When it comes to finding a low cost tomato support that actually works, the task can seem nearly impossible!
That is exactly the way we felt some nine years ago, when we planted our first big garden at the farm.
Faced with finding a way to support 50 tomato plants and 30 large pepper plants, we quickly found out just how expensive tomato stakes and cages were!
And making matters worse, in addition to their high cost, the stakes and cages available were pretty flimsy.
The Problem With Traditional Tomato Stakes & Cages
Although traditional tomato stakes and cages do work, they both have obvious disadvantages.
With a single stake, it can be hard to tie the tomatoes up as they grow. And, it’s easy for branches to break off with the limited support.
And even though cages provide a better solution for tying up branches, they can be extremely difficult to harvest through. See : How To Tie Up Tomatoes With Ease
We have all been there, trying to squeeze our fingers through a cage to pick that perfect tomato!
Cages also seem to easily grow right out of the ground as plants mature. Especially the smaller (yet still expensive) flimsy cages.
And the large ones? Well, at $25 to $50 each, you might as well buy your tomatoes and save the cash!
So what is the answer? Well, for us – it came down to creating a low cost homemade solution that combines both the stake and cage method.
By using a simple wooden stake, and attaching a piece of wire fencing to the front of it, it creates an open faced tomato support that is both strong and easy to use!
The front fencing grid makes it super easy to tie off plants. And the open-faced nature makes harvesting a breeze.
We loved it so much we even gave it a name : The Stake-a-Cage.
And it has worked wonders in our garden for supporting both our tomato and pepper crop.
And when we say low cost tomato support, we mean low-cost. In fact, you can create them for as little as $3 to $4 a piece!
Below is a step by step tutorial to help make your own. We included a short video tutorial at the end as well.
The Incredible Low-Cost Tomato Support That Works Wonders In The Garden
Tools / Materials
- Wooden Stakes
- Welded Wire Rolled Fencing
- Wire Cutters
- U-Nails (Fence Staples), Hammer – or Staple Gun
- Jig-Saw or Miter Saw
There are a couple of options to make or buy strong wooden stakes. If you are starting from scratch, the easiest option is to buy inexpensive 2x2x8 framing lumber at your local home improvement / lumber store.
They can be cut down to size for the support you will be making.
We use 5′ stakes for making stake-a-cages for our large heirloom tomatoes. And 3 to 4 foot stakes for smaller tomatoes and peppers.
We even make small 18 to 24″ stakes for small variety peppers like our jalapeno and banana peppers.
You can also make your own stakes from scrap 2×4’s and 2×6’. Simply run them through a table saw lengthwise to make 2 x 2’s, and then cut 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.
We used 36″ high welded wire galvanized fencing rolls with either a 2″ x 3″ or 2″ x 4″ mesh grid. They can be found in 25′, 50′ and even longer rolls.
We used a 36″ high x 50′ roll that cost about $30. When cut in half, it made well over 30 large tomato supports. Product Link : Welded Wire Fencing Roll
Combined with a few dollars for the stake, that is about $3 for one amazing tomato low cost tomato support.
Putting Your Low Cost Tomato Supports Together – How To Make A Stake-a-Cage
Roll out the galvanized welded wire roll.
Using wire cutters, snip off 18″ wide x 18″ high sections for large tomatoes, and 12″ wide x 18″ high sections for smaller tomatoes and peppers.
Center the wire grid on the stake with the bottom of the wire about 12 to 14″ from the bottom of the stake. This allows the stake to be driven in so that the wire grid is near the soil line.
Next, nail or staple in 3 fencing nails (U-nails) to secure the wire grid to the stake. One at the top, one in the middle, and one at the bottom.
And just like that – you have created your very own low cost tomato support!
Here is a quick video tutorial that goes over the entire process:
Here is to growing a great garden this year! Jim and Mary.
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