Tomatoes lying on the ground are prone to insect damage, rot, fungus and damage from birds. Keep the tomatoes off the ground with a tomato cage. Commercially made cages take up space in the off season and are not cheap. The cages sometimes flop over or bend with the weight of a full grown tomato plant loaded with tomatoes. Make tomato cages that are taken apart and stored when not in use, are stable and use low-cost materials.
Chicken Wire Cage
Dig a trench around the tomato plant 6 inches deep in the shape of a square with each side 24 inches long.
Pound four metal garden stakes into the ground at each corner of the square, from 12 inches to 24 inches deep.
Cut the chicken wire so it is 8 feet, 6 inches long.
Attach the chicken wire to the stakes by twisting the wire around the stake and the fencing every 10 inches.
Bury the chicken wire in the 6-inch trench.
Bamboo and Twine Cage
Mark a circle around the tomato plant 18 inches away from the plant. Pound five stakes into the circle at an equal distance from each other. Pound an additional stake by the tomato plant and tie the plant to the stake.
Loop the garden twine around the first stake 12 inches above the ground and tie a knot. String the twine to the second stake, 12 inches above the ground, and tie a knot. Continue to the third, fourth and fifth stakes. The string should now encircle all five poles. Continue tying the string to the posts with the circles of string about 12 inches apart from each other as the tomato plant gets taller.
Tie the tomato plant to the bamboo poles as the plant grows. Push the branches of the plant inside the circle using the twine as support.
About this Author
Katie Rosehill holds an MBA from Arizona State University. She began her writing career soon after college and has written website content and e-books. Her articles have appeared on GardenGuides.com, eHow, and GolfLinks. Favorite topics include personal finance - that MBA does come in handy sometimes - weddings and gardening.