vote now!!!!!!! (tomato cages or stakes better?) : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Okay it's time to cast your vote!!! Which do you think is best??? Tomato cages or tomato stakes? Vote now and make my tomatoes bigger and better.

-- rosemary (rosemary.lester@, February 15, 2002


Response to vote now!!!!!!!

Dear Rosemary:

I've always used stakes and had great success with them. To tie tomato vines to the stakes you can use twine, rags, or even old run knee highs.

-- Sheila Lutz (, February 15, 2002.

Response to vote now!!!!!!!

Tomatoe fences. 60 foot long field fence, with T-posts, and tomatoes 5 foot high on both sides! My fence gets so heavy I have to use long 2x4's to brace it up on the east side against the winds. If I use cages for them here and there, it's cages made out of field fence.

-- Cindy in KY (, February 15, 2002.

Response to vote now!!!!!!!

Homemade twine cages, made by placing stakes between plants and then running twine between the stakes to form a twine cage that is highly adaptable to the tomatoes’ growth, and compost able at the end of the season, along with the rest of the tomato plant, which leaves nothing to store but the stakes and a bale of twine.

-- BC (, February 15, 2002.

Response to vote now!!!!!!!

My vote is for the stakes. I think you are in better control because you can see what is happening better and easier to pick. You can tie them however you want and if they get really big, add another stake.

-- Karen (, February 15, 2002.

Response to vote now!!!!!!!

For a time challenged person, cages are best. Don't require fussing and tying and etc etc etc.

No time for etc around here!

-- Rose who is too busy for stakes (, February 15, 2002.

Response to vote now!!!!!!!

I use cages from old concrete mesh then stake those up to keep them secure. So I guess I vote for both.

-- tom (, February 15, 2002.

Cages made of large concrete reinforcing. When cutting, leave prongs on one end to stick into the ground. No staking, tying or reinforcing necessary! And the squares are large enough for even my hubby's hands for picking time.

-- Lisa in WI (, February 15, 2002.

Cages only if you have the determinate growing tomatoes that (are supposed to) only reach a certain size. Otherwise, t-posts with wire between that you can tie the plants up on. The t-posts with wire and tying up the plants is always more work, but seems no matter what our plants get too large for the cages and pull them over. The cages do work well in a few container plants we grow on the patio. There we can always put the containers close together and tie the cages to each other for support.

-- rose marie wild (, February 15, 2002.

That's easy!!! I use both, one of each for each plant.

-- Annie Miller in SE OH (, February 15, 2002.

Neither. Hog panels on t-posts. They are never going to collapse, rust through or rot. They can be moved and stored at the end of the season, and if you decide to get a pig, you can build a pen with them. Above all else, they can take the weight of the biggest vines. They are expensive at the outset, but you have them forever.

-- melina b. (, February 15, 2002.

I used to use cattle panels or hog panels. They were very handy until I got a little crazy with the size of my garden. Now I use concrete reinforcing mesh like the others up above and like the others....I put a little stake down by it so that it will stay put in the Oklahoma wind! That way I can move the tomatoes around in the garden. If I hadn't gotten all 200 plus of my cages for free, I would have used the cattle panels. They are very sturdy and if you put them about a foot or so above the ground you can till right under them after the garden is finished. You do have to train the vines up the panels with old panty hose or other type of ties. I love old double knit for ties. It is sturdy and doesn't rot in the sun.

-- Nan (, February 15, 2002.

cindy and melina have the best answers. i have done both. what i like about cindy's answer is how easy the end of the year is. after all the picking is done. i just pull the plants out of the ground. untie from t-posts. roll it up tight tomatoes and all. let dry real well. then add some fall leaves and burn everything off. tomatoes and cloth ties burn away. and then i make a big circle of the fence and add leaves and grass clippings to compost all fall and winter. when i need to turn the pile, i just untie the circle and move it next to the pile and fork it in. i have tried them all and this is the best method. it is best to put up the fence before you plant the tomatoes.

-- randy in central missouri (, February 15, 2002.

I use fences that run the length of the 15 ft. beds. When my wooden posts started rotting, causing the fence to fall over, I invested in rebar poles which are tall enough to tie strings on the top if the tomatoes get higher than the fence. At the end of the season I just roll the fences up for storage or use them to corral the mountain of leaves I rake up to use for mulch the next year.

-- Katherine in KY (, February 15, 2002.

Why do you need to mess with tying plants up? Why not just put a good straw mulch down and allow the plants to sprawl? Always works fine for me. Guess some people like to spend time tying plants up...

-- daffodyllady (, February 15, 2002.

Neither. "Japanese" tomato rings. Four plants with a yield of approximately 500 pounds.

-- Jay Blair in N. AL (, February 15, 2002.

Voting Here.... Cages, quick, easy, and I reuse them . Used same ones for about 8 years now. No time for tying with 2 kids and a terminal patient. Just my tcw

-- Kristean Thompson in Indiana (, February 15, 2002.

Cages made, as others suggest, from 6" X 6" concrete reinforcing wire. Inexpensive, especially if amortized over the lifespan. I have many over 20 years old that are still just fine. Whatever you do, stay away from the flimsy inadequate commercial "cages". They are junk. GL!

-- Brad (, February 15, 2002.

What's your goals in tomato growing? Earliness? then stakes win.

overall poundage harvested? then cages win, hands down, they also have lower incidence of catface/cracking as well.

tho i'll be making 3 big cages this year 33'long x 18"wide wire fence style cages.

-- bj pepper in C. MS. (, February 15, 2002.

I do a tomato "wall" 50ft. of fence

-- Rog (, February 15, 2002.

Stakes & tie the plants with old nylon stockings - they stretch with the plant - We get tall, tall plants this way & the tomatoes are easy to see & reach. This is making my mouth water for a tomato sandwich! ;)

-- hmm (, February 15, 2002.

I use as many tomato cages as I have (each year I seem to need more). For the Roma plants,(they get bigger)I use a cage and keep it in place with some rebar stakes leftover from a replacement garage project after the "Tornado of '98". I think there is les chance of animals eating the fruit when it is off the ground :-)

-- Cheri Asprion (, February 15, 2002.

I'll go you one better. I use cattle panels bent into an arch over my path in the garden. plant tomatoes or any other vine type plant on the outside. Cukes and beans hang down inside and are easy to pick. Put two t posts on one side. attach the panel to the INSIDE of these posts then put two more on the other side about 3 ft away. then bend the panel to the inside of these two posts. It makes a beautiful green canopy when the vines grow up and they are very strong. My neighbors think they are awsome!

-- Corky Wolf (, February 15, 2002.

Plant the tomatoes this year where you had sweet corn or sunflowers last year...oh ya, leave the corn or sunflower stalks standing and grow your tomatoes on the dead stalks. Not beautiful but low labor, essentially free and effective.


-- Oscar H. Will III (, February 16, 2002.

This is a good post. I've used both methods with great success. If I had any problems with either it was usually from my ignorance or laziness. I would like to try the one method using cattle panel made in a U shape. I have seen this done, not with tomatos but with cucumbers and it really added beauty to the garden.

-- r.h. in okla. (, February 16, 2002.

We are about 20 years too late in getting an excellent support for those tomatoes that like to climb. That was about the time when TV began to go cable and all of those rooftop antennas became obsolete. On many roofs, the antenna was supported by a 10 foot tall tripod or quadrapod. I managed to get two of them from neighbors for the purpose of supporting climbing beans. I went a step further and placed 2x4 wire screen in the openings for supporting the beans. One year, I decided to place a tomato plant in the center. It was a German variety that is best when staked or trellised. The race was on as to which was going to reach the 10 foot top first, beans or tomato. The tomato won! I now plant a trio of Juliets at the base of one and German Hellfrucht at the other. With the wire screen, I need only keep weaving the vines in and out of the wire and the plants just keep going up. Painted one green and the other blue so that they would not look so "tacky" in the city. Yes, a bit fancy but add a wren house on the top for real class!

For determinate varieties such as Roma, I find that 4 foot cages are the best. Wal*Mart had them 4 or 5 years ago. 3-sided and could be folded flat. 18" per side. I attach 2 of them together to make a rectangle 18x36. Then plant a pair of Romas. Works perfect although I do also use a standard round cage for initial support needed when the plant it first starting to spread out.

Think spring!


-- Martin Longseth (, February 17, 2002.

Thanks to everyone for your vote. I really appreciate all your help! Looking forward to gardening this year to try your many suggestions. Rosemary

-- rosemary (rosemary.lester@, February 17, 2002.

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