Last year, I was given vinyl fencing material. At the time, I had big plans for that fence.... but then I changed my mind. So instead of sending the fence to the landfill, I tucked it into a corner of my yard until I found someone who could use it or I found a new purpose for it. That fence material has become my new tomato stakes and cages.
It's a very simple process.
Step 1: Materials Needed
Step 2: More Materials
For tomato stakes:
Large Drill Bit (I'm not sure what size I used, but the 1/4 inch bolts fit loosely in the holes)
14 gauge wire (not shown)
For tomato cages you will need the above supplies PLUS:
saw (I used a compound mitre saw)
1/4 inch by 2 1/2 bolts
1/4 inch washers
1/4 inch nuts
Step 3: Measuring the Stakes
Step 4: Drill Holes
Step 5: Placement of Stakes
Training the plant just means gently pulling the stalk and stem close to the stake and gently securing it to the stake. The plant will then grow where you have "trained" it to grow.
Instead of wire, you could use those velcro plant strips, but I think they are too expensive.
Step 6: Making Large Tomato Cages
I made opposite side panels first using the nuts, washers and bolts to secure the pieces together. I pushed the two sides into the garden bed and supported it with extra soil packed in around the fencing material.
Next, I measured the other sides and made the last two panels to fit in between. I used cable ties to secure the panels together.
I cut more fencing material to make inside cross bars throught the cage and secured them with cable ties.
At first, hand tighten all the nuts and bolts. When the structure looks complete, tighten each bolt with a wrench.
The stucture will be able to shift a little. That's ok. I've found that in a storm, you want a little shifting instead of the cage uprooting the garden.
Step 7: Cutting the Vinyl
Step 8: Completed Cages
I also made a string bean teepee from more fencing. I used a similar process but the top is held together with a large u-bolt.
Step 9: Training the Tomato Plants in the Cages
Make sure you keep the wire loose so that there is room for the plants to grow through.