2010 - Volume #34, Issue #3, Page #02[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Three-Way Tomato Cages
"I had been raising upside down tomatoes for about 10 years, planting them in holes at the bottom of 5-gal. buckets," says William Russell. "I finally decided to build permanent cages out of wood that let plants grow in all directions."
Russell set pressure treated 4 by 4's in holes with 2 ft. of concrete. These served as the main supports for the 18-in. wide by 26-in. long and 16-in. deep planters made from pressure treated lumber, mostly 2 by 4's and 2 by 6's with 1 by 1's for upward growing plant supports.
He used 1 by 2's and mesh wire for the cage that extends between the two end planters. Doors hinged to one side provide access.
Russell set the planters at shoulder height so they would be easy to water, yet provide plenty of room for the downward growing tomatoes. Watering was made even easier by inserting a pvc pipe into a pocket of gravel in the planter. Russell simply fills the pipe with water as needed.
"The nice thing with this setup is that there's no weeding," he says. "The only difficulty was picking the ones that grew upward. I had to stand near the top of my 6-ft. step ladder and reach as high as I could."
Last year, Russell planted Kentucky Wonder pole beans in the planters. He reports they grew 15 ft. tall and well beyond his reach. This year he plans to plant cucumbers growing upward and cherry tomatoes growing across, but nothing growing down as he has planted strawberries underneath the twin towers.
"It's a great conversation piece," reports Russell.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, William F. Russell, 2268 Gibson Circle, Sevierville, Tenn. 37876 (ph 865 428-4893).
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