The cheapest steel wire tomato cages that are sold these days are very flimsy and not worth the price. The welds often break, and the horizontal supports are very easily bent out of shape. Homemade options are stronger, and in most cases they are cheaper and much better. Use alternatives to steel wire supports when growing tomato plants, and save money while producing the very best fruit. It will never touch the ground.
Run String in Between Metal and Wooden Stakes
Running strings in between stakes might sound like a lousy way to support tomato plants, but the method works exceptionally well when setup correctly. For the strongest possible supports, place metal lead stakes at the ends of the rows. As the photo shows, they will provide stable reinforcement.
Begin by pounding the lead stakes in the ground at the ends of the garden rows. Plant the wooden stakes in between approximately two feet apart. The stakes must be between 4 and 5 feet tall for best results. Choose the length of the stakes according to the probably height of the tomato plants. Some require taller supports than others. Run bailing twine in between the rows. It is environmentally friendly, and it is sturdy enough to do the job.
Use Old Metal TV Tray Frames
If you have a set of old metal TV trays, recover and repurpose the removable tops, and use the frames as supports for growing tomato plants. Push the legs firmly into the ground to keep the props from tipping over in the wind and from the weight of the fruit, stems and foliage. Tie bailing twine around the tops for additional strength. This is a great way to reuse frames that are equipped with outdated trays.
Repurpose the Legs from Cheap Wooden Bar Stools
Do you have cheap wooden bar stools that are no longer sturdy or necessary? Remove the seats, and without disassembling the legs, push them into the ground to support growing tomato plants. Because of the horizontal wooden supports in between the legs, string is not required. Stools are the perfect height, and they make fantastic homemade plant supports. When properly sealed and stored in between growing seasons, they will last for years to come.
Use an Old Wooden Stepladder for Support and More
An old wooden stepladder can be used to support two tomato plants. Seal the wood to prevent moisture damage, and push the legs several inches into the soil for added stability. The tomato plants can be spaced to grow through both ends. Add bailing twine to the side without steps. The top of the ladder can be used to hold potted chives, herbs or flowers of your choice. In addition to providing a sturdy foundation for tomato plants, the ladder will add visual charm and appeal to your vegetable garden.
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