Tomato Cages for your Vegetable Garden
Tomato cages not only support tomatoes and encourage them to grow but they allow them to develop naturally. Before purchasing tomato cages make sure they are designed so that plants will grow vertically without the fruit and leaves weighing down the stems. If tomato cages aren’t sturdy enough as the plant becomes more mature, the stems will be too heavy for the tomato cages. Also, strong winds can easily blow over flimsy tomato cages.
Most tomato cages you see in the store are made of a light wire - these may not be sturdy enough to provide the required support, and they only last one season. Instead look for tomato cages that are sturdy, made of a heavier metal and flexible enough to adjust to your plants growth.
Tomato cages should also be tall enough for plants to grow to full height – at least five feet or more for most varieties.
Tomato cages come in a variety of guises, not just wire, from homemade support systems using wood and twine to spiral designs. However, one of the best types of tomato cages to look for are the ones that are very sturdy, make of a heavy metal, one that has the ability to grow with the plant, and one that you can use for several seasons.
If you compare the tomatoes produced in tomato cages you will generally find that these are plumper and juicier than those grown on plants that were staked improperly.
When you use tomato cages be careful to tie the plant correctly, otherwise you can damage the stems. Tomato cages allow air to circulate freely through the plants and the foliage naturally shades the fruit. Using soft garden twine or plastic ties with your tomato cages is a good idea.
Whether you are using stakes or tomato cages, hammer these into place when the seedlings are still small to avoid disturbing the roots later.