Homemade and STURDY Tomato Cages

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#1
I finally got fed up with the commercially available cages. Things bend all outa shape, fall over with wind or heavy plants,, just plain JUNK!

So I made some out of cattle fence panels. Made eight for a trial run. Cages are 12" square(need to be bigger) and in two pieces so they will stack. Legs are long enough to go 12-16" into the ground and are 1/4" rod. Two legs per cage half, leaving one side free to be adjusted when they are set in place.

I had some plants still on the ground. Set one half in place and push it in the ground, tie/hold (had a helper) the plant up and stick the other half in place.

The halves are tied together with wires used to tie reinforcing steel in concrete forms. Ties are available at HD and Lowes, I already had the tool to twist them with.

Next batch will be 16-18" on a side and 24-30" tall, not counting the legs. I'll make them as funds are available, need about 50 in all so it will get stretched out over this winter.
 

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lynpenny

Super Moderator
Staff member
#2
I know where you are coming from. I can see you will be improving on them as you learn but it is a good start. keep up the good work. I hate the boughten ones too.
 
#3
Eventually I'll phase out the cages I have now, hopefully by the time I make 40+ more I'll have the design perfected.

I used the fence panel material because it was easily available. The mesh isn't a real good size though so I had to compromise on the sixe of the cages. The next batch will be made out of concrete reinforcing mesh, the heavy stuff that is made of #6 mesh as opposed to the lighter #10 which compares to what is in commercial cages. That is welded into 6" squares which will allow me to work in either direction, the cattle fence is 6x8" so it locked me into only one way that gave pieces I could use.

The legs are pencil pointed on a fixture I rigged on a grinder, there's no way anyone could easily push a blunt 1/4" rod into the soil. Thse go in easily and are stiff enough to stand some side load.

The remesh will also be bare steel(the fence was galvanized) so, if the cost isn't going to be insane, I can have the next ones galvanized and they would outlast me and another generation too.
 

RonsGarden

Super Moderator
Staff member
#4
Cool!
I don't like the cages either, they are too flimsy to stand in windy weather! I usually need to use some poles to help keep them inplace!
Like your design! Neat and easy to fold away for the next growing season! And, you can make them any hieght you need!
 

Kya D

Active Member
#5
I use concrete reinforcement wire
I just cut about 3 feet off the roll leaving long wires on one end and bend those wires so they hook when I roll the cage into a tube. Then in the fall I unhook them and they lay flat for storage
 

Crabbergirl

Super Moderator
Staff member
#6
Really nice Alan. Beat my Palmetto cages I built last weekend. I was going to post them but thought better of it. They sure look nothing like your LOL!. I might just post them anyway as you could use a laugh;)
 
#7
Crabber, I promise I will not laugh. I can admire people who can make something work out of what is handy. Function counts for way more than appearance. Since I have the tools and knowledge (now) to work with metal that is what I tend to lean towards.

When me and my teenage, maybe younger, buddies wanted to build something were had no tools available to us for anything but wood. That's why the "(now)" above. I would not want to go back to not-so-good old days.
 

lynpenny

Super Moderator
Staff member
#8
Oh my gosh I remember when we were first married we made a table to put the tv on with only a hammer and a hand saw. It didn't look too bad and it served the purpose. Now we have a garage full of power tools.lol
 

Crabbergirl

Super Moderator
Staff member
#10
AMEN Ron! I have all my dads old tools and compared to what Tim and I have now it's a wonder my dad was such a craftsman. Technology has it's good points but it causes us to not use the skills of our fathers.

Alan,
I will take some pics tonight . I thought they turned out pretty good and I can add up as the plants grow. I just got tired of the expense of cages that rust and hold fungus and disease. These are free and can be thrown out when ever I am done. They are primitive but I think they will work. Of course there is a little trial and error , like I should have horizontal bands on the inside of the laterals instead of the outside., because as the plants push out they will put to much outward presure on the bands, so on the second one I changed the bands to inside and I think they will work better. I used wax string to make the connection between lateral and bands , where I should have used something that will not strech. I tried fronds from the palmettos but even green they were to brittle. But hey theey are free;) Pics to follow
 
#11
Cages are usefull only for transportation. I usually use roll cages to transport tomatos to the storage.


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