Learn how to create a DIY Tomato Cage to keep your tomato plants healthy! A simple roll of concrete wire and t-posts will provide support and promote airflow for a high-yielding crop through the summer.
Tomatoes are Mother Nature’s gift to the gardener; the trick is to figure out how to keep them healthy. Healthy tomato plants can provide up to twenty pounds of pure gold, but it’s much more difficult to have healthy tomato plants than fungi riddled, stressed, unhealthy plants that, no matter how much TLC you give them, aren’t able to turn the corner and become the high yielding plants that we all desire.
One basic but important step in the guide for growing tomatoes is keeping the limbs and leaves off the ground and always allowing for good airflow in and around the plant.
Tomato cages work great and can save you a lot of time managing the plants’ growth and all the loose limbs that make up the growth. Sizing the cage is very important; too small and you are always working to prune leaves and limbs to make sure there is an adequate level of airflow in and around the plant.
I will show you how to build cages using concrete wire, let’s get started.
Step 1 – Lay out and weigh down your wire.
Roll out a generous amount of the concrete wire and weigh down the wire. If it is left loose, it will recoil and cut or impel you somewhere. You will need 3 heavy weights: one for the end of the wire and one for each side of your cut.
Step 2: Determine the cage size needed and calculate the length of wire
Determine how large a cage you would like to have I am going to build cages with an 18-inch diameter.
To determine how long each piece of wire will need to be you will need to multiply the diameter by 3.14 to calculate the length of the wire. (18 * 3.14 = 56.52 inches)
Step 3: Measure and cut the wire.
I used an angle grinder to cut the wire. Heavy duty wire cutters will work, but not as easily as the angle grinder. Important: be sure to secure the wire on both sides of the cut.
Step 4: Create loops on one side of the wire.
Using a pair of gloves and pliers, make a loop in each of the horizontal long pieces at one end of the wire. When we curl the wire to form the cage, the other side will slide into the loops.
Step 5: Use a clamp to secure the ends together.
I use a wood clamp to hold the end in place, freeing up my hands to form the connecting loops.
Step 6: Thread the horizontal wire through the loop and bend to hold together.
Bring the other end of the cut wire to the end with the newly formed loop, thread the horizontal wire through the loop, and bend the wire, forming a loop that holds the two ends together.
Step 7: Secure cage to stake(s).
The cages are ready to place over the plants. I secure the cages to T-post. For tomatillos, I only use one post and set the cage on the ground. However, but for my Cherokee purple tomatoes, I use two posts and secure the cage about 12 inches off the ground. The two posts and added height will come in handy by the end of summer these plants will exceed six feet and will catch a lot of wind during a storm. The cages are secured to the post with zip ties or wire.
Why should you be pruning tomato plants?
Pruning is a necessity with indeterminate plants. One of these plants has not been pruned and you can hardly see the tomatoes. There is no room for any airflow to help keep this plant healthy. Look closely and you can see the plant on the right is showing the ill effects of overgrowth within the cage.
This sturdy DIY Tomato Cage makes it easy to support new tomatoes, increase air flow to the plant, and give you space to prune and keep the plant healthy!
Best Garden Tomato Recipes
- Homemade Tomato Soup (be sure to look up How to Can Tomatoes so you can make this deep into winter!)
- Cornbread Salad (enjoy it classic or spice it up with this Chuy’s Jalapeno Ranch copycat recipe)
- Tomato Caprese Galette (can be made with a gluten-free and keto-friendly crust, too)
- Chicken Caprese (loaded with flavor, low-carb, and truly lets those tomatoes shine!)
More DIY Garden Projects:
- These DIY Pallet Compost Bins are an inexpensive, easy way to improve your garden through quality compost!
- Building a DIY Soil Sifter will help you improve the soil, making it easier to keep plants healthy and well-watered.
- Bring the garden inside with this DIY Grow Frame! Perfect for brightening up a space!
- This Hanging Gourd Flower Pot is the perfect DIY for gifts or outdoor decorating.