I’m Feeling Good From My Head -Tomatoes! {DIY tomato cages}{9}

What?  You don’t like puns?  I happen to think they are hysterical.  I expect that puts me in some kind of low humor category.  Ask me if I care.   I saw that somewhere on Facebook yesterday and it made me laugh.  And, as promised, today’s post will be about the tomato cages I built am buliding, this week.  Oh, I know, you put your tomato cages on the same day that you planted your plants, right?  You did not wait until the plants were suddenly (so suddenly!) top heavy and falling over and threatening to become crawling vines instead of the climbing variety.  You would not do that.

Ahem.

Me neither.

These giant tomato plants in these photos taken while building these tomato supports belong to someone else entirely – who has a garden that looks.   just.  like.  mine.

I have to tell you that I’m having a hard time concentrating tonight because  my yardstick coat rack project from last week is making just the tiniest little splash – quite a few people seem to like it.   I’ve spent my time this evening answering a zillion comments (okay, only 30 or so) here on the blog and thanking a whole passel of new “likes” on Facebook – when I was supposed to be writing this post.  But I was having so much FUN! I must get my mind back around to tomato cages!  Ah, yes!  I have a good segue.  If you read that post about the yardstick coat rack, (and you should read it because it includes a giveaway that you will want to enter!), you would know that I went to great lengths to find a way to make the project without harming any of the ultra cool vintage  yardsticks.

Believe it or not though, this tomato cage project involved yardsticks too!  And do you know what I did with them?  I cut them in half with a CHOP SAW!!  I did!  Fear not.  These were not vintage (when did I start using that word?) yardsticks.  I bought them at Lowe’s for .69 each.  They are NOT as cool as the rest of my collection. . . but they are very useful nonetheless.

Let me show you how I built these very sturdy and very simple tomato cages.  The cages are triangular in shape and they are made of three upright pieces (4 feet long 1″ x 2″).  Two of the upright pieces are attached (with wood screws) to metal stakes that get pounded into the ground.   All three are connected at the top by the yardsticks which have been cut in half (so they are 18″ each).

DIY tomato supports

this gives you a clear idea of the basic structure

It’s not a lot more complicated than that.  In order to support the tomatoes as they grow, I’m putting foam covered wire from post to post at intervals  – like a ladder.  To do this I simply put a screw into the wood, wound the wire around and strung it across to another screw on the other side.

DIY tomato supports

the wire is covered in foam so it's gentle on the tomato stems

DIY tomato supports

here you can see the padded wires in place - waiting for the plant to get taller

This project wasn’t hard – but it would have been a LOT harder if I hadn’t had the right tools.  I used the drill I got for my birthday.

DIY tomato supports

thank you, Mr. Social Media!

And I also used the post pounder – I think that’s the technical term. . . SO much easier than pounding the posts with a sledge.

DIY tomato supports

extremely useful tool - do you have one? it fits over your post and gets the job done simply by being very heavy

In retrospect, I think I would make the supports square instead of triangular.  I was trying to be frugal and save on materials – and I did (about 25%. . .).  However, the job would have been much neater (though more expensive) if it were square.

DIY tomato supports
not too bad. . . yes?

I have very high hopes for the tomatoes this year.  I’m trying not to get them up too high though.  I have had a lot of tomato related heart break in the last few years. . . Do you live in the North East?  Did you survive the tomato blight of 2009?  This New York Times article  actually centers on my County, and my town. . . it was awful.  And honestly?  I haven’t had a good tomato crop since.  In 2009, I did not get even ONE tomato from my garden.  Truth be told, we didn’t eat anything from the garden that year.  It was devastating.  In 2010, and 2011, we did get tomatoes but they were only mediocre.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed.  So far so good.

In all three of those years I have tried to grow a tomato called Mr. Stripey.  Have you ever grown Mr. Stripey?  It is supposed to be a beautiful orange and red striped tomato.  I have only seen it in pictures.  I have yet to grow one single edible Mr. Stripey tomato.

DIY tomato supports

do you think this will be my year?

Like I said, I have high hopes.  All of the plants look fantastic and there are lots of green tomatoes growing a little bigger everyday. I have two Mr. Stripey’s on opposite sides of the garden (neither has fruit yet).  All I can do is water, weed, and wait. . .

DIY tomato supports

DIY tomato supports

Do you grow tomatoes?  How do you support them?  I decided to build something of my own because the traditional circular metal cages just frustrate me to no end.  Among other things, they always fall over.  What good is that?!  Here’s a question:  How many plants do you plant?  And how many varieties??  And what do you do with them after you harvest them???  Okay – that was three questions.  But I’m truly curious. . .  are you with me in this labor of love or do you think I’m nuts?

Did you know that I read and respond to each and every one of your comments?  Please, drop me a line and let me know you’ve stopped by!  Tell me about your tomato woes. . . or successes!

DIY tomato supports

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