In my area, the tomatoes and cucumbers plants are starting to take off and are in desperate need of some additional support. After walking the aisles of my local home improvement store I couldn’t make myself pay the $15-30 for a single support. Sure they look real pretty but at that price it could take a few seasons to even break even for an inexpensive vegetable like cucumbers.
For this build I wanted something that was inexpensive and would be strong and hold up for years to come. My first thought was cattle panels they are made of 1/4 inch steel. You can find them even thicker if you want, but this size was perfect for my needs and is much easier to work with.
Note: For those observant people out there you may see some similarities between the cucumber/tomato cage and my pea tower…well they are the same thing and in my case I even reused my pea trellis tower to use with my cucumbers when my peas stopped producing. So this is a great multi-tasker in the garden.
First I started with a 4 foot by 8 foot cattle panel which ran me about $6 at Home Depot.
Given the panel had sharp edges and my largest vehicle is a pretty new minivan with leather seats I planned ahead and started the construction in the Home Depot parking lot (yeah got a couple funny looks) Taking a piece of scrap lumber I brought with me, I placed it on the 5th cross section on one side and bent it up until it was perpendicular to the ground then repeated with the other side.
The I carefully placed the bent panel into my minivan and brought it home for the remaining construction which pretty much was adding a zip tie in the middle to make a isosceles triangle and then tucked both ends to interweave with the other open side of the tower.
Next I used some pliers to not have as many sharp pointy parts for my kids…probably more likely me to poke myself with and also filed down any ends that seemed overly sharp. If you happen to have an angle grinder this would be a great way to quickly take care of these
Now you have everything constructed all you need to do is carefully place this over your tomato or cucumber plants and they shouldn’t have any problems climbing up this structure. I also just used my foot to push the pointy ends on the bottom into the ground to provide some additional support.
You might also see in this case I am also using a self watering 5 gallon bucket for my planter for this cucumber plant which has been working awesome. Just top off the water every few days and every two weeks include a little fish fertilizer in with the water to keep the growth vigorous.
Due to the size and shape of this design it should remain very stable the entire season and many more to come and at just $5-6 a piece and about 5 minutes of work a great value as well.