Here’s my husband, otherwise known as the lovely hand model in Seed Lust, demonstrating the unspeakable girth of the Texas Tomato Cages box by pretending to be a zombie or vampire cleaving his coffin open and emerging to walk the earth. He was pretty cooperative for most of the photo shoot, but as you can see he failed to change out of pajamas, so most of the pictures were unusable. I really have to thank him profusely for modeling and for lugging the actual Texas-sized tomato cages out to the garage since I ordered them while I was sick, and would have left the box in the living room indefinitely.
And Lord-a-mercy they are the size of Texas. These bad boys are six feet tall and two feet wide, and they are thick solid steel, far heavier gauge than a chain link fence or re-bar. My tomatoes always get out of control, and traditional stakes and cages bend and break in half like wimpy toothpicks under their thundering bulk. Apparently tomato madness is genetic because my Aunt Marie recently told me my German grandfather refused to stake or pinch out growth in his tomato vines, allowing them to sprawl over the hay mulch on the ground. He had room, and a field of hay, but I don’t; I need a vertical solution. I also need a movable solution because I’m attempting to rotate crops, so a permanent trellis would put the tomatoes at risk for soil pathogens and viruses. Well I think I found my solution.
You can see the cages online here: http://tomatocage.com/intro.html
You’ll see how down home the site is, and I emailed Cynthia who you’ll see on the website to find out if this was her idea. She’s so cute in her overalls! I hope she invented these and is making a good living on them; I love a good women’s success story.
The cages are simply genius and there is no other product like them. I thought I was going to have to learn how to weld, or buy fancy (expensive) trellises and piece together a support system, or lug home god knows what from the hardware store and fight with a roll of metal with pointy ends and probably poke my eye out. Before buying these, I looked at many tomato support ideas, especially videos of homemade cages. I saw quite a few fiascoes. I thought about re-purposing a swing set or something, too. I’ve been considering this problem since last winter.
The cages are pretty expensive in the realm of gardening where everything is cheap and homemade, about $27.00 each. They are sturdy enough to make it to my door from Texas without getting bent under just one layer of cardboard (unlike a much more expensive flower trellis I once ordered), and they should be reusable indefinitely. Taking the long view, they seem to be a good deal. And they fold, so they can be stored without taking up more than an inch or two of space. Very cool.
Now if the snow would only melt, I could get started growing monster truck sized tomato plants. I’m excited.