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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.

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Old February 2, 2015   #136
JoeGrow
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shatbox View Post
Thinking of Plasti Dip...

The coated cage shown is to small and not heavy enough to properly support tomatoes that are well grown The cages I make from field fence also work very well for cucumbers. saves a lot of space and you are not stepping on vines when harvesting.
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Old February 3, 2015   #137
shatbox
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeGrow View Post
The coated cage shown is to small and not heavy enough to properly support tomatoes that are well grown
Thaks for pointing that out, photo is an illustratative example of Plasti Dip as shown in the link to the Plasti Dip blog. I agree with the thread's comments that something like conctrete mesh makes an effective tomato cage.

Last edited by shatbox; February 3, 2015 at 02:58 AM. Reason: Tone
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Old February 4, 2015   #138
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I use CRW cages and they will last for years and years un painted, but ya some rust gets on you when you reach in. I tried my best to find galvanized CRW but came up with nothing. I really dont mind the rusted look and who knows maybe some iron oxide might be beneficial to my plants lol
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Old March 8, 2015   #139
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Why not spray the roll a couple of times with Ospho before it is unrolled - maybe loosen it up a little so it kind of "fluffs out". It would be a lot easier than doing individual cages. It might not be the perfect coat but it woukld be better than nothing.

I used the cages for twenty five years before they came apart or rusted at the bottom and got shorter. I now grow in the RGGS and am in the process of revamping my support system.

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Old March 8, 2015   #140
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This thread has been one of the biggest sources of contention for me.
I have spent countless hours researching cheap ways to make good tomato cages.

This morning I have researched spot welders and sources for bulk 8 gauge steel wire.

I see the stuff I need in long boxes on job sites but I cant find it on line to save my life.
They use it to hang things but the stuff I find on line is only 12 gauge.

I would actually like to produce and sell them but one thing bothers me.

I see people at the store every year get tomato plants and little cages.
Then they cant grow the darn things any way.

I have often thought about starting up a garden camp for new comers to Texas.

Instead of being like a lot of native Texans and hating all of the new folks coming in.
Why not embrace them and learn how to make money off of them.

I honestly think I could mass produce a good quality tomato cage that is affordable made in America.

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I kill my lobster with a 30-06.
But of course I live in Texas and the dam things are huge.
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Old March 10, 2015   #141
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Worth why not go whole enchilada?

Build the cages, grow the plants, design and prep the bed, then plant out.

With an aging population in the US. I'm sure there's some folks out there that just can't muster the work involved. But would appreciate old fashioned vegetables and tomatoes and pay for the service. Might be a niche out there, however small. It's something I've thought about maybe trying in the future.

Sorry, not trying to hijack this great thread.

-Jimmy
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Old March 24, 2015   #142
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Default Did this Exactly

Discover the process on my own last fall and it works great. Except for the $120.
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Old March 27, 2015   #143
fonseca
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First post here. I made a few circular cages with concrete mesh a few years back, and they worked better than anything for sale. But I didn't care for the rust, and they took up a lot of storage space. Those are the only downsides to the concrete mesh. If you need a lot of cages, there's no better value.

Last year I made simple A-frame trellises for my tomatoes and cucurbits in stock tanks, using galvanized cattle panels. The wire is a heavy 4 gauge, and at $20 per panel they are a great option if you just need a few cages. I am making both square and triangular cages this year that can collapse flat for storage. They are 50"x16' panels, so I cut them in fourths in the parking lot to transport home. That gives me 25"x8' sections to work with.

I used zip ties to join them at the top (the "hinge"), and also where they meet vertically. This year I'm using hog rings instead.

They worked great last season, although I did have to tie vines to the trellis initially. I left some suckers on the plants, and they completely covered the bottom 2' of the trellis by mid-season. I like the simplicity and stability of an A frame, and I'm going to try a few more over smaller sub-irrigated containers this year.

Oh, and despite the photo I do not recommend even tiny-fruited cucurbits sharing trellis space with tomatoes. Never again...
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Old April 3, 2015   #144
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Very informative post.I think I will stick with the cattle panels also for easy storage.
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Old April 6, 2015   #145
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Thanks for the ideas! I just made 30 CRW cages with diameters from 17" to 20". I don't mind the rust as they match my rebar stakes that are over twenty years old! I hope this works better than the Florida Weave that I tried last year. We had a heavy rain and the weight broke all the twine and had a lot of mater rot. Ugh!
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Old April 6, 2015   #146
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Zip ties to secure the cages worked fine last year. I had one or two cages that started to pop where I used five of the little tiny 4 lb zip ties but they never really let go and I was able to just replace a few zips. Storing was not that hard with a second person to help slide them. All the cages stack in two half moons, and probably take up 4x5 ft in the shed? Assembly/disassembly/moving is not too bad with two people.
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Old August 25, 2015   #147
jillian
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Default crw tomato cages

My daughter and I made 30 cages out of a roll of 5' X 150 crw. We used zip ties. Very simple to make these cages, and great mother/daughter time! We love these cages, those flimsy things that are "called" tomato cages at garden center are ridiculous as far as tomatoes are concerned.
This project took a little time, but very well worth it!
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Old August 25, 2015   #148
JRinPA
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Great to hear Jillian. How did you secure them to the ground? Next year I may try raising some on posts for a little more height in the back of the garden.

This year we made some more for my brother's place and they have worked great, except for the fact that about halfway through the roll we ran into a stretch where the wire was not welded at all. I also used four 7ft sections from that roll as part of a butternut squash trellis. Check it out! 23 full size butternuts in a 10'x5' space. I love this 6" grid CRW!

June 14th


July 6th


Aug 24th
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Old August 25, 2015   #149
jillian
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Thanks JRinPA! To secure cages we just snipped off the bottom wire which leaves the prongs that push easily into the soil. So far so good! I have used these cages for cucumbers and peas to climb on as well. Love them
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Old August 30, 2015   #150
fonseca
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Here's a photo of my brother-in-law's concrete mesh cage, if you can make it out. There's a second one partially in frame on the left. His cages are 24-28" in diameter, and there is 2-3' space between each one. Tight squeeze in July (pictured).

He's been using them for over a decade, lots of surface rust but but still completely sound. He stakes them in place with metal fence posts. I believe he had 7-8 cages in use this year.

His only complaint is that they aren't tall enough. They are approximately 5' tall. The tomato plants grow over and hang down, and the exposed fruit hanging outside the cage gets sunscald.

That's a Pink Brandywine I started from seed, and you can't really tell but it is LOADED with huge tomatoes. I counted at least 16. And to make matters worse, he hasn't watered or fertilized once all Summer, and has much fewer blight problems than my plants. Talk about irritating! I am lucky to get 4 good tomatoes per Brandywine plant.
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File Type: jpg 2015-08-02 15.51.40.jpg (40.4 KB, 107 views)

Last edited by fonseca; August 30, 2015 at 12:46 AM.
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