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Old February 22, 2013   #91
Masbustelo
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The concrete reinforcing wire also comes in sheets for about $15 each. They are (I believe) 5' by 16'. Each one will make two, that are eight feet tall. This material is best purchased at contractors supply's that cater to the concrete trade.
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Old February 22, 2013   #92
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@Doug: Facepalm! I have been lamenting the work it will take to get good circles out of the flat sheets and totally overlooking the obvious solution: SQUARE! I love your idea of ones that will build and store easily (as will my darling husband). Thank you for the idea!!

@Masbustelo: Based on your suggestion I called around to concrete contractor supply places and found one that is both better sized and cheaper than the home depot. Woot!

They sell 6"x6" squares in 10 gauge that are 8' x 15' sheets for $14.40. So I figure with 8x15: if I did Doug's squares, I could cut in half the long way and do two 7.5 tall ones and just bend them into 2" sides square. Or for rounds could make 3 rounds with 5' circumference and 19" diameter that were 8' tall.

So here's the follow up question. I have heard from reading on here that some tomato types or varieties are more "spindly" not as bushy and dont require as big a diameter (like oxhearts). Are those varieties still going to grow 8 feet tall but skinny that I need a cage 8' x 19" diameter? or should I make the skinny cages shorter? Because they also sell 5' x 10' sheets ($6), so I could do two 5' tall cages that would be 19" diameter for $3 a piece if I dont need the height on the spindly varieties.

Last edited by emcd124; February 22, 2013 at 11:41 AM. Reason: Added new info
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Old February 22, 2013   #93
tomakers
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Originally Posted by emcd124 View Post
@Doug: Facepalm! I have been lamenting the work it will take to get good circles out of the flat sheets and totally overlooking the obvious solution: SQUARE! I love your idea of ones that will build and store easily (as will my darling husband). Thank you for the idea!!

@Masbustelo: Based on your suggestion I called around to concrete contractor supply places and found one that is both better sized and cheaper than the home depot. Woot!

They sell 6"x6" squares in 10 gauge that are 8' x 15' sheets for $14.40. So I figure with 8x15: if I did Doug's squares, I could cut in half the long way and do two 7.5 tall ones and just bend them into 2" sides square. Or for rounds could make 3 rounds with 5' circumference and 19" diameter that were 8' tall.

So here's the follow up question. I have heard from reading on here that some tomato types or varieties are more "spindly" not as bushy and dont require as big a diameter (like oxhearts). Are those varieties still going to grow 8 feet tall but skinny that I need a cage 8' x 19" diameter? or should I make the skinny cages shorter? Because they also sell 5' x 10' sheets ($6), so I could do two 5' tall cages that would be 19" diameter for $3 a piece if I dont need the height on the spindly varieties.
I have many sizes of cages(about 75) and 95% of the tomatoes would be fine in the 5' x 18.XXX" cages. In fact most are probably better supported by the smaller cages.
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Old February 22, 2013   #94
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Emcd I am of the opinion that virtually any indeterminate tomato given proper fertility, sun, water and soil prep should easily reach 8 feet in Indiana.
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Old February 24, 2013   #95
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Emcd I am of the opinion that virtually any indeterminate tomato given proper fertility, sun, water and soil prep should easily reach 8 feet in Indiana.
Those Tomato plants in the picture look like Charles Wilber's.
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Old February 24, 2013   #96
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Originally Posted by Masbustelo View Post
The concrete reinforcing wire also comes in sheets for about $15 each. They are (I believe) 5' by 16'. Each one will make two, that are eight feet tall. This material is best purchased at contractors supply's that cater to the concrete trade.
I believe that is what I made these out of, and yes it was 2 about 11-12 squares each but difficult to bend and secure alone, tried small wire ties but ththey were'nt strong enough, so tied them with small twine/cord. Not very pretty but should do the trick.
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Old February 24, 2013   #97
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I believe that is what I made these out of, and yes it was 2 about 11-12 squares each but difficult to bend and secure alone, tried small wire ties but ththey were'nt strong enough, so tied them with small twine/cord. Not very pretty but should do the trick.
We use UV resistant plastic zip ties. They work very well. My FIL used to wrap heavy wire down the entire seam with a pair of pliers taking HOURS to make each cage. I thought he was crazy! so, we changed to zip ties when I started helping.
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Old February 25, 2013   #98
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I don't know if it has been mentioned, but working with wire cutters and this material can be dangerous. You should wear eye protection and gloves. I cut the sheets in half splitting the squares. Then I bend them into circles and wrap the cut ends back around the other side, using pliers. Then sort of smush them into a round shape. But before all is secured, they can spring and hurt you. It only takes me about 5 minutes for each one. I cut them up where I buy them because it makes them much easier to transport. Spell check says that smush isn't a proper English word. Must be a regional dialect.
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Old February 25, 2013   #99
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Perhaps the word is smoosh. But I wanted to say that these cages, if you make them tall enough, work very well for climbing peas and vining squash plants. Spell check doesn't like vining either.
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Old February 25, 2013   #100
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Spell check doesn't like lots of things that are words. Smush is a perfectly legitimate word. The on line dictionaries show it from around 1910. most likely a combining of Smash and mush.
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Old March 4, 2013   #101
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Example.

http://www.durgan.org/URL/?NFLUZ Rust proofing plant supports using Tremclad.

Periodically rebar and other metal plant supports are painted to reduce rusting. The supports are placed on a plastic sheet on a sunny day and brush painted using Tremclad paint. Any shade of green is ideal. The paint dries in about an hour. The rods are basically rolled over until the paint covers completely, using a brush. These spiral plant supports were also wiped longitudinally with paint while wearing rubber gloves. On rebar and other spirals, it has been found that the paint lasts for several years. These unpainted, six foot spirals were purchased in a dollar store.

I do this procedure with rebar, concrete reinforcing wire. The paint last for a long period, I have some for around ten years. The process only takes a few minutes. I find a brush is better and more economical than spraying from the small cans.
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Old March 4, 2013   #102
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I made about 20 square cages from the 4 by 8 concrete sheets and used black ties three on each side to make a hinge. The cages flattened for storage by cutting the hinges on one side. Each side of the cage was two feet wide, and of course four feet high. They were supported by a six foot rebar along one side and tied with the black plastic ties, also the sharp pieces at the bottom gave some support. They were a good cage as cages go but too much effort for the job.

Now I use a rebar structure and overhead ropes, which are as close to the ideal as one can get for less than 50 or 75 plants. Possibly too much work if more plants are required depending upon one's work ethic.

http://www.durgan.org/URL/?ZWBJH 12 June 2012 Tomato Support System
A few more cords were added today to support fruit laden branches. The tomatoes are absolutely free growing with no obstructions.There are 32 plants.
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Old May 30, 2013   #103
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On a similar note as the concrete mesh, farm stores sell cow panels with 6 inch squares I believe. They are heavier than the mesh and come in 16 foot lengths. You can cut them and make a row cover or make a trellis out of them. I've seen some permanently mounted that way.

I can't remember if the cow panel is galvanized. I don't think the mesh is. Is it?

Great idea. Concrete mesh tomato cages. Keep us posted on how they work for you.
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Old May 31, 2013   #104
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I've use concrete mesh cages and have found later in the season when the plants are big and top heavy that at times the tent stakes would pull out if the ground became saturated. What I do now is run either baling twine or small gauge wire thru all the cages in the row, tie it to the cage in two different places, and then tie it off at the ends of the rows to a t-post. Gets the job done pretty economically compared to buying stakes for each cage and I've never had them blow over.
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Old May 31, 2013   #105
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Master_Gardener View Post
On a similar note as the concrete mesh, farm stores sell cow panels with 6 inch squares I believe. They are heavier than the mesh and come in 16 foot lengths. You can cut them and make a row cover or make a trellis out of them. I've seen some permanently mounted that way.

I can't remember if the cow panel is galvanized. I don't think the mesh is. Is it?

Great idea. Concrete mesh tomato cages. Keep us posted on how they work for you.
The cattle panel is galvanized- we have them permanently mounted as a trellis using t-posts.

The concrete mesh isn't galvanized.
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