How to Cage Tomato Plants? Benefits & Limitations

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Quick Answer: Caging Tomato Plants

The caging of a tomato plant is done by placing a cage around the plant. This has several benefits, including, preventing the plant from toppling over in windy conditions, providing support for the plant as it grows and produces fruit, and keeping animals from getting to the fruit of the plant.

In this guide, I will discuss in detail a very useful method of supporting your tomato plant – caging.

I have prepared this guide based on my personal experience and with insights from books, research papers, and other gardening experts.

Read on!

What is Caging of Tomato Plants?

Caging involves the use of cages around the tomato plants to support their growth. It is not labor-intensive and protects the plants from intruders.

The tomato cages are conical or cylindrical structures that are open at both ends.

They are placed surrounding the tomato plants.

In short, it forms a barrier around the tomato plants.  It is usually made of metal wire or plastic and requires less labor to set it.

Benefits of Caging Tomato Plants

The cages are simple to install and easy to maintain. It protects the tomato plants from sun damage due to its dense foliage.

The different benefits of caging are 

  • Simple to install – You may simply place the cage over the tomato plants. I don’t have to spend time tying and stringing as with stakes.
  • Protection from the sun – The tomato fruits may be protected from the intense sun, and it helps to retain moisture.
  • Easy maintenance – The caged tomato plants do not require constant pruning like staked tomato plants to keep the branches off the ground. It may be easily reused season after season as it is mostly made of metal wires.

Limitations of Caging Tomato Plants

The cages may sometimes be expensive, flimsy, and hard to store. It makes access to the tomato plants very difficult due to a thick leaf cover.

Some drawbacks of  caging tomato plants are 

  • Expensive – If you are looking for heavy-duty cages, it tends to be very expensive. However, they are durable and last for a longer time.
  • Flimsy – Most of tomato cages are flimsy and can be difficult to handle. Therefore, you may opt for metal or tougher cages.
  • Difficult to harvest – I have to spend some time accessing the tomatoes deep inside the cage.
  • Hard to store – As the cages are bulky and take a lot of space, it may be difficult to store them until the next use.

How to Cage Tomato Plants?

Place the cage around the tomato plants immediately after transplanting and secure them. You may use shorter cages for determinate and longer cages for indeterminate varieties.

A cage of about an 18-inch diameter is made using a 5-foot length of 10-gauge reinforcing wire and 6-inch openings. You may use shorter cages for determinate varieties and 5 feet high cages for indeterminate varieties.

Space the tomato plants about 3 feet apart in a row. You may put the tomato cage as soon as you place your transplant. 

Remove the sections of the bottom horizontal wire, and place the cage over each tomato plant. Push the legs to the ground, and secure the cage. 

I use clear plastic to wrap around the cage to protect the plants from cold and wind.

As the plants start growing, I push the end of the branches into the cages.

You may refer to this video on how to cage tomato plants:

Types of Support Methods for Tomato Plants

The different support systems for tomato plants available are stakes, cages, trellises, and ropes. However, the two popular and most used methods are staking and staging. Each type has certain advantages over the other.

The two popular methods of using tomato plants are staking and caging. They have certain benefits that depend on the layout, weather conditions, and tomato varieties.

What works best in your tomato garden depends on your garden layout, weather conditions, tomato varieties, and commitment to maintenance.

FAQ’s

Can I make my tomato cages?

Yes. I recommend you make your tomato cages. It can be made using hogs, metal fencing, or concrete reinforcement mesh. Measure the length and diameter, form into the cylinder, wrap around the plants, and clip it using strong pliers.

Summary

I hope this guide helped you decide if caging is the right method to support your tomato plants, if yes, how to do it.

Do share your experience with these support methods with me.

Do share the article with your friends and family who love planting tomatoes!

Happy gardening!