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Square Tomato Cages

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Square Tomato Cages

Post  blackcat54 on 1/3/2014, 4:37 pm

Last season, I purchased a load of 14.5" square metal wire tomato cages.

I want to incorporate these cages into a square foot planter. My thought is to build independent 14.5" square frames and drill mounting holes into the frame to slip the wire ends of the cage into for support.

Would a 14.5" square X 6" deep planter be sufficient for growing one tomato plant?

Alternate ideas welcome.

Thanks
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Re: Square Tomato Cages

Post  sanderson on 1/3/2014, 6:17 pm

Do you SFG with Mel's Mix?  Good compost?  If so, they should work.  14.5 x 14.5  = 210 sq. inches.  A 12 x 12 square is 144 sq. in. so you would have extra root area.  Try it.  Maybe go up 7-8 inches plus 1-2 for mulch.  Quite a few folks grow tomatoes in buckets or pots.  I was going to try a couple 2 x 2, 2 x 1 or even 1 x 1 for certain areas.

What do others think?


Last edited by sanderson on 1/3/2014, 6:39 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Square Tomato Cages

Post  CapeCoddess on 1/3/2014, 6:38 pm

I grew cherry tomatoes this summer in about 5 inches. They did fine. Not as great as the ones I grew the previous year in 10 inches, but there may have been other factors that caused fewer fruits.

Try it, then you'll know forever. Very Happy 

CC
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Re: Square Tomato Cages

Post  sanderson on 1/3/2014, 6:39 pm

And we will know!!
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Re: Square Tomato Cages

Post  Goosegirl on 1/3/2014, 7:47 pm

Because inquiring minds want to know!

Gg
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Re: Square Tomato Cages

Post  boffer on 1/3/2014, 8:31 pm

Go for it, because  know  [sic] is not an option!  Rolling Eyes


And because of everything that sanderson said.   A lot of tomatoes are grown in 5 gallon buckets.  The bucket volume is smaller than your box volume.
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Re: Square Tomato Cages

Post  blackcat54 on 1/4/2014, 12:35 pm

Three stacked 2x4's will give me 10" of height. Should be plenty for my tomatoes!

Thanks for the opinions.
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Re: Square Tomato Cages

Post  sanderson on 1/4/2014, 1:52 pm

Black cat,  You've given me ideas for a barren strip I cleaned yesterday on the south side of the house near the foundation.  1' x 1' squares spaced apart, each set on 12' square cement pavers for termite deterrence.  Weed fabric on top of the dirt, then paver, then boxes with a few 2" leftover rocks scattered on the weed fabric.  Should look nice.  I will use 8" cedar pickets for the boxes since they will only be 1' x 1'.  Like this but individual, spaced squares.



Thanks for inspiring me!  alrighta
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Re: Square Tomato Cages

Post  blackcat54 on 1/12/2014, 3:56 pm

First Prototype:




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Re: Square Tomato Cages

Post  Mikesgardn on 1/12/2014, 4:37 pm

Love the cage. I built very similar boxes years ago, but I attached electrical conduit and netting for the trellis. You may want to use a wood bottom to make the box more stable against wind. I was able to grow tomatoes and melons in similar boxes, but they did require extra watering.
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Re: Square Tomato Cages

Post  blackcat54 on 1/12/2014, 5:11 pm

The boxes are pretty heavy, there's over 12' of 2x4 in each one . I want to leave the bottoms open for the worms. If they seem unstable, I'll use some lengths of steel conduit to anchor them.
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Re: Square Tomato Cages

Post  sanderson on 1/12/2014, 7:13 pm

BC,  Those are awesome!   Very Happy
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Re: Square Tomato Cages

Post  blackcat54 on 1/12/2014, 10:07 pm

This forum is awesome!

I can't wait for the spring planting season to start to get some tomatoes started in these bad boys!

I noticed that whenever a tomato plant sprouted in my compost pile that it grew into a far healthier plant than the ones in the garden. With MM containing 1/3 compost, I have high hopes for these containers.
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Re: Square Tomato Cages

Post  Marc Iverson on 1/13/2014, 1:37 am

Very cool looking. So nice and neat!

One note though -- my tomato beds got churned up, and one tomato plant killed and another stunted, by gophers. They can churn up a lot of soil. You might want to block your bottom with something to keep the gophers and moles out, if you have them.
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Re: Square Tomato Cages

Post  Kelejan on 1/15/2014, 10:45 am

@Marc Iverson wrote:Very cool looking.  So nice and neat!

One note though -- my tomato beds got churned up, and one tomato plant killed and another stunted, by gophers.  They can churn up a lot of soil.  You might want to block your bottom with something to keep the gophers and moles out, if you have them.

Hardware cloth or 1/4" mesh wire?
Those square boxes and cages really look lovely. I have been using the usual round tapered one and I hav enever liked them. Looking forward to more pictures later in the year.
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Re: Square Tomato Cages

Post  blackcat54 on 5/9/2014, 12:01 pm

Update on my square tomato containers:













My Big Blue water filter:

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Re: Square Tomato Cages

Post  boffer on 5/9/2014, 12:14 pm

Very nice set-up!   

I have never seen a filter housing bracket so well secured!
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Re: Square Tomato Cages

Post  quiltbea on 5/9/2014, 12:18 pm

I like your tomato boxes.  They look better than pots I think.
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Re: Square Tomato Cages

Post  blackcat54 on 5/9/2014, 12:27 pm

@boffer wrote:Very nice set-up!   

I have never seen a filter housing bracket so well secured!

It's a big heavy filter (whole house size for high flow rate). The mounting assembly is designed to allow the filter to be removed for the winter months leaving part of the assembly attached to the house. The removable part is secured with machine screws and T nuts.
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Re: Square Tomato Cages

Post  lyndeeloo on 5/9/2014, 1:16 pm

Blackcat I absolutely love,  love, love the tomato boxes you made. They look so neat and very classy. Now that I have collected all those 5 gallon buckets for my tomatoes. ...... l'm very depressed. Well not for long..... yup,  I feel a project coming on. I have way more tomato plants than buckets anyways. I have to build some! Laughing  It looks like you used 2x4s. Pressure treated or no? I'd love to know how you put them together. Awesome looking!
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Re: Square Tomato Cages

Post  blackcat54 on 5/9/2014, 1:46 pm

Untreated 2x4's with each square secured with one screw into the end grain at each corner. Each lower square is secured to the upper square by hidden screws set into pocket holes underneath that allow short screws to be used. Each tomato planter consists of three stacked squares. The top square has 8 holes drilled to accept the square support cages you can see positioned behind each planter.
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Re: Square Tomato Cages

Post  sanderson on 5/9/2014, 2:00 pm

BC, Really, really nice looking boxes! Since they are very visible to the neighbor and public (?), they don't scream "vegetable garden". Nice.

Using 2x4's was good because they are thick enough to slow evaporation through the wood and insulating enough to keep the roots cool. My husband made some 1x1 boxes and at my direction, used 3/4" cedar fencing boards. They dry out very quickly, even though I sealed the outsides. I'm going to have to wrap them with another layer of fencing.
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Re: Square Tomato Cages

Post  lyndeeloo on 5/9/2014, 3:00 pm

Blackcat, thank you so much for the details.  You really thought of everything when you designed them. I think the square cages look nice. The spot I want to put them in is in the front yard near the property line, so appearance is important. I don't want to have the neighbor complain. Thanks.
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Re: Square Tomato Cages

Post  AtlantaMarie on 5/9/2014, 9:36 pm

+1, Blackcat.  I really like those!

And, Lyndeeloo, if you share, maybe they won't complain...?  It's hard to talk with your mouth full, lol!
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Re: Square Tomato Cages

Post  lyndeeloo on 5/9/2014, 11:18 pm

Good point Atlantamarie!!!
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Re: Square Tomato Cages

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