how do you use tomato cages?

essenceofecletic999July 28, 2008

I know that tomato cages are used so that the vines of the tomato have a place to climb and so they have something to latch onto. I found instructions on how to build tomato cages.

The question I have is this: how do you use tomato cages? I've never used them before, so I'm unfamiliar with how you use them? I'll be growing the tomatoes in 5 gallon containers. Should I just put the cages behind the containers, or do I put the containers the where the tomatoes are growing in the center of the cage?

Also this is off-topic, but can anybody recommend a good all-purpose variety of tomato to grow in the garden? One that is good for general cooking uses as well? (in salads, soups, sauces, etc.)

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tomahtohs

I would set the tomato so that it grows in the center of the cage That way it won't fall over. Tomatoes don't have tendrils or anything, so they really won't "grab" onto a cage located close to them unless you manually pull the leaves through the openings of the cage.

Kevin

    Bookmark   July 28, 2008 at 8:27PM
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tn_veggie_gardner(7)

Home Depot sells metal wire tomato cages for like barely over a dollar. Thdey work great! I get one of those & these kind of brace thing for the main stem & that seems to work just fine. My tomatoes are a later than usual crop this year, but the pic below shows you a great setup for under $2.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 2:13PM
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sprtsguy76(Santa Clara Ca. 9b)

I would build homemade concrete wire cages, they last forever and are much stronger than the tomato cages.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 4:14PM
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macheske(6/7 NorthernVA)

Just put the cage around the plant so that it is in the middle. I put 1 t post in the ground next to the CRW cage and attach it with a large zip tie. Those little HD cages are funny... My plants are over 7' now. I don't think I would be able to find them. They might be big enough for some of my peppers.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 11:24PM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

sprtsguy76, I was thinking of making my own. Every year the plants are MUCH taller than the puny commercial cages. How do you store yours? I have limited space to stash my cages but at least they nest. Can they be opened up flat or are they more or less permanent after you make them?

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 12:50AM
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sprtsguy76(Santa Clara Ca. 9b)

linnea- for storage I just stack them against my fence. If you dont have the space for that then Yes you can just un-tie them and bend them straight for easy storage.

Damon

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 3:35AM
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tn_veggie_gardner(7)

hmmm...ok...apparently, I need be be simple, complete, blunt, detailed, etc., etc...Let me try to add to my post above for those of us less fortunate than others who can't obviously tell my plants are in containers on an apartment porch that isn't 12,000 sq ft. So, here I go...I have a container (pots) garden that is on an apartment (not a house with a frickin yard) porch, so 10 ft diameter (let me know if this word is too much) & 8 ft tall cages won't work for my tomatoes. Oh yeah, mine will also be growing straight up (unlike the picture 4 posts above this one), not sideways, since I rotate them daily. So, yet another reason why I don't need Iron Man tomato cages. So, before you assume anything or decide to belittle someone else's methods, please try to actually look at the picture said person posted & maybe, if you're smart enough (unlike some), you can figure some things out that would probably let you know the cages used are ideal. Await my harvest pictures if you'd like to feel even worse than you do now.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 11:27AM
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drtomato(5 Ortonville MI)

tn_veggie_gardner- do what's good for you. Some people here consider this more than just a hobby. I think sportsguy don't like to unfold your cheesie, slinky type cheepie wire cage after every little wind storm blows by. When toms are 8 foot plus in height and having toms on the plant with a weight of 20lbs. or more, those $1 thingies blow.
Go show some Anmish people your "harvest pictures" and how you got it. That would be laugh.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 12:04PM
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desertfarmerjohn

I have several tomato plants growing in containers and have used the largest wire cages sold at Home Depot/WalMart/local nurseries. These are about 5 foot tall I and are a heavier gauge wire than the smaller ones. Just stick them down into the container with the tomato plant in the middle and let it grow. Yes, after several months, the tomato plants will be a bit taller than the cages, but something is better than nothing. I have some pics of my container grown tomatoes on my blog linked below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Container Gardening in the Desert

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 12:37PM
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terrybull

essence,you can see the tomato cages i use and you can use your better judgement what would work for you. also the cages are more for support then a climbing trellis.tomatoes do get tall. for the tomatoes,gils allpurpose,heinz,etc. your taste. tn veggie, i also have limited space and tried those little cages for about a half a season. most people dont want set up a support system and fight with it all season. drtomato, 20 lbs double that and you would still be safe and you are right dollar store cages.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 6:58PM
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keligrn

I love your system! Could you post more pictures or a diagram of what you use to build it? I have wrestled all year with my plants blowing over and suffered damage to my plants. I especially love your watering system.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 11:01PM
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carolynp(z7)

Well Terry Bull, I love that system too! It looks neat and interesting. I have the ultomatoes in my garden and my tomatoes have already outgrown them, lol. They might work nicely for you, though, ecclectic because they are only six feet tall. Do you have a heighth requirement on your space? I chose the ultomato because I'm not really very handy (ahem, understatement alert...). This is my first year, so the only tomatoes I can recommend first hand are the roma and the juliette. Romas are very productive and I understand I can put them up and the juliettes have exceeded all my expectations in size, taste, and productivity. Just my two cents. Ima try stupice and kimberly next year, so I'll have more info for you then.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2008 at 12:06AM
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tn_veggie_gardner(7)

Nice PVC cages...I understand fully what you're saying about my HD cages. You are correct in that they are only a support system, very specifically with these smaller ones I use. I don't mind helping a branch here & there by moving it above a ring or whatever. I very much doubt there will be constant upkeep with the cages. I am well aware of the size tomato plants get. One of the main reason I did 6 of them (2 each of 3 varieties) is that I know container gardening on a tiny porch means (for some plants) limited production due to space. Anyways, guess i'm trying to say I pre-planned quite well & bought items I specifically wanted. My hopes are to have plenty of matoes by football season. :) See, drtomato & macheske, it's not hard to talk like a normal adult. Start out by asking questions first though, like "Why do you use the small HD tomato cages?" instead of saying something like, "Those little HD cages are funny... My plants are over 7' now. I don't think I would be able to find them. They might be big enough for some of my peppers." Then maybe, by asking a few questions first, you'd know why I bought the materials I did, instead of just starting a bunch of crap in this forum. And I wonder why it's been so dead the past 2 weeks.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2008 at 11:47AM
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macheske(6/7 NorthernVA)

Tn_veggie_gardner,
I'm still trying to figure out how I offended you. I simply said that those little HD cages are funny. I appologize if you have to read everything as it is a personal attack. I'll try not provide any experiences of my own in a forum that you own.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2008 at 12:58PM
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tn_veggie_gardner(7)

mach: I was in no way saying I "own" the forum. I did not consider your reply a personal attack or I would have taken things a bit further. I do think it was belittling my setup w/o asking questions first to even find out about it. For a comparison, it would be like looking at a person walking by & assuming they are not intelligent when you really know nothing about them. Simply put, think before you type. Like I said above, ask the questions first, then when you actually know a little bit about my setup, then formulating opinions would be fine. I wouldn't be offended & would just consider it an opinion. Anyways, I'm not out to start a big debate here. I was a slight bit upset & wanted to straighten things out/clarify. If your apology is sincere w/o sarcasm, then it is accepted. Peace - Steve

    Bookmark   July 31, 2008 at 1:08PM
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geeboss(7)

bumb for ideas

    Bookmark   February 14, 2009 at 10:50AM
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