I know I’ve been a bit MIA lately… this time of year is my busy time in the garden, and because of that my other projects have been put on hold. I’m finally caught up in that area (for now!) so I’m hoping to get some projects finished and online this week.
In the meantime, I’m sharing the bamboo tomato cages I just put together for my “extra” tomato plants. What I mean by “extra” is that every year, I always seem to end up with more tomato plants that I need… this year I was planning on four plants, and I ended up with nine. Now, I like a lot of variety when it comes to tomatoes, and just planting the same ol’ one red tomato, one cherry tomato routine just gets boring, but really… what the heck am I going to do with nine plants?!? Anyways, I only had five wire tomato s on hand, and I’m not about to go spend money on tomato cages I don’t need for tomato plants I didn’t need (why does this sound familiar?), so I decided to once again come up with a solution with what I have on hand.
These can be made as a quadpod (obelisk style) or a tripod, depending on how large your tomato plants get (or if you’re using it for another type of plant altogether). Our growing season here is long and the tomato plants get quite large even with frequent pruning, so a quadpod is our best bet.
Here’s what you’ll need for each tomato cages if you want to make a quadpod similar to what you see in the pictures:
6 – 6′ bamboo poles
hand saw to cut the bamboo
scissors to cut the twine
If you don’t have bamboo poles, feel free to use any kind of straight branches you might have or be able to get… branches seasonally pruned from a fruitless mulberry would work well, for example. They just have to be sturdy (around the thickness of your thumb) , long enough to support the tomato vine, and reasonably straight. Also, you don’t necessarily need garden twine… yarn or any kind of string that’s reasonably sturdy will work well; I just like garden twine because once the season’s over and I’m breaking all these down, garden twine cuts easily and it’s great to compost because it breaks down fast.
Measure and cut the remaining two poles for the tiers by sizing them against the four poles you just tied together. I’m not going to give you numbers or measurements here because it depends on if you decided to make a tripod or a quadpod, how tall or wide it is, how many tiers you want, etc. Just measure and cut each piece at least 1″ longer than the length of the two poles so you can stack them on top of each other as you tie them all together.
Now, tying them all together is another thing I’m going to leave open ended, just because I’m a dork when it comes to tying things. The way I did it was: I tied the first two sides on by wrapping the twine around the poles twice, tying a square knot and leaving enough excess to tie the second two sides the same way as the first. Experiment and use whatever knot/method works best for you and doesn’t leave a lot in the way of slippage once you have it all tied together. If you have any suggestions on how they can be tied together better, please feel free to comment!
Work as many tiers as you need. I did three for each cage. Note: if you decide to go crazy like I did and do four of these cages, it is quite time consuming… it took me several hours over a couple of days to get them finished. It was a lot of time, but it was worth it to me, because a. they were free; and b. in my opinion, they look a lot prettier in the garden than the wire cages do.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this, and I hope it gives you a lot of great ideas to include hand-tied tripods and quadpods in your own garden!
Happy gardening! 🙂