build your cages.
Palo Alto, California
© 2007 Troy's Tomatoes -- All rights reserved.
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