Tomatoes are one of the best fruits you could grow in your garden. These fruits are both nutritious and delicious. Moreover, they are full of vitamins, don’t have many calories, and can save you some money as well.
The best part is, they’re easy to grow.
However, planting them properly is important. Many people are confused about how many tomato plants per cage. Well, they’re not alone.
We use cages mainly for one reason. We want to provide a support system for the plant. But overcrowding the cage is not an option here. So, how many tomato plants should you plant in a cage?
After reading this article, you’ll know everything about tomato cages. So, let’s get to it.
Types of Tomato Cages
Tomato cages are cone-shaped, wire types, or built from wood, plastic. Even though all of them serve the same purpose they have their differences.
Wire cages are the most popular cages available in the market. These cages are made of concrete reinforcing wire that increase in diameter from bottom to top.
You can tie the tomato vines with twist ties when they grow bigger.
Wood tomato cages basically look like a table without a top. These can be customized to your liking depending on what type of tomato you’ll be growing.
Although, 2 or 3 levels are more than enough.
Plastic cages made from polypropylene can be as long as 7 feet and accommodate any size plant. They do a good job of keeping the plant upright.
Moreover, they blend in nicely with the plant.
Pipe cages are built by connecting sections of PVC pipe and electric conduit together. These cages are essentially indestructible. Taking them apart and storing them is easy too.
And the best thing is, you can build them as long as you need them.
How Many Tomato Plants Per Cage
It doesn’t matter whether your tomato plants are determinate or indeterminate. You should always plant only one tomato plant per cage.
You see, tomato cages aren’t that wide. You can try to squeeze in 2 or 3 trees in a single cage. However, the end result isn’t going to make you happy.
Overcrowding the cage with too many plants will make the plants unhealthy. Moreover, they won’t grow that much as these plants need their space for proper growth.
So, whatever you do, don’t put more than 1 tomato plant per cage.
How to Cage Tomatoes
Indeterminate tomato plants grow out long vines that can be as long as 12 feet or longer. In order to support the plant, you need some kind of support system. This is where tomato cages come in.
So, let’s see how you can cage them.
Tools and Materials
You don’t really need that many tools and materials for caging a tomato plant. Although, you do need these items.
Concrete Reinforced Wire
Step 1: Choose a Tomato Cage
If space is a problem for you, try using metal cages. You see, metal cages are thin and light that doesn’t take up much space. These cages work great when you think of planting them closer.
When you’re choosing cages, don’t choose anything under 5 feet. 5-foot cages should support most tomato varieties.
The cages should have a diameter between 12-30 inches (30.5-76 cm). Although you need to get a bigger cage if you’re planning to grow to a large type of tomato.
If you don’t want to use store-bought cages you can build your own cages too. You only need to buy reinforced concrete wire. Although, make sure to keep the openings big enough for your hand. Because at the end of the day you need to harvest the tomatoes.
Step 2: Put The Cage Directly Over a Plant
The plants need to be in the center of the cage whether they’re potted or in the ground. As the walls require to be close to the plant, some of the vines and leaves may fall outside of the cage.
However, don’t damage the roots by caging them immediately.
Step 3: Push The Cages Down
The stakes of the cage need to be under the ground. Push down the cages until the stakes are buried under the soil.
Although, you can use a hammer or mallet to lightly pound them into the ground.
Step 4: Check If The Cage Is Sturdy
The cage should be sturdy enough to survive a blow of wind. Gently push and pull on the cage to see if it moves a lot. If it feels loose, you need to add a few extra stakes and put them into the ground.
Note that you need to add the stakes outside of the cage. Doing otherwise can damage the roots of the plant.
Step 5: Cage The Other Plants
Repeat the same process for all the other plants. If you’re planting and caging at the same time, make sure to keep a distance of 4 feet(1.2 meters) between the plants.
Keeping this distance will ensure the proper health of the plants.
Benefits of Using Tomato Cages
Using a tomato cage can be quite beneficial for you and your plants. Although, there are some little disadvantages. But they are nothing compared to the benefits.
You don’t have to spend much time removing suckers or training the plants. In fact, most of the time you’ll just need to leave the plant alone.
The plants can grow naturally. Moreover, they’ll have a support system to rest on when they grow bigger.
Tomato cages can give the required shade a plant needs. It’ll help to ripen the fruit and protect the tomatoes from sun-scald.
The soil under the cage stays shaded most of the time. This helps in holding on to moisture which prevents blossom end rot and cracking. It’s great for people who have hot and dry weather.
So, now you know the answer to how many tomato plants per cage. You see, the answer’s always going to be one. A tomato plant needs support from every direction. Adding another plant won’t make it happen.
A piece of advice, store the cages indoors when the tomato plants die in the fall. This way you’ll be able to reuse them.