tomato waiting

It seems extra long this year, waiting for the red tomatoes.  Growers in other parts of the country proudly show off their ripe, red fruits, but here it’s just tap tap tapping my toes, waiting.  Finally today I saw my first blush of orange.

Not a huge deal.  I got a late start, and then the seedling had to be nursed through some extra cool weeks at the beginning of the season.  But all that fretting about whether the plants had been sitting too long, whether they were too leggy to thrive?  I forgot about it a couple of weeks into June.

the best tomato cages...concrete reinforcing wire

the best tomato cages…concrete reinforcing wire

As in most things in life, there are as many ways to cultivate tomatoes as there are growers.  For me, using 5′ concrete reinforcing wire cages is indispensable.  The 2 1/2′ wide cages are strong enough to withstand monster plants, the openings are plenty big enough to get hands in and tomatoes out.  And it keeps the plants up off the ground, away from soil-borne nasties.

I’ve been babying the plants along, spraying them with worm tea, aspirin and epsom salt solution every so often.  With the soggy soil, I’m just waiting for the blight to swoop in.  But so far, so good…


Cherokee Purple #1 tomato


German Johnson Pink


Cherokee Purple #2 tomato

16 thoughts on “tomato waiting

  1. Lookin’ good! They’re growing here too but I haven’t used the super heavy duty caging. What do you apply to keep the bacterial/fungal diseases away? Copper something something???


    • Mike, I use a crushed plain aspirin tablet dissolved in water stayed on the leaves once every couple of weeks, which is supposed to boost the tomato plants’ immune system. I’ve also used Neem oil (an organic extract fro a tree). That being said, keeping the leaves from contact with the soil and splashing might be most effective. I try to trim off any branches that show yellowing or spots immediately too. Not a fool-proof strategy by any means, but as long as I get tomatoes, I’m happy.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I only have about 10 plants so I’ve been diligently removing leaves that are within about a foot of the ground. I noticed yesterday a few yellow spots so I’m hoping nothing develops.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I love your tomato cages! I need to make a few of these for next year. Those flimsy ones from the store don’t hold weight very well. We have only just started to get red tomatoes in, but we have a lot of green and have been enjoying some fried green tomatoes!

    Liked by 1 person

    • haha, I remember envying the pics of your gardens all winter Julie. 🙂 And I don’t think you’d regret trying the concrete reinforcing wire cages. They really do a great job.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful! Those are some pretty slicers. Great tip about the cages — I think I know what I’ll be making in the off-season. I’ve been using 6-ft T-posts and strapping smaller mesh (my small hands can reach through), but yours is a much better arrangement.

    Yes, our tomatoes are finally winding down. Only Romas and cherries in my garden to keep the leaf-footers under control. I am quite jealous of your slicers. I use the Romas as ‘bait’ leaving the cherries bug free for frequent picking. In another week, the 8-ft vines will get ripped up and mulch-mowed. Time to start thinking about fall here already! Cheers, Dan. Hope the blight remains absent.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 8′ Vines…Wowsah! That’s the one drawback I’ve seen with these cages, that they’re only 5′ tall, so it’s easy to have the tops of the plants bending over the tops of the cages. But I’ve been using them for 10+ years and they’re still structurally as sturdy as when they were new, even storing them outside year-round. Enjoy your Romas while they’re here:)


      • That’s the main reason I like your sturdier cages. Mine always bend over the tops at 4-ft and threaten to pull them over as they stretch around the OUTSIDE. I also like how you store them outside, using them for yard waste. Such a clever Wile E. guy. 😀

        You know, without the mechanical methods that destroy the mycorrhizal fungi ‘bed’ below the surface, the tap roots on these babies get to 2-ft long. Perhaps one day I’ll convince you to become a no-till convert. You are levels above me in the know-how department, Dan. I’d love to see how that rich Michigan soil would do against our clay gumbo!

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      • Haha, I know you’re absolutely right about not disturbing the soil being better for the plants. I’m still mulling the benefits vs. the practicality of doing that more in my garden. When you do things one way for so long, it’s tough to change. But I hear and believe what you’re saying 🙂


  4. I used these also but cut them in half which was not a good idea as the plants quickly grew over the tops of the cages. This year I am trying a sort of fence or trellis where the plants are laced in between alternating poles. So far, so good.

    The short cages now hold up peonies.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That sounds like a neat idea! I have a couple of the half-cages too. They’re great for zucchini plants. They keep the leaves off the ground away from evil bugs and splashes.

      Liked by 1 person

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