Spring and summer mean tomatoes. If you’re lucky, and you have a plot in your yard that gets consistent sunlight throughout the day, you’ll have vines that yield more tomatoes than you know what to do with.
My tomato patch faces north-northwest, and the sun isn’t impeded by any trees or bushes. It’s the perfect place to grow cherry tomatoes — too perfect. I staked my tomatoes in cages way too late, and I had vines all over the place. This summer, I’m going to follow my own advice and use one of these cages when I plant.
Cage, Stake, Or Trellis?
Depending on the type of planting space you’re using, you might be better off with one support or another. Cages are best for planters where you’ll have multiple vines side by side. Stakes work well if you’ll have one single row of vines. A trellis will be best if you have lots of vertical space but limited width or depth, like a wall or fence.
Cherry tomatoes will grow on just about anything. But a big roma, beefsteak, or heirloom varietal will need hefty support. Choose your cage or support accordingly.
The sunny planting spot that’s best for tomatoes should dictate what width and depth of cage you choose — not the other way around. Also, ask someone at your garden store or nursery how big your vines will grow before you plant. Measure the space where you’re going to plant and purchase cages according to both limitations.
The Best Tomato Cages On Amazon
Panacea Tomato And Plant Support Cage
Estimated price: $25
This is just one example of a classic tomato cage design: the Panacea cage features a tapered design that will help leaves and flowers sprout near the top of your tomato vine.
The idea is that your tomato vine will grow more or less upright, like a flowering bush.
The Panacea is bulky, however, and shouldn’t be used outside a planter box. It’s a low-cost, durable option, but it won’t do well with heavy tomatoes, and it can be hard to get into the ground at first.
Luster Leaf Tomato Tower Obelisk
Estimated price: $40
The Luster Leaf Obelisk is one of the best looking tomato cages I’ve ever seen. The Obelisk would fit well into any English-style garden, with its Victorian ironwork.
The Obelisk is built to last, with substantial legs and rings that will help it keep its shape in the elements. The sturdy construction will work well with vines of any variety, even big ones.
The main drawback of the Obelisk is its size: It is not useful for someone with a small side yard or tomato-growing space along their fence.
Gardner’s Supply Company Expandable Pea Trellis
Estimated price: $50 plus shipping
This trellis is a good choice for someone who wants to take advantage of abundant vertical space. Abundant is a critical word: This trellis is more than 9 feet long from end to end if you unfold it fully.
Gardener’s Supply makes high-quality products, so this trellis will last a long time. However, large tomatoes will not do well on the trellis:
Their vines do not grow high enough to reach the top of this trellis, and the small beams — which are designed for pea vines — will not hold them up very well. But this is the perfect tool to grow gallons of cherry tomatoes along a sunny wall.
Gardener’s Blue Ribbon 3-Pack Ultomato Tomato Plant Cage
Estimated price: $30
These cages are every bit as sturdy and rugged as the Obelisk, but they don’t have the same aesthetic appeal. That’s the only major drawback, however.
The Ultomato cage will hold any type of tomato vine, no matter how heavy.
Hydrofarm HGBB4 4’ Natural Bamboo Stake, Pack Of 25
Estimated price: $12-20
You’ve probably used bamboo stakes somewhere in your garden — maybe you have some in your shed right now! Feel free to use those stakes — they are perfectly useful for tomatoes.
These Hydrofarm bamboo stakes are high-quality numbers; they could last for more than one planting season, and they look better than a lot of cheaper stakes. You will eventually have to get rid of them, but the good news is that bamboo stakes can go straight into your compost or kindling piles. They’re an affordable option for a permaculture-minded gardener.