I'm new at the garden and bought a few tomato cages. What I did not like about them is they are hard to store in the shed and I did not like having to twist the tomato leafs to thread them through the support wires. I would like to share with you a better tomato cage that will come appart to stow and support each stem without  having to bend them into place.
You will need some wooden poles, magnets,  thin metal strips, glue and a saw.

Step 1: Prepare the Posts

I had some extra 2x2 pt posts but 1x1 size would be a better size to use. The poles can be as tall as you like (I cut mine at 5'). I put a point on one end then notched out a section of the wood about 1/4' deep and 1'wide (or the height of your support strips). The notch will help hold up your stem support strips when those tomatoes get heavy. I spaced them about one foot apart up the post.
I drilled holes to hold my magnets and glued them in using liquid nail product.

Step 2: Make the Support Strips

I made my supports out of bent up coat hangers. Any strip of metal (steel) with a rounded over top edge will work. (don't want it cutting into the plant when that wind picks up). You can use thin strips of wood but you would have to add more magnets ($$) to your shopping list.

Step 3: Put It in the Garden

I made a jig so my post would be spaced apart at the lengths of my 8" support rails. A simple cut -out on cardboard would work. ( I just like to weld stuff)
Now all you have to do is gently lift up each branch stem, attach the magnetized support strip as the plant grows.
When your done for the planting season it will all pop apart and store nice and flat to be used over and  over again!  Wa-La!!

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    12 years ago on Introduction

    I did think the same and that is why I cut  the slots into the stakes to allow the metal cross member to sit on so to support the weight. The magnets just hold it against the post. I used a coat hanger because it was handy but i think a thin flat piece of metal (painted) would work well. There are many different ways to change it but I was trying to keep with the two goals of storage and not having to pull the branches through to support them. That's what I like about this site and I welcome all inputs so everyone can build onto my idea.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    How can the magnets be strong enough to hold heavy tomato vines laden with heavy tomatoes? Please explain, as I would think they will just pop off.