Tomato Cages and Ladders Face Off

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What’s your favorite tomato support? Take our poll and let us know. (You can find the poll at the top of the right-hand column.) Do you prefer Tomato Cages, Tomato Ladders, Rainbow Spiral Supports, wooden stakes or something of your own invention? If you have more to say about your choice, please make a comment (click on Comments at the bottom of this post).

Cindy and Kathy at the photo shoot.

Like many good ideas, it all began with a casual hallway conversation. Back in the office after a sunny May weekend, Cindy and I were talking about which gardening chores we’d managed to cross off our lists. We had both planted our tomatoes that weekend, but she had put up tomato ladders and I had put up cages. We started laughing about how she would never even consider using cages for supports and how I would never consider using ladders.

Others within earshot chimed in with their own opinions about the merits of each support system. It seemed clear: Either you were a cage-person or a ladder-person.

Our art director, Susan, overheard us talking and a light bulb went on. “Let’s set up a face off and photograph it for the catalog,” she said. “We could do it in one of the beds in our display garden!”

We enlisted our extraordinary staff gardener, Sarah, to set up and maintain the bed throughout the summer months. She made sure the tomato plants were well fertilized and had plenty of water. By early September, the plants were heavy with fruit and the photo shoot was scheduled for one day after work. Susan, the photographer, our photo stylist Martha, and Cindy and I met in the display gardens just outside our offices.

Cindy and I figured we’d been asked to be there as “expert advisors” about the merits of the two different systems. What we didn’t realize was that Susan’s plan was to feature the two of us just as prominently as the tomato supports.

There was no time for special outfits and no one around to style our hair. The two of us got planted right in the bed with the tomatoes and it was all over but the crying in about 10 minutes. (Strange to see how you can look your age on the outside and still feel like 35 on the inside…).

Read Ladders or Cages to learn more.

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104 Responses to Tomato Cages and Ladders Face Off

  1. Jack says:

    Jack: I like the cages. My raised beds are 4 by 8 and 3 by 20 feet. I use fencing 6 foot high with 6 inch mesh. I buy a 50 foot roll and cut pieces 5 foot. This gives me an 18 inch diameter cage. I tie my cages together with bailing twine, with fence post set on each end. If I have more tomatoes plants than cages I stagger the cages and use bailing twine tied between cages to create an additional place tp plant. I live in zone 9. I put 4 mil plastic over the tomatoes and am able to harvest in January.

  2. Hi Jack,Sounds like a great technique! If you have a second, would you briefly describe your tomato growing schedule? It is so difficult up here in Vermont to imagine how the cycle works in zone 9. Thanks!

  3. Mary Ann says:

    I have tried everything and nothing really works however I do like the cage consept but they are not tall enough unkess you are willing to pay $20.00 or more.I googled tomato support and found the perfect tomato cage that actually is desighned to clamp on a stake so you can set it at any height you want. The cage is called The Tomato Ring. It is a galvanized ring molded to a clamp.I don’t beleive that there is anything on the market that can work any better to support large tomato plants than this.Why arent people using this thing? Mary Ann

  4. Disneylandman says:

    I recently discovered a product called Trell-o, which is rather ingenious. It's a pyramidal, wood support, and multiple Trell-os can link together to form a network. I just set it up over my tomato plants, and it's the first attractive, sturdy solution I have seen. Can't wait for the plants to grow!

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