tomato supports?

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After an embarassing number of years, we've come to the conclusion that home-improvement store type tomato cages don't work, at least for us and indeterminate tomatoes.
Is there some recognized 'good' support? Cost is an issue; construction (including welding) isn't.
TIA, George
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Rebar?
John!
www.georgiapinball.org
ge wrote:

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I've heard rebar before; but, I don't have the picture. Is it like, a 'rebar fence', or a horizontal surface, or ...?
The only rebar I'm familiar with is 4' rods; does it come in some kind of mesh?
Thanks, George
On Mon, 21 Mar 2005 14:02:58 -0500, GA Pinhead

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That is odd, the reply never showed up for me... it sent before I was done. Oh well.
If you are staking rather than caging, 8-10 foot piece of rebar, for a stake.
Otherwise the reinforcing wire they use for concrete. Get at least 6 foot tall though. Our tomatoes can go up, down and up again in one year. As someone else suggested make a couple of prongs on the bottom and put at least 4 bricks acrosss the bottom wire. Nothing like a six foot cage of tomato geeting blown over and ripped out by the roots. (experience)
Good Luck!
John!
ge wrote:

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il Mon, 21 Mar 2005 16:48:15 -0500, GA Pinhead ha scritto:

I suppose wire stays are out of the question? Then beans could grow up those too.
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Cheers,
Loki [ Brevity is the soul of wit. W.Shakespeare ]
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Loki wrote:

I'd trip and impale myself or at least put my eye out! The pink eye purple hulls always find them and take full advantage. And gives they some shade in the late summer after the late blight and the blister beetles come through.
John!
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I have not tried it, but I saw a suggestion in this group some time ago which used short lengths of rebar.
The idea was to drive them into the ground vertically, leaving about a foot or so exposed and then slide a 6' to 8' length of plastic electrical conduit onto the rebar. The conduit is UV resistant so it will last a long time and will stay there under its own weight.
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over. This year I'm going to use those cheap metal fence posts and 6" x 6" wire mesh, the kind you submerge in wet concrete. It comes in sheets or rolls, and I'll cut it in half length-wise to make a five foot tall fence. Then weave the plants through it. The mesh is big enough to where you can reach through it to pick tomatoes. Ken
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I use wire mesh. Here's one way to do it...
http://houseandhome.msn.com/Garden/TomatoTipsBuildtheBestSupports0.aspx
I think I got my directions from Kitchen Gardner a magazine that is unfortunately no longer in print. Their directions also had you cut the bottom horizontal wires so that you had "spokes" to push into the ground to keep the cage from tipping over.
marcella
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Learned the hard way myself last year. At the end of the season, when the tomatos were 7 feet tall, I wound up having to drive rebar 2' deep and tie to the darn cages to keep them only slightly listing instead of falling over. This year I'm going to use physics to my advantage.
The typical tomato cages are narrow at the bottom, wide at the top. This is a good way to create a high center of gravity. This year, I'm going to get a bunch of 8' cedar fence boards and rip out a pile of 8' long 1 1/4" stakes on my table saw. I'm going to use these and my air stapler to build teepees where the wide part is on the bottom and the narrow part is on the top. I'll stake them in the ground a bit, but with that design, I figure the more weight on them, the more stable they will be.
Or, you can tell me I'm crazy. This is only my second year with the veggie garden.
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I use a combination of cages and tee-pees. Cages are cheap -- less than $2 each -- and 7' oak or maple samplings cut from the woods for the tee-pees.
Cages provide early support, then when the vines began to outgrow them, I lash the poles together with twine over each cage.
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ge wrote:

I would think that layers of chain link fence (spaced about a foot apart) would do the job satisfactorily. However, you wouldn't want the fence layers to be too large as they'll probably block out sunlight. They may rust too, so keep that in mind.
Last summer I built a tee-pee out of 1x2s and used it to support a cage with two rather heavy tomato plants in it. Once I got it set up, I never had a problem with the plants falling over again.
Puckdropper
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OK, I'll try to explain this without a diagram. First you need to go to a lumber yard or home improvment stroe and get a roll of concrete reinforcemet wire and a set of heavy duty bolt cutters. Now cut the reinforcement wire into 6 foot lenghts leavinging the spikes of the wire on one end, these will be used to wrap around the other end of the six foot lengths to bend them into a cylinder. After you have made the cages into a cylinder, you will use the bolt cutters at the bottem to remove two rows of the horizontal wires thus providinging the stakes to anchor into the ground. Supplemental two foot rebar can be used to anchor the cages by driving into the ground and wiring the rebar to the cages. HTH
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<lol> Welcome to the club... ;-)

I used to just plant some on the fenceline. My fencing is the 2" x 4" welded farm fencing and is 6' tall. It always worked well to tie them to.
Alternately, for the past couple of years I've had excellent luck with the large "plastic rebar" stakes from Lowe's garden section. The poles are about 3/4" thick and are 7' long. I sink them about a foot into the ground and just tie the vine to it as it grows, and tie peripheral branches to each other to keep it reasonably upright.
This has worked very well, FAR better than cages! They are just too flimsy for "real" tomato vines.
I bought 6 of those stakes and used each one for 2 vines for the season. I think they are about $3.50 or so each? They are very re-usable from year to year.

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Last year I had good luck with Tomato Ladders from Gardener's Supply company. They are only about 5 feet tall when put in the ground but are made of heavy steel that is coated. Much stronger than the Home Depot style cages . And they go straight up. The vines intertwine themselves so little is needed to keep them up.
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On 3/21/05 10:21 AM, in article snipped-for-privacy@4ax.com,

an organic farm and duplicated it last year with great success. It is a simple cheap way to support tomatoes: I plant my tomatoes in a row...I pound a 8' 2x2 into the ground at one end of the row and another one at the other end. A third 2x2 is put on top of the two in the ground...use long screws to secure the horizontal one to the ones in the ground. (one screw per). Now above each tomato plant tie some hay bale string (a coarse cheap twine) and let it hang down to the plant. Leave extra lengths on top (wrap it around the horizontal pole). Tie the hay twine to the base of the tomato plant. As the plant grows 'roll' the new growth around the string... My rows are longer than 8 feet so I have to put another vertical post in the middle... That is the general idea. Because there is no wire mesh in the way the tomatoes are easy to harvest, to prune...etc. etc. :) Gary
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ge wrote:

Hi George, I can appreciate your pain. What we did is DH built wood trellises. The first consists of two 2" x 2" poles that lean against a building, wall, or fence depending on your set-up. Set the poles about 5' apart. At 1'-2' intervals add a bracket and string a pole in between. The result is like a very wide ladder. Simply tie up your tomatoes as they grow. The second design is like a hobby horse. Each side is 7' tall. These are screwed into each side of our raised beds. Then, 1" x 2" slats run up in between. The result is like a swing set with the slats running up the long sides. Inside the rectangle is a frame of slats. The tomatoes are tied as they grow. This support was designed so it can be dismantled for storage. HTH
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I found this out last year, the largest cage they offer is acceptable for determinates... I find concrete reinforcement wire too difficult to work with. I use 6 ft steel fencing. its lighter.

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Check this out. I've never used these, relying on cheaper concrete reinforcing wire, but these appear to be galvanized, come in groups of six and fold up for storage.
http://www.tomatocage.com /
Ken

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Florida Weave! Im trying it tomarrow.

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