Link to this page

Homemade Tomato Cages for Short Season Tomatoes

John C. from New Hampshire shared his tips for making homemade tomato cages with Tomato Dirt readers. John modifies his cages to accommodate his shorter growing season.

Says John ...

For many years, I've made homemade cages from reinforcement wire to support tomatoes.

Why I make shorter tomato cages

In New Hampshire, we have a short growing season. Over the years, I've experienced frost every month but July, so I try to be careful to grow tomatoes that can ripen quicker than slower. I rarely grow indeterminate types that exceed 4-5 feet high because they simply don’t have time to get larger than that. I grow a mix of paste and traditional tomatoes.

Short tomato cage with Tomato Dirt

I liked the video on Tomato Dirt, but I do one thing differently because of my short season. When I make my homemade tomato cages, I don't cut the bottom wire for the legs. Instead, I cut wires about 2-3 feet from the bottom. Within that band of wire I cut towards one side, the next from the other side as I go around. I use 6-foot-tall wire, so by cutting this way I can get a 2-foot and 4-foot cage from each length I cut. Occasionally I will make some 6 foot tall cages for experimental plants.

I have grown as many as 50 - 100 plants. My method doubles the amount of completed cages per roll, which you can see provides a significant cost savings. The reduced number of "feet" has never been a real problem because my plants don’t get too big. My homemade tomato cages last maybe 20 years.

It is important to adjust the lateral branches so they don't damage themselves as the plant grows. It takes little time. But you can see what is going on.

A simple way to trellis tomatoes

I have also tied rows in a simplified trellis arrangement. I pound heavy duty metal fence posts into the ground (they last forever), running a 10-12 gauge wire along the top. Then I use baler twine to tie a loop near the bottom of the plant, loosely wrap it around the vertical wire, and tie it off with a slip knot to the top wire. It is easy to untie the knot and continue wrapping as the plant grows. Often you can just flip the new plant top around the twine without untying it.

Thanks, John!

Share your best tomato growing tips or questions with Tomato Dirt readers!

What are your best tomato growing tips? Gardeners like you know best.

We want to hear from you. Tell us your favorite tip so we can share your experience with other Tomato Dirt readers. Or share a question you have about growing tomatoes. We’ll publish your approved submission on its own page.

Sometimes it’s just one idea that can make all the difference for another gardener.

And with tens of thousands of tomato gardeners out there … well, combined that’s a LOT of experience.

So when you ask questions or share your experiences, we learn from each other and get new ideas about what to try in our gardens.

Here's a sampling of the kinds of information readers want to know from you or the topics you may have questions about:

  • Do you use any special planting tricks?
  • Where and when do you plant?
  • Do you stake – or not?
  • What kind of crop do you get?
  • What kind of challenges do you face?
  • What have you learned from year to year?

We hope you’ll also send a picture if you’ve got one!

Just follow the instructions below to send your submission.

(By the way, if you want to tell us more than one tip or ask more than one question, please go ahead! Just use a separate submission page for each tip.)

Thanks for sharing – and happy gardening!

[ ? ]

Upload 1-4 Pictures or Graphics (optional)[ ? ]


Click here to upload more images (optional)

Author Information (optional)

To receive credit as the author, enter your information below.

(first or full name)

(e.g., City, State, Country)

Submit Your Contribution

 submission guidelines.

(You can preview and edit on the next page)

More on staking tomatoes

Review: tomato cages from Gardener's Supply ...

How to build tomato cages to support tomatoes ...

Best methods for staking tomatoes ...

How to stake and tie tomatoes for support ...

How to tie up tomato plants ...

How to build a tomato trellis for staking tomatoes ...

The perfect tomato staking tape ...

Return from Homemade Tomato Cages for Short Season Tomatoes
to Nonprofit Copywriter home