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Old April 3, 2009   #1
Thawley
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Default Making Tomato Cages from Concrete Mesh


Home Depot sells 5x150' rolls of 6" concrete mesh for $120. Using 13 squares (6.5') per cage, one roll of mesh will make 23 cages. The full roll is heavy – 150lbs – so use a dolly or a friend to help you move it.


The ends are bent inward to keep the roll closed.


A-clamps or a helper will keep the roll from springing open when the ends are straightened out.




Get some good pliers to unbend and open the roll. The bigger and better the pliers, the less pain and soreness will be required.


Wood, bricks or container plants can be used to manage the roll and keep it from getting away from you. (It wants to unwind more than you may want it to...)


Count out the number of 6" squares for the size cage you want – I used 13 squares – and cut each horizontal wire tightly against the 5' vertical wire. That'll make all the ends the same length and give you a clean vertical wire at the beginning of the next 6.5' length.


You can use the pliers to bend the ends – but I had a nut driver with a hole drilled about an inch or so up into the shaft. The fixed depth of the hollow gave me consistent length bends without having to measure.


Nut driver handle gave good leverage and straight, tidy bends.




Bent ends form hooks that grab the vertical wire at the other end once rolled.




Overlapping the ends by one 6" square keeps the cage round and gives you something to hold onto when hooking all the ends in place.




The cage should hold itself together without additional fasteners or welding. I used wire-ties to prevent any surprise movement or dismemberment that might occur once the cage is weighted down with tomatoes.
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Old April 3, 2009   #2
sprtsguy76
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I bought a roll of the 5' last year. At 13 squares a cage it seemed like they made a 100 cages! I say better to buy in bulk. Good choice.

Damon
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Old April 3, 2009   #3
desertlzbn
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How big in circumference is that? I have 4ft high field fencing that was left over from an old fence maybe 30 ft long, and I was going to roll it all the way out cut 6 ft lengths and then make cages that way, but I don't know if it will be too small in circumference.
Thanks
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Old April 3, 2009   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thawley View Post


I like your Supervisor, Thawley!!
Dog.

~* Robin
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Old April 3, 2009   #5
dice
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Circumference (length around the circle) = 3.1416 * diameter
(length across the circle)

If his circumference is 6' (13 squares at 1/2 foot per square,
minus 1/2 foot for the overlap, gives 6'), then his cages are
6'/3.1416 = a little less than 2' across.

If he cut them the same and then rolled them up the other
way (so that they would be taller), they would only be 4-1/2'
in circumference, and they would only be about 17" across
the circle (which probably seems a little tight and could
lead to broken branches with fruit hanging outside the cage).
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Old April 3, 2009   #6
Thawley
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polar_Lace View Post
I like your Supervisor, Thawley!!
That's Trudy. Not much of a tomato grower. She enjoys barking at other dogs, cultivating soil and rolling in freshly applied manure.
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Old April 3, 2009   #7
Worth1
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What do you use to keep the cages from falling over?
Every spring here we get high winds, yesterday it was blowing around 45mph.

Worth
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Old April 3, 2009   #8
Thawley
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Worth –

I use screws and anchors for the cages next to the house in the driveway bed. Secure them near the top and they stay very well put.

Going out today to get some 1/2" rebar to cut into 3' lengths for the free standing cages. I've got a few 3' fence-posts from another project that work very well. But they cost more than I feel is necessary.

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Old April 3, 2009   #9
Barbee
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Looks great! I am shocked you can buy the CRW that has no rust. Here, the rolls are nasty and you get covered in rust just loading them into your vehicle.
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Old April 3, 2009   #10
creister
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I went and bought some tent stakes at Academy. Buy the 12 in. ones, 15 is too long. I have both. They work real well and are reusable. I also just connect cages with the wire zip ties, don't do any bending. Works very well.
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Old April 3, 2009   #11
kwselke
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Is Trudy a Chocolate Lab or a Chesapeake? Great looking dog.
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Old April 3, 2009   #12
Thawley
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Trudy's a chocolate lab/Australian shepherd hybrid.
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Old April 3, 2009   #13
PaulF
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I use 89 cent electric fence posts purchased at the local farm supply store. They are re-bar with a triangular piece at the bottom like a regular fence post. I twine them through the 6" mesh and anchor into the soil. Mostly mine take two per cage, but I have used three which will stand up to a tornado.
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Old April 3, 2009   #14
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Being lazy, I just bought 7' remesh panels from Home Depot and used zip ties and fencing twists to hold the edges together into a tube. No cutting involved. Not sure what I'm going to do about staking, trying several approaches.
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Old April 3, 2009   #15
Thawley
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Love to see photos of that. 7' seems like the ideal height.
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