One livestock panel makes one tomato cage and one pepper cage… I don’t cut “legs” into the bottom, but instead just set them on top of the soil and pound a fence post next to each tomato plant, and wire the cage to the fence post. Over 35 years ago I used concrete wire which is 5-6 feet tall. While I never stated it in my post, these “holes” are 8″ tall and 6″ wide. Another option: Build these simple wooden “tomato ladders.” I use concrete reinforcing wire, cut to the width I like , rolled into a circle, fastened with the cut ends folded back upon itself. I even made the front page of my local newspaper with this. One livestock panel for each cage (select the panel style that has a grid pattern approximately 6 inches square). And it seems to be the most cost-effective solution for large production. The grinder was a great idea to minimize the sharp edges and now I know what to use my grinder for. I’ve had my work boots sliced with the nubs. I hang them on the metal posts so they are not touching the ground, so I can hoe and till under them. I can buy a panel of the concrete wire for $8.00 at Lows, works great and is very strong.I like the rust because it blends in with the plants.Will virtually last forever. Do keep me posted on how this works for you. You'll need a pair of bolt cutters or really heavy duty wire cutters to cut the cattle panels … They’re thick enough to be good and sturdy but not so think that they’re too hard to bend. Hi Janet. Would love updates. So after pushing the 14 vertical stakes into the soil, the cage is 1.5’w x 1.5d x 3.5′ h (variable). One of the simplest tomato cages is a rigid metal livestock panel used as a trellis. H. SKU: 350207799. Would be outstanding to just walk into the hoop and start picking, and be in the shade too! Using a complete panel, count across the width so you have six complete squares and cut away the rest, all the way down the length of the panel. As close to perfect as they can be. Alpharetta, GA 30004. Each fall I dissemble the parts, store them until spring and start again! Hi Eleanor. I have no photos but I think you get the jest. Will try to get some Christmas baubles on sale and fix to my plants! There are two main types: one has consistent … I then bend them into a circle and wire or zip tie them together. Sure seems like a lot less work and less livestock panels too! Otherwise, they are great for around the yard-den! Larger cattle fence segments make a great trellis for climbing veggies. my all time favorite power tool is my angle grinder. It is a very simple and easy to make project that only… By the time I see it the bottom half is gone. Sounds like a durable, attractive cage! Once you cut across this piece, you now have 3 remaining pieces. I’ve used these as well, but I prefer fencing with larger “holes”. It’s 90% better now. These really look great Joe. I often think I should do the same thing. I ended up with tunnel about 25 ft. long and 8ft. I then installed four screw eyes – one near each corner of the wooden bed frame about an inch down from the top. Instead of cutting the panels, I just bent them into a cylinder then used cable ties to keep them together. Here’s a link to an article I wrote that gives the details of my raised bed garden: the type of wood I chose and why, the layout, fencing, irrigation, etc. But yes, my concrete wire tomato cages also look like shit. I filled it full of leaves. Before I had a trellis, I turned a tomato cage … They don’t seem like the galvanized texture. I’m anxious to hear how that goes–especially with containing and managing the plants as they grow outward. This serves as a good guide and support as you bend up the panel from the outside edge towards you until you get a 90-degree angle. Just ask for them at any farm supply store - they will know what you're talking about. I have seen a big bird of prey .. a hawk I think hunting in my garden and I have placed several black snakes in the garden over the years. I do know how you feel to discover in the course of one day that your plants are a gonner. Perhaps a little judgmental on my part, but they are not tall enough, and I’m still a stickler for sturdiness. … either a trellis or a cage. The whole bunch of cwire cost me $10. Cattle Panel Tomato Cages. I have found my own type of cage. With one piece welded steel construction, this panel is extremely sturdy and sag resistant, making it the perfect low-maintenance, high-quality feedlot panel. Good for you and glad you like them. However, I did not know about livestock panels, and it would be nice not to have to deal with rusty wire, but since I don’t take them down, it’s not that big a deal. 2. I just make a circle with it and connect with hog staples. May 6, 2015 - Here's an update on the livestock panel tomato trellis experiment. Off camera, Joe dedicates his time to promoting sustainability through his popular books, blog, podcast series, and nationally syndicated newspaper columns. The four-sided cage consists of two two-sided panels, bent at a 90 degree angle. When we lived in IL, my cages lasted 15 years. Thanks. Another thought: If you use jute twine (instead of cable ties) to secure the corners together, you could tie them in a shoelace bow, which would speed up disassembly at the end of the season. And put the chicken stuff to work! I hope that you don’t get offended. But they were still rusty by the end of the season, and awkward to store at the end of the season. I hope that I can walk between them at the end of the year. Jeff, you’re doing what I’ve been doing for several years. Each is 4′ wide by 8′ tall. Tried the concrete wire before switching to cattle panels. If you live in a windy area, like we do, pound a stake or bean pole into the ground on the windy side of your tomato cage. I’ll certainly give this a try next growing season. Sustainable Living and Organic Gardening PBS Series. We do have to tie them to rebar posts in the ground, but they have held up very well, look nice and are pretty easy to stack on their sides like a pyramid. Hi Joe, I use cattle panels too. with a good metal cutting blade, you could make the cuts quickly and easily but without the sharp nubs. Thank you Joe for all the advise and I look foreword to seeing your show again, mik. If you choose this extra deep option, then cut away the horizontal pieces one level up at the 8th square also (the equivalent of two squares deep) as shown below. But as I addressed in the article, I am counting on these lasting a very long time. Above ground, the cage stands 56″ tall, 18″ wide and 16″ below ground with those “spikes” to anchor the cages. I am already totally satisfied with the way I am doing toms. There are 24 and counting! Those nubs are dangerously sharp. I got this idea off of TSC’s website from some guy from Texas. Thanks for the post and I love the show. They are a great investment. Some of the seed catalogs offer cages that seem to fold flat for storage and are very similar to what you built. Get lots of cats. The baggies support the fruit and stretch to fit as they grow. I can use it hydroponically as well. Those panels left on or near the soil surface would surely cramp their style! Beans, cucumbers, sweet potatoes all grow up them fine. When this happens, I normally lose some of the fruit and lots of the blooms, so I decided to design a tomato … And I can say with certainty, the longer handles make for much greater leverage and easier cutting! That’s all there is to it. Also, would you or do you suggest lining the inside with a thin plexiglass to get some additional life out of the wood, especially if not using treated wood? How high do you make the hoops? But had I known about non rusting 16 foot livestock panels, I would have used them and made my rows 16ft long (or 32 ft long and used two per row). Absolutely indestructible. I like the idea of the cattle fencing, however my desire to use it would be to roll it in a hoop and cover with tight plastic fencing with small enough spaces to keep out squirrels – I have no problem growing lots of tomatoes, but the squirrels see the blush before I do. That is great to know and I’m sure will be a relief to people wanting even a simpler option. For ease of assembly ( and the fact that that the store was out of bolt cutters and were willing to cut the 16′ panels in half for me, ) I opted for the circular more or less) cages and placed them atop the earth , using steel posts as the anchors to attaché them too. Can you give more details, specs and may be a photo of how your trellis looks? But it won’t be long before they grow over the top. Keep up the excellent work and I look forward to the new season. Meet the ultimate tomato cage! Agreed Jas. Hope this helps someone with windy days. A final but optional step to make it tidy is to secure each piece together with small cable ties. 4. Thanks Joe for spreading the word on Cattle Panels, I. Seriously, voles are a definite challenge. Better be sure to use soaker hoses or lots of organic material. Thanks. Tomato cage is the professional's choice for tomatoes plant support. A framework made of T-posts and rebar securely mounted in the ground provides an anchor point. I find that wire tends to hurt the plant when and if the plant gets over barren from the weight of the fruit. Joe They were in a row… very attractive. Have been using them for over 20 years, however I do not bend them, I keep them flat for ease of storage, then join the flat panels together with cable ties, also they work great for verticle trellises for Cucumbers, Beans, and Peas, with a couple lengths of Rebar on either side pounded in the ground for support, these I use as half sheets, that being 4 foot wide by 8 feet tall, if the trellises are in a more permanent position, then I use adjustable hose clamps to secure the Cattle Panel to the Rebar posts. You will want the bottom of the tomato cage … The cost of each 16′ timber was about $90. Yet on the ever-evolving list of 101 uses for livestock panels, my ultimate tomato cage is the latest, and so far, greatest use. But I do like the gauge used to make the livestock panels. The bag stretches as the melon grows, and we have perfect fruit that’s is easy to pick at its peak when the vines just slip off. I use concreat wire and cut them 6 feet long , but I use panels for green beans works great. Looks like rectangles instead of squares.) Place one of the sections under a piece of “strait” lumber at, also just curious… what was your average lumber cost to build each bed – I’m looking at doing something similar – from a previous episode, I think you mentioned they are 4×12 and 18 inches deep using 6×6 cedar. I do not grow in raised beds, so I adapted your idea for tomatoe cages to fit my rows of plants. As they near ripeness, all I have to do is wiggle the vine where it attaches to the melon, and when it comes free easily – perfect ripeness. To support the fruit I make little baggies out of pieces of pantyhose, and as the fruits appear I arrange a baggie around each one, then attach the baggie to the wire. I wish I had better options for you.,,,,, I can spray paint them red . All of them, As well as the 10′ high 20′ walls of beans growing on concrete wire strapped to T-posts every year with the same wires (we just leave them on the cwire. Looking forward to the new episode in July. Even though I had the plants in store-bought cages, with all the foliage and the height and the softened ground from all the rain, they were blown over. 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