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Old 08-06-2006, 05:29 PM posted to rec.gardens
Mark Anderson
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Default Staking tomatoes - first time

In article says...
Never buy cages in the store unless they're a type I've never seen for sale
in 35 years of gardening. The type is called "big enough, and of the right
shape". You're better off to make your own out of plastic covered metal
fence wire, the kind with the 2x3 inch holes. Form them into a cylinder
shape that's sized correctly for your pot. You'll still need stakes - one
for each side of the cylinder. This cylindrical cage will give the plant
loads of room and support. Grown this way, most of the fruit will also be
protected from the sun, which is a reason (but not the main reason) for
cracked skin.

Let me know if you'd like to see pictures of this cage idea.

I have 8 tomatoes in containers and will be building cages for them.
Stakes in containers never did well for me. They got sloppy and fell
over (container soil isn't that strong of a base) and I was always
expanding the staking system when the plants got bigger.

My cage plan is to build the cages outside of the container. That way
I'll use the cages as a support for a shade mechanism to keep the pots
somewhat cooler during the hotter summer months. It's bad news for
tomatoes in containers if the soil gets above 90 degrees.

All my tomato containers are in a row. I'm planning on using 5' 2x2s as
posts. Normally each cage would need 4 posts but to make this easier
I'm having containers share their posts. So the entire row of 8
containers will require only 18 of these posts. I had a bunch of scrap
5' 2x8s that I ripped into the posts with a table saw. I plan to
connect the posts into boxes with lathing and whatever scraps of wood I
have laying around. The entire cage structure will be self supporting
and will not have to be staked into the ground. I do not want to paint
this structure. I'll use screws to put it together so it can be
disassembled in the fall if necessary.

In a couple of days when I finish I'll post pics of the finished