Tomatoville® Gardening Forums


Notices

Have a great invention to help with gardening? Are you the self-reliant type that prefers Building It Yourself vs. buying it? Share and discuss your ideas and projects with other members.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old January 10, 2014   #1
dsafety
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: California
Posts: 5
Default Tomato Triangle

Hi All,

I have been lurking on this site for a while but now have something to post that some might find interesting.

As anyone who grows tomatoes knows, most commercially available support products are nearly useless. A few years ago, I started playing around with a new kind of design.

My concept was to figure out a way to build a triangular support structure that was strong enough to support even the most robustly growing plants. This thing had to be made of durable materials that would not rust or rot. It had to easy to assemble and disassemble into compact components that are easy to store. Finally, it had to be scalable in size, making it adaptable to any size plants and able to grow in size as the plants grew.

I am happy to say that I think I have come up with a design that meets all of those requirements. You be the judge, You can learn all about the Tomato Triangle by visiting he web site www.tomatotriangle.com

My plan is to bring this product to market in the very near future. To do that, I have turned to Kickstarter, an Internet crowd funding site as a means to obtain the money needed to purchase the expensive molding tooling required to make the Tomato Triangle a reality.

Our Kickstarter campaign went live a few days ago. With a bit of luck, we will obtain the backing needed to fund this project. You can view our Kickstarter project here. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/...omato-triangle

I apologize for the shameless self promotion. The sad truth is that if our funding campaign does not reach its goal, the Tomato Triangle will not be produced so I am doing whatever I can to get the word out.

Bob
dsafety is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 15, 2014   #2
ExpendableZero
Tomatovillian™
 
ExpendableZero's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Alabama Zone: 7b
Posts: 49
Default

Why not use a 4 way tee to build square cages instead? I've seen them as low as 50 cents each.
ExpendableZero is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 15, 2014   #3
ArcherB
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Austin TX
Posts: 200
Default

Of all the cool ideas I've seen using PVC pipe for tomato cages, buying wire cages has always been cheaper. They may not be as pretty, convenient or as sturdy, but they are always much cheaper.

This looks pretty cool if you want to spend the money, but for me, it's all about money.
ArcherB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 15, 2014   #4
Worth1
Tomatovillian™
 
Worth1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Bastrop Texas Lost Pines Forest.
Posts: 34,954
Default

$30.17 for a 5 foot tall tomato cage in a triangular shape is outrageous.


Worth
__________________
Home of Cactus Flats Botanical Gardens.
Neanderthal and proud of it.
Worth1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 15, 2014   #5
Patihum
Tomatovillian™
 
Patihum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Southeast Kansas
Posts: 800
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArcherB View Post
Of all the cool ideas I've seen using PVC pipe for tomato cages, buying wire cages has always been cheaper. They may not be as pretty, convenient or as sturdy, but they are always much cheaper.

This looks pretty cool if you want to spend the money, but for me, it's all about money.
I have to agree with Archer on this. If someone is growing only one or two plants your idea might be saleable to that particular customer. Last year I had 50 plants in cages. With the finished product costing around $30 that would be $1500 to use your system. I can buy a lot of rolls of wire for that amount of money.
Patihum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 15, 2014   #6
dsafety
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: California
Posts: 5
Default

This product is not about doing it cheaper. It is all about doing it better. For me, the cheap wire cages are nearly useless because many of my plants get very large. The cages made from wire rolls work great but the rust and become a storage problem during the off season.

Before coming up with this idea, I tried making the square version using all off-the-shelf parts. That version actually cost more to build because it took many more parts. Also, the triangular shape is more stable than the square.

If you grow a lot of plants, there are ways to use two Tomato Triangle cages so that they will support up to six plants. You can see examples on the web site.

Yes, this solution costs more than the cheap cages but it is a very flexible system that works very well and will last for years.
dsafety is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 15, 2014   #7
Worth1
Tomatovillian™
 
Worth1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Bastrop Texas Lost Pines Forest.
Posts: 34,954
Default

You might add that to cut PVC accurately you will need a PVC cutting tool or a table saw or some sort of miter saw.

The last too are over the top unless you have one handy.
PVC Cutting Tool, this thing is a snap to use I have had one for years.



Hack saws will work your tail off and they leave fuzz in the pipe you have to get rid of.
They are hard to master and you need a good one.
You want your cuts to be as square and as accurate as possible.
18 inches should not be 18-1/8.
So you will need a good tape measure.
I have several and the two I like the best are the Stanley 12' metal cased ones like this.

Then from my experience I like to mark PVC with a fine point sharpie.





Once you have cut off a length of pipe to the right length write P on it.
Use this piece to mark the rest that length.
No reason to keep measuring pipe over and over again when you dont have to.
DO NOT use the last piece you cut to mark the next piece.
Use the first one always.
If you dont the pipe will get longer and longer.
My mother learned this the hard way with a patchwork quilt.

Find a place to work at waist level or higher.
I like to put my pickup tail gate down and sit in a chair to do monotonous work.
Trying to do all of this cutting and assembly on the ground will kill your back.


Next if you have ever tried to take PVC out of a fitting after it has been put together all of the way it can be real hard sometimes.

I would suggest you get emery cloth and sand down all male ends a wee bit.

Here is what it looks like.


We do want our tomato cage to look good and not be a pain to build.
Making things should be fun.

Good day.


Worth
__________________
Home of Cactus Flats Botanical Gardens.
Neanderthal and proud of it.
Worth1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 15, 2014   #8
ArcherB
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Austin TX
Posts: 200
Default If it's not the money...

If money is no object, then this looks like a great idea, especially if you are only going to be growing a few plants. They certainly look nicer than wire cages, and if you are really creative, you could probably find a way to make this into a watering system as well. My wife would be very happy with the way these things look and it would certainly buy me a year or two without having to hear about how bad the garden looks. Then, when she found out how much it cost, she'd divorce me and win the cages in the divorce.

However, if money is no object, I'd spend the extra $18 each and pick up some Texas Tomato cages. I was able to get six of them a few years ago and WOW! Those things rock!

http://tomatocage.com/

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to get to starting my seeds. It's that time of year for us southern folk and I'm running late.

Last edited by ArcherB; January 15, 2014 at 07:48 PM.
ArcherB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 15, 2014   #9
Doug9345
Tomatovillian™
 
Doug9345's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Durhamville,NY
Posts: 2,708
Default

[QUOTE=dsafety;387118]This product is not about doing it cheaper. It is all about doing it better. For me, the cheap wire cages are nearly useless because many of my plants get very large. The cages made from wire rolls work great but the rust and become a storage problem during the off season. [quote]The only reason your cages are easier to store is that they come apart because you aren't gluing them. I would be very trepidacious that they wouldn't disassemble on their own with a big plant and a wind. A couple of years of assembly and disassembly will make it worse.

Quote:
Before coming up with this idea, I tried making the square version using all off-the-shelf parts. That version actually cost more to build because it took many more parts. Also, the triangular shape is more stable than the square.
As long as it is acceptable to have two of the cross pieces one inch higher than the other two, it takes one more length of 1/2" pvc 18" long which will cost 27 cents, one more 3/4" x1/2" tee which will cost 46 cents, and four 1" nipples cut from 3/4" pipe at a cost of 8 cents for all four, but it requires three less of your fittings at a cost a MINUS $4.99. per layer. Total savings per layer is $4.18 or $16.64 per cage.

In summary too much cost for too little gain. It's only meaningful if one MUST have a triangular pvc cage that they built themselves and are willing to spend $30 on it. If I'm going to spend $30 on a tomato cage and build it myself there has to be a dozen materials and fifty ways to do it. I would have at least made it a four way tee so a person didn't need the 90° tees. It would look nicer at least
Doug9345 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 15, 2014   #10
Doug9345
Tomatovillian™
 
Doug9345's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Durhamville,NY
Posts: 2,708
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Worth1 View Post
You might add that to cut PVC accurately you will need a PVC cutting tool or a table saw or some sort of miter saw.

The last too are over the top unless you have one handy.
PVC Cutting Tool, this thing is a snap to use I have had one for years.




Worth
I'm good with a hacksaw and own mitre boxes.
I first used on this summer and I tell you that I will never do a plastic pipe job without getting one.
Doug9345 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 15, 2014   #11
dsafety
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: California
Posts: 5
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArcherB View Post
If money is no object, then this looks like a great idea, especially if you are only going to be growing a few plants. They certainly look nicer than wire cages, and if you are really creative, you could probably find a way to make this into a watering system as well. My wife would be very happy with the way these things look and it would certainly buy me a year or two without having to hear about how bad the garden looks. Then, when she found out how much it cost, she'd divorce me and win the cages in the divorce.

However, if money is no object, I'd spend the extra $18 each and pick up some Texas Tomato cages. I was able to get six of them a few years ago and WOW! Those things rock!

http://tomatocage.com/

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to get to starting my seeds. It's that time of year for us southern folk and I'm running late.
The Texas Tomato Cages are the best metal cages commercially available, IMO. As good as they are, they do not offer the scalability option that the Tomato Triangle does, however. If your plants never get more than five feet tall and you can find them at that price, buying that product would make good sense.

Here in California, we have a long growing season and plants can get very large. We did not have a frost this year so some of last summer's plants are still going strong. One has popped out of the top of a 7' cage so if I decide to let this one keep going, I will either have to prune or add another layer.
dsafety is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 15, 2014   #12
dsafety
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: California
Posts: 5
Default

[QUOTE=Doug9345;387199][QUOTE=dsafety;387118]This product is not about doing it cheaper. It is all about doing it better. For me, the cheap wire cages are nearly useless because many of my plants get very large. The cages made from wire rolls work great but the rust and become a storage problem during the off season.
Quote:
The only reason your cages are easier to store is that they come apart because you aren't gluing them. I would be very trepidacious that they wouldn't disassemble on their own with a big plant and a wind. A couple of years of assembly and disassembly will make it worse.



As long as it is acceptable to have two of the cross pieces one inch higher than the other two, it takes one more length of 1/2" pvc 18" long which will cost 27 cents, one more 3/4" x1/2" tee which will cost 46 cents, and four 1" nipples cut from 3/4" pipe at a cost of 8 cents for all four, but it requires three less of your fittings at a cost a MINUS $4.99. per layer. Total savings per layer is $4.18 or $16.64 per cage.

In summary too much cost for too little gain. It's only meaningful if one MUST have a triangular pvc cage that they built themselves and are willing to spend $30 on it. If I'm going to spend $30 on a tomato cage and build it myself there has to be a dozen materials and fifty ways to do it. I would have at least made it a four way tee so a person didn't need the 90° tees. It would look nicer at least
To build a 5' square PVC cage, you will need 32, T connectors, 20 post sections and 16 horizontal pipe sections. With our system, you need 12, T connectors, 15 post sections and 12 horizontal pipes, plus 12 or our Tomato Triangle connectors.

The 1/2" T connectors are inexpensive but they will limit you to using 1/2" pipe for the posts. In my experience, the 1/2" pipe is too flexible and not suitable for supporting the load handled by the posts. You can get Ts that have two 3/4" openings and one that fits 1/2" pipe but they cost almost as much as our connectors.

You could also go with all 3/4" material, (pipes and connectors). That cage would be as strong as our system but a little bulky.

Our goal with this design was to create the very best tomato support system out there. You will have to be the judge as to whether we hit the mark or not. The bottom line is that if our Kickstarter campaign is unsuccessful, we will not be able to bring the Tomato Triangle to market. If that happens, the only PVC option out there will be the DIY square version. I am hopeful that that we will be able to offer gardeners another choice.
dsafety is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 15, 2014   #13
Worth1
Tomatovillian™
 
Worth1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Bastrop Texas Lost Pines Forest.
Posts: 34,954
Default

[QUOTE=dsafety;387220][QUOTE=Doug9345;387199]
Quote:
Originally Posted by dsafety View Post
If that happens, the only PVC option out there will be the DIY square version. I am hopeful that that we will be able to offer gardeners another choice.
That simply isn't true.
I can make just about any shape cage you want almost without fittings.

But before we get into that I have 36 2 foot wide 6 feet tall Texas tomato cages.
What I do is let the plant grow up and then back down the cage.
It is nothing for me to have plants that are over 10 feet long.
I also stack the cages
But I am not going to talk about their cage on your thread.
Let me get back to the PVC cages.

If a person were inclined to do so they can bend PVC I do it all of the time.

So what you would need is---.
A heat gun.
A hole saw.
A pattern or bending mandril.
A contractor pack of 3/4 PVC couplings.
3/4 inch PVC pipe.
1-1/2 inch PVC pipe.
1 sheet of 3/4 inch plywood to make the mandril mentioned above.

With this you can crank out round tomato cages all day long.



Worth
__________________
Home of Cactus Flats Botanical Gardens.
Neanderthal and proud of it.
Worth1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 16, 2014   #14
kurt
Tomatovillian™
 
kurt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Homestead, FL
Posts: 2,363
Default

http://www.uni-bell.org/view_post2.p...Technical+Blog) I love the idea and simplicity(maybe)for the home gardner with a couple of plants.For some that lets say grow 200 plus per year it might be a expensive start up cost.The downeside I see is the yellowing of the pvc (I live in Florida)and see it all the time(it does get a ugly pi?? yellow).No mention of some end caps to prevent rain/moisture/fungas and algea buildup in the pipe.the ugly manufacturers stamps and print would have to be removed off of the store bought pipe (as my wife pointed out to me)I myself used a electricians heatbox to bend some pvc one year and made some cages but the wife did not like the white printed industrial look in her garden(I had to spray paint it green)Plants had to be tied in place for wind born movement and damage.Did incorporate some drip lines in to the system but then the algae started showing up.Novel idea but this is some feedback for the inventor that I can see.Good Luck!
__________________
KURT
kurt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 2, 2014   #15
oldasrocks
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Lebanon, Mo
Posts: 59
Default

I've been using the same cattle panels for over 20 years and they still look good. One 16 ft panel with 3 T posts, 3 spacers holding the panels apart 12 inches hooked to a 2nd panel. After frost and drying of the vine torch out with a weedburner. The spacers are pieces of another panel two squares wide. The current cost of panels is about $24 each so $48. for 10 tomato plants.
oldasrocks is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 03:58 PM.


★ Tomatoville® is a registered trademark of Commerce Holdings, LLC ★ All Content ©2017 Commerce Holdings, LLC ★