Thursday, June 20, 2013

Tomato Cage Testing Day 1 - Never Trust a Tomato

Aunt Pam bought these cool teepees for my kids at a craft fair.  Imagine my surprise when I saw their doppelganger while web searching for tomato cages!

Besides little boys, I also grow herb and vegetable plants and it's time to set some limits for the tomatoes.  I don't stake them because they don't usually deserve it.  This year, they are picture perfect and the picture is about to fall over and break on the ground.

Never trust a tomato.

"No! Don't cage us!"  The tomato plants scream, "We want to be free!"  When the chickens say that, they have their eyes on the broccoli.  It's all a ploy with the tomatoes too. They will stand up while I'm looking but the next morning I find mushy tomatoes under them. They will keep up appearances until you are sure they are upstanding. They are not. Cage them.

However, tomato support systems are so lacking in actual support, they suck my motivation like the last Red Lobster biscuit.

This year will be different.  (Ya right.)  I will put them through the ringer.  We will find a few good exoskeletons. 

All great projects start with...

the lumber run.  We got 6 furring strips to cut and make into teepees.  But a pile of pallet wood was laying in the driveway and when I measured it, I found each piece to be almost exactly 4 feet.  So we were already on to plan B.  I would make the teepees out of the pallets.

Plan C emerged in less than two minutes.  A quick walk through the tomatoes revealed the impossibility of making four-foot teepees to support these monsters.  I could barely lift the plants and when I did I was really glad we had started this project!  They were LOADED with little, green tomatoes!  How did the bees get in there?  Already some of the lower leaves had turned to mush.

I sawed one end of each board to make a point and pounded them in around some tomato plants.  Then I pulled them up and strung around them with twine.  Any hope of organized tomato plants was gone.  Whatever was near that stake got tied into that wall of string.  It reminded me so much of the plastic sleeves we used to drop the greenhouse poinsettias into.  Whoosh!  And try not to look.

How to prune a tomato plant?  Seriously?  I'll be lucky if I get mine through one round of staking!

What a tangled web we weave when first we practice making tomato webs.

Tomorrow: Is it possible to cram a tomato plant into a standard tomato cage after it has grown for a month?


  1. It is much easier to stake a tomato when it is a baby, just like a vampire in it's coffin.:)

    1. You are telling me I should have planted it AND staked it? Who do you think I am? Superwoman?

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  3. Them's some nice tee pees...


    Aunt Pam II

    1. Why, yes. Is that a tomato cage in your garden? Or are you just glad to see me?