What I did last year was to buy some rebar at Lowes and cut it down to
about 7 feet. drive the rebar home inside the cages. Don't be too
afraid of getting close to the plant, the roots you cut won't have an
impact on the plants. Tie the cages to the rebar.
I didn't use cages this year. Bad idea for me. The sun is a killer in
Dallas this year and the lack of shade from trimming them back to stay
on the stake is killing them.
Next year, I'll make my own cages. Or, just pull everything out and
make a big watermelon patch.
1) Don't cut them off. If they fall over the side, it's not the end other
world. You can just leave them be and still get plenty-o-tomatoes.
2) Better yet, erect a teepee made from 8-10' poles over the cage(s) and
tie the vines to it.
I just let mine crawl along the ground. One year the vines were over
12 feet long, and had about a 5 gallon bucket worth of fruit apiece,
under conditions of malicious neglect. <g>
As to cheap cages that you can cut to fit -- try concrete bracing, the
stuff that's just welded wire in 6" squares. It's 6 feet tall as it
comes in the roll. You might pick up some as scrap at a construction
Mine are outgrowing the 8 foot 1x 2s that I put 4 inches into the
soil. Some will grow to 9 feet. I better stop fertilizing!
The problem with letting them grow without tieing them is that some
significant branches will break when they bend. I broke a few
myself, while putting in the 1 x 2s.
The 1 X 2s were $1.15 each at Home Depot. Does anyone know how much
rebar costs? Someone suggested making a teepee for each plant out of
8 foot rebar. That's a pretty good idea, if the rebar is not too
expensive, won't rust and you have a way of tieing the three poles
together, without your being a 7 footer.
I do not know about rebar but thin walled electrical conduit was
$1.29 for a ten foot pipe the last time I checked. It is galvanized
so it does not rust much. It will probably last longer than the
wood you have been using.
I just heard a TV commercial about an automobile that has a rear
entertainment system. I immediately wondered exactly how would an
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