I have finally given up on tomato cages. Over the years I never seemed to have any luck using them. They always seemed to fall over right when the tomatoes were ready to pick. Then, in order to keep the cages up-right, I would drive several stakes into the ground, but it always seemed that no matter how many stakes I would use it was never enough. The cages always fell over with the weight of the tomatoes. I just found using them frustrating.
The solution to my frustration was to build tomato ladders. This is one of those simple projects that I have wanted to do for years, but the timing was never right until this year.
As you can see, these tomato ladders are not complex to build. I built these tomato ladders from some standard 2 X 4s and basic hardware. The ladders are about 6 ft. tall and 2 ft. wide. I placed three rungs on each side about 18 inches apart. I applied several coats of boiled linseed oil to the ladders to protect them from the elements.
Our plan is to grow one tomato plant up each side of the ladder, securing the plant to the rungs as it grows.
Because of our limited space, we decided to try growing cucumbers vertically on a trellis. It only seemed natural to use the ladders to support one end of the cucumber trellis.
The cucumber trellises were also made from 2 X 4s, I ripped down several strips that were 3/4″ thick by 1-1/2″ wide and 48″ long. I then placed the strips together to form a simple grid pattern. Like the ladders I applied several coats of boiled linseed oil to the trellises. I secured them to the ladders with several zip ties.
I will keep you posted on the success and failures of the tomato ladders and cucumber trellises this season.