Richard is using standard tomato cages except he puts them upside down and anchors them at the ground with large nails which are driven 12″ into the soil. When he puts them in the ground the way they were intended, he had too many problems with them becoming top heavy and pushing over the cage. By doing it his way it gives a strong base and the nails hold it securely. It also gives you an area to prop it up, if needed.
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Field Wire Cages
Don makes tomato cages out of horse field wire. These are round and the height is determined by the height that the plants will reach at maturity. Roma tomato plants are 2 feet high, regular tomatoes are 4 feet high. He also uses these cages with some of his squash plants.
Post and Twine
Joyce also has a different way to stake up her regular tomato plants. Instead of using a type of tomato cage, she uses steel posts and a strong twine to give the tomatoes support. As the plants grow taller she adds an additional row of twine to keep up with the growth. She also helps the plants to attach to the twine.
PVC Pipe Cages
April has tomato cages made out of PVC pipe. You can see from the pictures how they are constructed. As the tomatoes grow they can be tied to the higher supports. This makes the tomatoes much easier to harvest, and it keeps them off the ground.
Gallon milk jugs, with the bottom cut out, old large pipe remnants and gallon cans can be used to protect the various plants from the wind as they grow. When they get large enough, or the wind calms down, these pipes and cans can be left in place as the support or they can be removed and replace with larger support such as the 5 gallon bucket.
Shade for Tomato Plants
When Richard first planted his tomatoes, the plants were getting too hot and burning. He fashioned shade for them by cutting plastic planting pots into two pieces and attaching them to stakes. He then placed these in the ground where the pot would shade his plants to protect them. He said they also stack easily for storage when the plants are bigger and the shade is no longer needed.
To warm, protect and prepare areas for earlier planting, Don sets up his Wall o Waters. He will use these for his tomatoes and peppers.