Why buy a tomato cage when you can just as easily make your own! All you need are some sticks and wire.
This cage helps provide support to not only tomatoes but also to any other fast growing plants that need support such as eggplants and peppers.
- A tomato plant in a container (I recommend a square one as it is easier to hold the square cage in place but any shape will do)
- Bamboo sticks. You can use any sticks, however I use bamboo because its resistance capacity rivals steel (its true! Look it up)
- Long sticks These should be slightly thicker than BBQ skewers, these can usually be found in the gardening section to use for stalk support. Length of the sticks should depend on the size of the container (stick should be slightly longer than the length of container)
- Heavy duty garden wire The wire should be wrapped in a sort of rubbery plastic (like the kind on electrical tape) that will provide grip
- Scissors or pliers to cut the wire and the sticks
- Four small to medium stones
STEP ONE In one corner of the pot make a small hole in the soil (while being very careful to not damage the roots of the plant). Insert bamboo cane, pushing it all the way down until you can feel the bottom of the container. Before replacing the soil, use a small and narrow tool with a round shape (like the back of the shovel) to compress the soil around the cane. The more compact, the more likely the cane will stay in place. You can also try to pack the soil in, by using your fist and using your strength to push down.
STEP TWO (Optional) Insert one of the small/medium stones between the cane and the edge of the container. This will ensure the cane does not wiggle around (especially if you are using a container like mine that is narrow at the bottom and wider at the top).
STEP THREE Replace all the soil around the cane, continuing to push down to encapsulate the cane with compressed soil all the way to the top. Repeat steps 1, 2 and 3 for all four bamboo canes.
STEP FOUR Using one of the sticks and about 7-10cm of the heavy duty wire, hold the stick about 5cm above, parallel to the soil. Make sure it sticks out at least 1cm past the bamboo cane on each side to ensure it doesn’t slip out of the wire later on. It will also provide added support if the sticks can rest on each other in each corner.
Wrap the wire around the bamboo and the stick pulling them as tightly together as possible (even using pliers for extra precision to twist and tighten the wire). The sticks will need to hold up under the heavy weight of the growing tomatoes later on as the plant matures.
Continue on the opposite side of the stick, making sure to wrap the wire over and around in as many different ways as possible thereby strengthening its support. Continue with the remaining three sides. At the end, you should have a complete square, wrapped around the bamboo.
STEP FIVE Repeat step four adding two or three more square levels. You can always add more later on depending on how tall your plant grows, even adding a double level (about 1cm below) for super support.