Wire cages are a low-maintenance solution for supporting tomato plants. Left unsupported, tomato plants sprawl across the ground, which may lead to damaged fruit. Purchased cages are between 4 and 6 feet tall, and 18 inches or more in diameter. They have long, metal legs that are used as stakes when erecting them over the tomato plants. Using the tomato cage correctly keeps the plant upright and makes access to the ripe tomatoes much more easily come harvest time.
Set the cage over the tomato plant at the time of planting. Set the cage so the plant is centered inside of it.
Push the attached stakes into the ground, if applicable. Otherwise, drive a short 1- to 2-foot stake into the ground on either side of the cage and lash the cage to the two stakes with gardening twine.
Pull fruit-laden branches through the wire openings so the wire supports the weight of the branches. Avoid bending or breaking the branches when doing this.
Prune the top of the tomato plant once it emerges from the top of the cage, if desired. Pinch off the top of each stem as it overgrows the cage inhibits vertical growth and encourages branching, necessary in some indeterminate varieties.
Harvest tomatoes as they ripen. Reach through the cage openings and pick the fruit.