Okay, so you have planted tomato plants in your vegetable garden and they are beginning to grow. In fact, they seem to be growing rather quickly! What can be done to contain and support the vines so they do not drag on the ground, leaving the tomatoes in the dirt? Very simple. You need a tomato cage. Gardeners should know how to build a tomato cage because it is likely that one will be needed.
You will need:
Step 1: Unroll the wire mesh and measure a five-foot section. Cut off this portion using wire cutters. Make the cut in front of the vertical wire just past the five-foot measurement. You will then have 11 horizontal wires protruding from one side, which will serve as prongs.
Step 2: Bend each prong back to a 90-degree angle. The prongs will take on the appearance of a hook.
Step 3: Roll the mesh to create a cylinder. Use the hooks made in the step above to fasten the hook side to the vertical wire on the end of the other side. Make sure to wrap those hooks entirely around the vertical wire. This will keep the cylinder more secure and make it less likely to snap open.
Step 4: Use the wire cutters to snip the horizontal wire pieces along the bottom of the cylinder. Leave about six inches of vertical wire along the bottom. This will provide a way to anchor the tomato cage to the soil. Alternatively, a piece of pipe or wooden stake can be woven through the mesh to serve as an anchor.
Step 5: Place the cage around the tomato plant and hammer it down, making sure not to catch any vines under the cylinder. Support vines with the wire by running them through the cylinder. Use cloth, panty hose, or soft string to tie the vines to the cage, if necessary. Vines with fruit should be kept from touching the soil or the fruit will rot.
*Photo Courtesy of JeffreyW via Creative Commons License