Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A Fence For The Tomatoes

Nothing says summer garden like a freshly picked tomato.

Although I grow different varieties of red tomatoes, yellow ones are my favorite!

If you grow tomatoes in your garden, you probably know the frustration that comes with trying to keep the plant from falling over.

We have tried different things over the years:

Tomato cages
The cages tend to crowd the plants, making it harder to harvest.

Being crowded inside the wire structure decreases the air circulation to the plant.  This makes the plant susceptible to pests and disease.

The weight of the plant would sometime weigh down the wire cage and they would end up on the ground.  This also makes the fruit more susceptible to pests and disease.

Tomato stakes (wood or metal)
Stakes with string/rope/pantyhose/yarn (you get the idea) holding the plant upright is another strategy that we have tried.

As the plant would grow, the string would need to be adjusted and more string would need to be added.

Another problem with this method is that the plants grew too large to stay upright on the stake, again tumbling over to the ground.

So this year we are using my Dad's method.

Cattle Fence 
This method allows the tomato plants to spread out as needed, while growing up and entwined in the fence.

We used cattle fence because we had some leftover from fencing in our pasture.
What my Dad uses are cattle fence panels.

You can purchase cattle fence panels that are 50'' tall, 16' in length.
The fence has 10 horizontal wires running the length of the panel, making it ideal for tomatoes to grow on and through.

Using a post drive, set the posts into the ground approximately a foot for stability.
Space the posts 5 to 6 feet apart.
(5 ft. if you are using 16 ft. panels, 6 ft. if you are using fencing).

Stretch the fence and tie onto the posts, using metal wire for strength and stability.
Wire together as many panels as you need for your garden size.
(Or cut the fence to your desired length.)

We installed the fence shortly after planting the tomato plants.
Stretching the fence on the left of one plant then the right side of the next plant and so on.

As the plants grow, 'train' them to weave in and out of the fence.

Use string for extra support if needed.

Depending on the expectant size of your plant, you can plant up to three plants per 6 feet of fencing.
Cherry/Grape tomatoes take up a lot of room, so I would only do one plant per 6 foot section.

Using this method not only keeps the tomatoes healthier, but also allows me to see the tomatoes more easily.

Hopefully I will be eating fried green tomatoes soon!


  1. Good morning, LL !
    I agree fresh vine ripened tomatoes taste so much better, and I can't wait to see the ones you harvest! My mother loves the little lemon yellow pear tomatoes! Great idea to use cattle fence, I've never liked tomatoe cages! My tomatoe plants always looked squished and unhappy!
    Have a beautiful day! ~CB

  2. Hello Lori, Oh wow thank you for sharing this ideal. Crazy enough I have use the cages and stalks no luck with keep them up. Oh honey I need some cattle fencing and post. How is your weather? We have had rain for most of June. This week rain and flooding is expected.

    1. Hi Teresa,
      Using the cattle fence really makes a difference in how the tomatoes can spread out to grow! I hope you try it. We have had lots of rain, which makes it hard to work in a muddy garden, but things are growing well.

  3. You know I had that happen to me with the weight of the tomatoes pulling down the cages last year. I like your Dad's way of doing things and maybe we just might have to implement it. I'm stuck though now the tomatoes are in the cages with a few tomatoes already getting big. Have a great day

  4. Great idea! I'm envious of your maters, as it's one crop I've never been very successful with. Enjoy your yummy summer fruit!

  5. Bardzo dobry pomysł. Pozdrawiam :)

    1. Thanks Katie. The tomatoes are really stretching out and grow well.

  6. Hopefully you will be eating red, ripe tomatoes soon! Great idea for fencing for the tomatoes.

  7. Nothing better than home grown produce.

  8. I love fresh tomatoes and it looks like you've got a great crop growing there. Can't say I've ever eaten a yellow tomato before. The cattle fencing seems to be working out just fine.

  9. grea idea and looks like a bumper crop coming soon

  10. This is awesome! I think we will try this next year.

  11. Great idea! I have some fencing that is appropriate for goats that I was thinking of doing the same thing with. What I think will help me (though it looks like you already understand this principle) is to remove the suckers from the plant, which causes them to be much less full and crowded. I went to a friend's house a few days ago and she had a tomato plant full of beautiful red fruit with just one main stem, so no real issue with using one of those tomato cage-type staking apparatus (3 tall sticks with plastic spacers). I have a couple of those, so I'll probably try that with them, but for the plants that I want more than one main stem (if that makes sense), I'd use the cattle (goat) panel idea.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Kristi@Stone Family Farmstead


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