In the summer of last year, probably when my tomatoes were overflowing with fruit and broke branches left and right (again) I wrote a blog entry complaining about my hope of one day — someday, finding the perfect method to sustain tomatoes. I’m sure the day has come.
After all the years I’ve spent gardening professionally and in my personal life, I was extremely disappointed that I was unable to find a product that met my requirements to be considered as the “ultimate tomato support”.
It would seem that you’ve seen it all, but no one or company could have made something other than the cheap, flimsy common, and completely unusable cones in every garden center, box store, and finally, the garbage bin in America.
This was the year when I finally decided to take the matter into my own hand. I wanted to, once and for all alter my tomato-growing life for the better, and maybe you will too.
I believe I’ve discovered the solution.
While I’m sure that there are a variety of versions of my tomato cage design available and I’m surprised that I’ve never encountered one in the flesh. Therefore, while my design is just my own idea that I developed by myself, however, I do not lay claim to having invented it.
In the case of the design I came up with, the concept rapidly evolved when I noticed myself looking over one of the numerous livestock panels that I have on the farm. We don’t actually use one for livestock, however, I do use them every day in the garden for everything from trellising cucumbers to peas to using them for planting models, to protect the plants against hungry deer and, recently, on my deck, which I am building for the railing that protects.
However, on the ever-changing list of 101 possible uses for animal panels, the ideal tomato cage is my most recent and, so far, the most effective application.
If you’re not acquainted with these panels, you can are able to find them at farms as well as tractor parts stores. The panels are sixteen feet wide and four feet wide. Made of strong galvanized wire, they’re available in various styles, from a smaller, 4 4-inch grid, or a square pattern. These are the ones I typically use in my garden, which is 6×6 inches squares, for approximately 20 bucks per.
It is easy to return them when you own an auto pickup. With the help of another person, you can simply take the panel from both ends to the truck’s bed and then place the middle of the panel facing the cab, with the ends in the direction of the tailgate (like an enormous reversed “U” shape). It’s flexible enough to carry several panels in one trip. I use one strap that ratchets to secure all the panels to the bed to take them home.
Through many years, I’ve searched all over the world in the hope of finding a tomato cage or support to be crowned to be”the “ultimate”. In order to be regarded to be such, the product needs to satisfy all of the requirements listed below.
My seven essentials that must be the most effective tomato support
1. It must be strong. As tomato plants grow high and heavy with fruits the most effective thing is something strong enough to be able to withstand the pressures. The first requirement alone is the deciding factor for several candidates. The majority of support and retail cages do not have the capacity to support the load.
The Ultimate Tomato Support can take any food item you throw at it. Since the panels were designed to protect livestock, they are able to withstand even the largest tomato plants.
2. It should stand tall and strong enough. Even when the cage is sturdy enough (and this is a huge If) it’s not always tall enough to support the traditional variety of tomatoes I like to cultivate. Although there are varieties that grow to an appropriate height before stopping expanding, “indeterminate” varieties keep growing and producing all year all season.
The advantage of using a lengthy panel for livestock is you are able to select the height you wish to build them and cut the panels to suit. The dimensions of the panels won’t permit the creation of an adequate height cage to meet my requirements, the magic is in the adequate length.
3. It has to be large enough. Also, supports that aren’t wide enough aren’t good for plants because they hinder their growth or restrict sunlight and airflow — two essential elements to healthy, flourishing plants.
The size of the panels for livestock makes it ideal for creating plenty of room.
4. It must be rust-proof. The closest I’ve come across to an acceptable support is the wire cages made of wire that is used to reinforce concrete. It’s quite sturdy, but it rusts like no tomorrow. This is a major problem for me. They’re also difficult to store.
The galvanized panels resist rust and withstand the elements easily.
5. It should look attractive. It’s not enough to appear rusty, but it also needs to appear appealing. Even if I’m not using them to create a garden for a TV show, I’m a fan of neatness and order. You’ll be able to see that by watching my garden design. Yes, I’m OCD.
The grid-like pattern that is uniform across the panels ensures the greatest consistency in every dimension and gives a neat, clean look for any yard.
6. It should be easily storage-friendly. There is always the season. Since the tomato season isn’t continuous throughout the year-long, the cages have to be taken away, placed in stacks, and kept in a space-efficient manner until the next season. In contrast, round cages and even wire cones aren’t able to stack properly.
The great thing about this design is the fact that the two panels that make the cage, when taken apart can be neatly stacked on top of one another. With a tiny amount of area (about 12 sq. feet), it is possible to organize and store numerous panels.
7. It should be durable. It’s probably not a good idea to admit it, but I don’t own any tomato cages or support that I’ve ever used at any time in the past. This is how much I hate these things. They’re not worth having around.
The panels are designed to withstand elements and also tomatoes they support every year. The most appealing thing is after they’ve been purchased and built, all work is finished, aside from removing the panels and putting them into your garden during the next season.
I’m now surrounded by 24 tomatoes from my ultimate cages in my garden. With that many, they aren’t obtrusive. They actually add an attractive element of organizational design and structural structure with a modern flair. Additionally when these plants grow and spread out the cages have almost gone into the plant as they have developed around them. I am in love with the design as well, and the plants seem to be flourishing. Could this be the year I make it through the entire season with all my tomatoes and plants in good shape? I’m sure it will be.
Here’s a link to The VIDEO and step-by-step instructions for building the most perfect tomato cage for yourself. One word of warning These are addicting. It isn’t possible to stop even after only one. Make sure you be prepared. Like me, you’ll be left wondering how you got by this long without them in your backyard too. Enjoy!