Tomato cages do more than showcase your gorgeous plants. They help you guide the plants to grow vertically, support tender stems as they become heavy with fruit, and keep that fruit from touching and rotting on the ground.
The key to success is to install your cage when you transplant the seedling. Make sure to settle it into the ground and secure it so it’s stable. Then, as the plant grows, gently weave the stems through the openings. If the plant starts to pop through the top, prune it. You don’t want it getting top-heavy and toppling over.
There are numerous options for cages, from store-bought to homemade, from cheap to chic. Here are a few you might consider:
Metal Livestock or Cattle Panel
Sturdy and durable, this can be used for large plantings, and it looks nice in a small garden. Check online and at farm supply stores, and get some ideas and tips from the article “3 Ways to Use Cattle Panels in the Garden” on BonniePlants.com.
You can purchase something beautiful, like this Rustic Twig Tower ($79 from White Flower Farm), or make your own. A basic design is two ladders tilted together into an A-frame and secured at the top and sides. There’s a slideshow on how to make one at Mother Earth News.