Anyone that has ever grown tomatoes or peppers knows the importance of providing plenty of support for your plants.

The Stake-A-Cage at work in our garden last season

There is nothing more devastating than growing a beautiful tomato plant loaded with ripening fruit – only to watch it collapse during a mid-summer thunderstorm.

Even more disheartening – some healthy plants can just simply fall over and break without warning from their own weight as they grow. You can go from thoughts of pasta sauce and salsa dancing in your head to an empty plate in a single day!

Good support not only helps keep plants growing strong – but the added light and air flow prevents disease and pest problems, and allows them to ripen more evenly.

Our Stake-A-Cages stored during the winter in the barn. Their design allows them to store easily

Although traditional tomato stakes and cages both work -they both have obvious disadvantages. With stakes –  it can be hard to tie the tomatoes up as they grow, and branches can become unsupported with just a single post to tie off your plants.

Even though cages provide a better place to tie off branches from your plants – tomatoes and peppers can be hard to harvest through the circular cage. Cages also seem to have the ability to grow right out of the ground as plants mature – not to mention they can be very pricey!

The answer – make your own using the best of both worlds both to create the perfect tomato and vegetable support! – Take a nice sturdy stake, attach to an open piece of wire fencing – and voila – you have your very own, home-built Stake A Cage!

A few years back, we wrote our first article on our DIY Stake A Cage – and ever since, we hear from gardeners all over the world that have built their own and love them too!

Creating The Stake A Cage

Tools and Materials Needed: 

A good pair of Wire Cutters, Fencing Nails (U-nails), Hammer, Jig Saw

Wooden stakes – Stakes cut to length (we use 5′ stakes for large tomatoes, 3 to 4 foot stakes for smaller tomatoes and peppers, and 18 to 24″ stakes for small plants like banana peppers).

There are a couple of options to make or buy your stakes.   If you are starting from scratch, the easiest option is to buy inexpensive 2x2x8 framing lumber at your local home improvement / lumber store (usually for around$1.25 each)  If you buy them in the standard 8′ pieces, you can simply cut in half to make 2 from each board. You can also make your own stakes from scrap 2×4’s and 2×6’s –  running them through the table saw lengthwise to make 2×2’s and then cutting them to length.

To make a sharp point on the stakes – you can use a jig saw to cut angled points on the end of one side. If you angle all four sides – it makes for a sharper point to drive into the ground.

Rolled Fencing Wire:

A simple weld wire screen on a stake, and you have the ultimate tomato trellis

30″ High Welded Wire Galvanized Fence with a 2″ x 4″ Mesh Grid  (You can buy a 25′ roll which makes enough for about 16 cages for tomatoes, or 25 for peppers). You can also use cattle panels – although they are more expensive, they are extremely durable and will last forever)  50′ Roll of Welded Wire Fencing

Putting Your Stake A Cage Together:

Roll out the galvanized welded wire roll, and using wire cutters  –  snip off 18″ wide sections for tomatoes, or 12″ wide sections for peppers.

Center the wire grid on the stake with the bottom of the wire about 14″ from the bottom of the stake.  (This is to allow the stake to be driven in to that depth, for smaller stakes, you can use less space)  Then nail in 3 fencing nails, one at the top, one in the middle, and one at the bottom to secure the wire to the stake.  Now you are all ready to grow some great tomatoes this year!!!

Happy Gardening! Jim and Mary

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25 thoughts on “Stake A Cage – The Ultimate DIY Tomato Support

  • May 9, 2016 at 8:12 am

    I tweeked it by using a 5ft 1/2 inch round fiberglass stakes using wire conectors to attach the fencing cage.

  • February 14, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    U nails are commonly called staples by country folks.

  • February 2, 2016 at 8:40 am

    Concrete reinforcement mesh works great, and is inexpensive. Openings are about 5 inch squares for very easy access. I have cages over twenty years old, and still going.

  • January 18, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    We are definitely going to try this method with our 100 market garden tomatoes this year. Likely will make the mesh a little larger to accommodate the full height of indeterminate varieties. Thanks so much for sharing this idea!

    • January 18, 2016 at 5:12 pm

      You will love it! and yes – good idea to make them larger for the indeterminate varieties. Good luck and let us know how it works out – Jim and Mary

  • July 25, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    Here in Florida termites would feast on the wooden stakes. They’ve even eaten some of my pressure treated boards.

  • July 25, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    Here in Florida termites would have a feast on the wooden stakes. They even eat some pressure treated woods.

  • May 10, 2015 at 11:04 am

    Thanks for the idea!

    Do you have to tie the plants to the wire, or do they grip on by themselves? Also, does it matter what size the holes are? My wire fencing has 2X3 holes, didn’t know if that’s too small for full-size tomato plants.

  • April 10, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    All these tomatoes support ideas are great, my problem is after construct the cages and attach the stake and after the season is over I have a storage problem, any ideas?

    • April 10, 2015 at 1:48 pm

      Actually Jack – ours are pretty flat and store pretty well – we store all 50 or so in a crate standing up. Its nice not to have the roundness of the cage -it just takes up too much space

    • April 10, 2015 at 9:22 pm

      I use most of mine for my Fava beans from fall through winter. I am in CA. though. That may make a difference.

      • April 11, 2015 at 7:58 am

        I’m in Delaware and have a long winter to wait for using the cages and don.t want to stack out side to unsightly.may have to just break them down each year.thanks for the comments.Jack

  • March 29, 2015 at 10:04 am

    I know I’m a bit late on a comment on this, but last year I used a roll of 6″ x 4’x8′ concrete wire made into a round cage. Worked great, although I will need to extend up a couple feet this year. I used them on my Fava beans this year and worked great too. As to tying any plants up, I cut up my wife’s nylons in about 1″ strips. I just cut them into rounds an then snip to make one piece. So far it is the best thing I’ve used, although if someone checks my shed and sees the nylons waiting to be repurposed, they might think I’m a pervert. 🙂

    • March 29, 2015 at 10:24 am

      LOL…I remember that my parents used the old nylons too to tie up tomatoes. Great info on the cage as well

  • February 21, 2015 at 9:10 pm

    When using a start bought compost tea that attaches to the hose, how often should I be watering with this tea?

    • February 21, 2015 at 9:12 pm

      That was, store bought compost tea.

  • February 8, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    Teresa, you can use yarn or you can use rags cut into strips to tie them up.

  • February 7, 2015 at 10:06 am

    Great idea….just curious, what do you use to attach plant to cage?

  • February 7, 2015 at 9:48 am

    Thanks for sharing this. I definitely need better supports for my tomatoes and peppers this year and this is a great DIY. I even have most of the material on hand.

  • February 6, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    I find your blog very helpful and inspirational. I am a newbie farmer thanks for all the information. I mentioned your blog over at The Itty Bitty Farm, I thought you might be interested in the post.
    Thanks Again
    Simmer Dougherty

  • February 6, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    I found this information really useful. I might not even have to buy any wire if we have enough left over from building our dog run. Much appreciated.

  • February 6, 2015 at 9:21 am

    I’ve made round cages with 6-ft. tall galvanized “horse” fencing, then cutting out squares so I can reach in to harvest my tomatoes. They are exceptionally sturdy and long lasting. I used the same fencing to build a large trellis in the shape of an “E” laid on the ground. For that I used standard fence poles to hold the fencing. I grow beans, peas, melons or any vining plant on this, and have used it to support tomato plants as well. But to make my favorite bean trellises, I took 2″x2″x8′ boards, and pointed one end, then stapled 2-ft wide stiff plastic coated fencing to the boards. I drilled holes in the non-pointed end and put two of these together with long bolts and wing nuts so they can open to an inverted “V” or be closed up for storage in the winter. When closed, they take up very little room in my garage.

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