How To Build Tomato Cages

square foot gardening IMG 5482 Emilee, one of my readers, gave me the instructions to build some pretty cool tomato cages.

You can see from this picture that her tomatoes were over 5′ tall, and still growing, thanks to these supports.

Supplies:

  • Steel remesh–I found a roll of 5′x100′ for $100 at Home Depot
  • Bolt cutters–$16-$20
  • Zip ties–$7 for pack of 100
It’s pretty expensive to tackle this on your own, especially if you don’t need 20 tomato cages. Find some friends and neighbors who are interested in buying some and share the cost! It ends up being about $6.60 each, including the bolt cutters and zip ties. Not bad for 5′ tomato cages!
square foot gardening rebar Step 1–Unroll the remesh (it’s a lot longer than this). Remesh is divided into 6″ squares, which is great because you can reach right through to pick your tomatoes. It also makes it easy to measure!
square foot gardening rebar cut Step 2–Cut to 5′ lengths. Emilee strongly recommended using bolt cutters. It sounded like they tried something else and it took forever. With bolt cutters this should be a breeze.
square foot gardening rebar final Step 3–Wrap the remesh into a cylinder with the “pokey” ends down. Use zip ties to secure the ends together.
square foot gardening IMG 5068 Step4–Use in a 2′x2′ section of the garden to support one indeterminate tomato plant.

So, is anyone in the Utah County or south Salt Lake County want to go in on some tomato cages? I need 4, but it looks like I’ll have 16 leftover! I’d collect money ahead of time with PayPal, and just cover my costs. But it looks like it would be about $7.15 per tomato cage. Leave a comment if you’re interested! Pickup would be in Lehi.

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18 Responses

  1. Bill says:

    I don’t mind the rust … but it seems quite objectionable to some other people .. not sure why! I reread the thread and realized some people are using zip ties .. what a great idea even if just to ‘pull them into shape’ before wiring them up.

  2. Emily says:

    Great idea to bury them. That would not be hard to do early in the spring when filling my garden beds. I agree–this project is not one for the faint of hart. I wore gloves, but still got lots of scratches. Also, this type of cage rusts, and can be hard to store. But it’s so fantastic for growing tomatoes!

  3. Bill says:

    I use the 5-foot high rolls and cut 5-foot lengths and then add an additional 1/2 (2.5 feet) section atop that to make 7.5 feet total. I then bury the bottom rung in the soil of my raised beds. I’ve never had one topple over.

    Even at about 7 feet exposed they are not tall enough for most indeterminate type tomato. I simply cut the leaders to keep the plants contained. In professional greenhouses they train the leader along a horizontal beam and keep the plants flowering and fruiting for many months. I could probably do that if I had more room.

    While the rolled steel is an inexpensive way to create the cages, it is not for the faint-of-heart. The cages are tricky to build and the wire-wraps can gouge and scratch mercilessly.

  4. Jim says:

    I got 50 foot lengths of 5-foot mesh and made only 7 cages from each, 5@7ft and 2@7.5 ft, which is 2′ 3-4″ in diameter. My 6-10 tomato plants fill them entirely, esp the indeterminate varieties. These wider cages are pretty stable and only one has blown over in about 10 years without fastening them down.

  5. Emily says:

    I have a few extra–email me at mysquarefootgarden@gmail.com with the number and when you could pick them up. After we confirm it will work, I’ll let you follow the link and buy them.

  6. Sidne O'Reilly says:

    Hi Emily,

    I may be too late, but if not, I would love to go in on a couple of tomato cages. Please let me know,

    Thank you so much,

    Sidne O’Reilly

  7. Kelly B says:

    I am very interested. I will come pick up wherever. Let me know.

  8. Melissa D. says:

    I would be interested as well. I’d like 4, but I would take 2 or 3 depending on what works out best. I’m in Provo, but pick up in Lehi wouldn’t be a problem. Thanks!

  9. Melissa says:

    I could use 2, I live in Lehi.

  10. Richard says:

    I would love some Emily…however, I live across the country from you. Oh well, you win some and you lose some. But I do love the post. Extremely helpful!

  11. Emily says:

    If enough people are interested, I’ll buy 2 (or more) rolls of remesh. It will lower the cost a little, since it includes the bolt cutters. Emily

  12. michelle says:

    I live in Lehi and would LOVE to go in on some cages. I definitely need 3 – maybe even a couple more.

  13. Jodi says:

    I would take two if you have leftovers. Let me know!

  14. Whitney says:

    If you don’t want to use the stuff from Home Depot, just head to your farm supply store and buy wire cattle panels. They come in 16 foot lengths and work the same way. They were a little less than $1/sq ft the last time we had to buy them. You’d get 3 out of each panel.

  15. Kris says:

    me too!! This would be great! I live in Provo as well and would like 3. Maybe 4. Thanks Emily!

  16. Sandra S says:

    I would love to get four of them from you! I had already planned on purchasing the materials to build this same type of cage. I work in Lehi so pick up there would be great!

  17. Leslie says:

    Would love some! I’ve been wanting to buy the pink ones I saw at the nursery but at $25 a pop I said no way. I think I’d like 5. Let me know how to get them – if you need more information from me. Thanks!

  18. Susan Wheatley says:

    I would be interested, Emily — I would like 4 or 5 of them! I live in Provo.