Step-by-Step Plan for The Best DIY Tomato Cage We've Ever Built

Are you tired of cheap tomato trellises that don’t hold up to the weight of beefsteak tomatoes? These sturdy tomato cages will support your heavy tomato plants for years to come.

Hoop house full of DIY tomato cages

For many years, Daryl built different versions of tomato cages, trying to come up with the perfect one. Every year, we discarded the used cage, and he dreamed up another plan.


After years of frustration and everything from wooden jungle gyms to string systems, he finally created the dream tomato cage, and we’ve been using it ever since.

What Makes This the Best Tomato Cage?

What I like about this cage system is that it folds up flat for storage and hangs from racks when we don’t need it. It's strong and durable, and we can use it year after year. He also built them at different heights so we could trellis tall tomatoes or shorter peppers. Genius!


Providing sturdy support is key to growing healthy, tall, and vining plants like tomatoes, cucumbers, pole beans, peas, and more. It helps prevent damage, disease, and pests—and it is easier to harvest!


We’re finally sharing our blueprint so you can build the best tomato cage.

hanging tomato cages on shed wall

Sow Right Seeds' Best DIY Tomato Cage

Overview of the DIY Tomato Cage:

These tomato cages are sturdy, hold themselves up under the weight of large tomatoes, and can be used for years. 


It only takes 3 simple things to build these long-lasting tomato cages. The legs are made of metal tubes. Heavy gauge wire passes through the metal legs to keep them together and create a cage, and wire crimps hold the wire in a circle.

wire and pipes for tomato cages

List of Supplies for DIY Tomato Cage:



Tools

  • Fencing pliers

  • Drill and bit for making holes in metal tubing

  • Clamps or a helper to hold the pipes while drilling

Steps:

Measure and mark. Measure 21 inches from the bottom for the first hole. Then, measure and mark every 12 inches going up the pipe. This will be the distance for each wire.

Cutting metal pipe with saw

Cut the pipes to 7 feet. You can leave the pipes at 10 feet or cut them down if you want shorter tomato cages. Ten feet is a little taller than most gardeners want to manage. You can use the extra 3 feet to make smaller cages for peppers and other shorter plants.

Drilling holes in metal pipe

Drill holes in the pipe. You will need something to hold the pipe steady. Make sure that all of your holes are on the same side of the pipe. Otherwise you won't be able to line up your circles when putting it together.

hammer on metal pipe

Flatten the pipe ends. Use a heavy mallet to smash the ends flat. The flattened ends are easier to push into the soil and also prevent the pole from filling up with dirt over the years.

bolt cutters cutting wire

Cut the wire into 50” pieces. These will make 16” circles. A helpful tip is to use C-clamps to hold the wire steady while measuring and cutting.

threading wire through holes on metal pipes

Thread the wire. Line up the pipes and thread the wire through the holes to make a circle. 

sliding wire through crimps

Slide 2 crimp sleeves onto each wire. Space the crimps several inches apart and thread both ends through.

crimping wire
  1. Crimp each circle with the wire crimps. Press hard to ensure a tight connection.

hand holding wire with crimps holding circle

Using the DIY Tomato Cage:

Once you've built these tomato cages, you're ready to put them to use. 


As soon as you transplant your tomatoes, you can put your cages up.


Place the 3 poles into the ground around the tomato plant. 


You will need to push them in the ground at least 9 inches to keep them steady and prevent them from falling over.


As the plants grow, adjust the branches to grow up inside the cage for the best support. 


Prune as needed to allow for good airflow. Some gardeners choose to cut the tops of indeterminate tomatoes to keep them manageable.


At the end of the season, you can pull out the tomato cages and hang them for easy storage.

tall tomato cage folded up

There are many DIY tomato trellis ideas, and we've tried a lot. But no matter what kind of trellis you use, you'll appreciate one that is strong enough for the job.


You need something sturdy for heirloom tomato plants like Mortgage Lifter and Beefsteak. These tomato cages are simple to build and strong enough to last for years.


There are also beneficial reasons to trellis your other plants, such as green beans, peas, and vining flowers.


The important lesson to be learned here is to keep trying until you find something that works for you! Get creative and experiment with the materials you have on hand. Be sure to get your supports in early before your plants grow too big. A sturdy trellis or tomato cage will result in an easier and more successful gardening experience!


Happy gardening,


Patty


1 comment


  • Joseph Laudie
    I built these same cage years ago thanks to your instructions, and these are the best cages I’ve ever had. They just keep going year after year.

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