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RogueRose
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Next year....

I am going to use tomato cages!

Yes. Bad me I didn't use cages. I had most of them in pots and didn't think they needed them. The ones NOT in pots I had started in teeny tiny seed starter kits and I didn't put them in the ground til really late. I didn't think they'd make it at all. Oh boy did they make it! They've taken over my garden! I had no idea they'd recover so well. It sure makes it an expedition looking for the saladette tomatoes.

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gixxerific
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Location: Wentzville, MO (Just West oF St. Louis) Zone 5B

Yes cages rule especially if you are talking Concrete Reinforcing Wire cages (CRW). All you have to do is every now and than push them back through. Or like I am about to do tomorrow put extensions on them.

I tried the Florida Weave with stakes (not properly attached on on side) they are being pulled down with the weight of the plants. Not too mention the are growing into on another. My caged plants are kicking butt and taking names with no real worry from me.

The only bad thing is what to do with them at season end. If I had a bunch of land it would be no big deal. But being in a subdivision I have to be somewhat discrete. Working the garden at seasons end mean having to move them herein lies the problem I don't have a good place to put them.

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digitS'
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I am becoming increasingly frustrated about controlling tomato growth - that time of year :wink: .

Back when I had less than 20 plants, livestock fencing cages worked okay. I wasn't very happy with the look of the cages during the off-season and when the number of plants grew, the cages had to go! So, they sprawled for many years . . .

I tried staking in a single row and that worked okay but a 4' bed seems wasted with only a single row, so I doubled the rows this year, staggering the planting. When I realized that tying them to the stakes was becoming inadequate, I did "the weave" about 4' up. But . . . that don't work so hot because there's a double row! It is still a little early in their season and the jury is out on whether I'm going to be able to reach in between the 2 rows. (As well as, whether I can continue to get down the plants on either side of the very long tomato bed.)

I once built a 1" x 4" board trellis for the tomatoes. That will only work with a heck of a lot of nails and hammering. The end of the season means dismantling all that.

The Sprawl wasn't so great for a lot of reasons and I hate to use a straw mulch out there. Voles have been a huge problem when I have piled up very much mulching material in the past - on the potatoes :roll: .

Maybe next year I will try the trellis with pvc pipe. The fittings don't have to be glued (I hope) and there are already quite a few lengths of pipe around here under the deck and in a crawlspace . . .

Steve
Make everything as simple as possible but not simpler. ~ Albert Einstein

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PunkRotten
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Last year I staked mine but did a crappy job and I was overwhelmed with their growth that I let them sprawl. They take up way too much space and they get diseases easier being on the ground. What I did this year was use (2) T-posts in the ground with the plant in between them. Them every foot or so I would weave string around the plant. It has been really successful. The plants are supported really good. I have one plant that is over 7 foot and is held quite well. I am gonna do my tomatoes like this every year.

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gixxerific
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PunkRotten wrote:Last year I staked mine but did a crappy job and I was overwhelmed with their growth that I let them sprawl. They take up way too much space and they get diseases easier being on the ground. What I did this year was use (2) T-posts in the ground with the plant in between them. Them every foot or so I would weave string around the plant. It has been really successful. The plants are supported really good. I have one plant that is over 7 foot and is held quite well. I am gonna do my tomatoes like this every year.
If you would please post some pics of how you did this. There are so many different ways. I am trying to figure out yet again a better way for next season. It would be great if you all posted your pics wheter they are working well or not. Just to give the rest of us ideas. Thanx

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gixxerific
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Here is a basic shot of mine. I did the Florida Weave which is not working as it should, my mistake and if I do this again will be to go from garden border to garden border. You can see on the right those stakes are screwed to my border and still standing strong, although on the left all of these are falling over due to the weight. This could be fixed by like I said attaching the left side to the fence to keep them straight or as some do in large fields have an anchor line keeping the main support straight. The one in forefront is still straight since nothing is tied to it.

[img]https://i272.photobucket.com/albums/jj185/gixxerific/DSC06072.jpg[/img]

In this shot you can see my cages, well you can kind of see them under the forest of tomatoes. I would like to do all cages but there are reasons I don't, what to do with them off season being the main one. They are wired to my fence and stand tall all season.

[img]https://i272.photobucket.com/albums/jj185/gixxerific/DSC06074.jpg[/img]

And just another shot for good measure. Questions or advice are more than welcome. :D

[img]https://i272.photobucket.com/albums/jj185/gixxerific/DSC06075.jpg[/img]

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rainbowgardener
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Cages are great, but be sure you get the heavy duty concrete reinforcing wire kind or something else tall and sturdy. I used regular flimsy cages from the garden store. Despite staking them, tying them and everything else I could do, they are falling over and the tomatoes have escaped and are sprawling over the front lawn. Drives my honey who does the lawn mowing crazy!
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gixxerific
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Good point RBG CRW is the way to go or something comparable in strength. The "Tomato" cages they normally sell at Lowes, garden centers etc should all be renamed "Pepper" cages or maybe a disclaimer saying they are only good for dwarfs and small determinate plants. 8)

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applestar
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Yep. And even then, the 3' cages are insufficient for some peppers. Just this morning, I was looking at my Corno Di Toro peppers I used them for, and they are 5' tall or more -- the stems and branches with all the fruits that have grown above the top of the cages are more than twice as tall as the cages and they are starting topple over. I picked two of the 7" long peppers green to relieve some of the weight....

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PunkRotten
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gixxerific wrote:
PunkRotten wrote:Last year I staked mine but did a crappy job and I was overwhelmed with their growth that I let them sprawl. They take up way too much space and they get diseases easier being on the ground. What I did this year was use (2) T-posts in the ground with the plant in between them. Them every foot or so I would weave string around the plant. It has been really successful. The plants are supported really good. I have one plant that is over 7 foot and is held quite well. I am gonna do my tomatoes like this every year.
If you would please post some pics of how you did this. There are so many different ways. I am trying to figure out yet again a better way for next season. It would be great if you all posted your pics wheter they are working well or not. Just to give the rest of us ideas. Thanx

Sure I can do that. Give me a day or so to get the pics and get them up here.

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RogueRose
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Thanks for the tips! I did stake some as it went, but not did nothing to the ones in pots. The ones I let "go wild" actually are healther than any of the others! Next year I do need some plant to contain them. I'm not a BIG gardner, just like to have some plants. Just a hobby and just feeding one person. :)

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gixxerific
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RogueRose wrote: I'm not a BIG gardner, just like to have some plants. Just a hobby and just feeding one person. :)
Yeah that is what I said 10 - 15+ years ago. LMFAO

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