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What are your recommendations for tomato supporting structures? I'd prefer not to spend a fortune on them. I'll have approximately 12-15 beefsteak tomato plants to support.

I'd even be pretty psyched to make them myself, I'm just unsure what the best material/ method is to avoid wasting time and money on a sub-par structure.

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I'm a big fan of concrete reinforcing wire, which may be what black thumb means by concrete mesh (different parts of the country, different terms for the same thing, probably). I prefer a 6 foot length because that makes a 30 inch diameter cylinder. I also put one stake inside the cylinder and use twist ties to tie it to the edge - this prevents the cylinder from blowing over due to storms, especially later in the season.

Here are two relatively poor photos to illustrate what I use (been using this setup since at least 1990):

Five foot tall tomato cage When you cut the six-foot length from the roll of mesh you buy, leave the cut pointy bits attached, then fold them over to connect the cut section into a cylinder: Detail of fold-over connection

These things last for decades!

In case anyone is interested in the blooming plant in the background, that's golden alexanders (Zizia aurea).

  • How high should the cages be? – Mathstatsstudent May 30 at 15:51
  • The standard width of the roll of reinforcing wire is five feet, so the height of each cylinder is automatically five feet. I've grown tomatoes that hit the top of the cage and cascaded down the outside another three feet, but that was a function of the variety (Blondkuepchen, a yellow German heirloom cherry tomato), not my ability to grow tomatoes. – Jurp May 31 at 1:40
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There's a few ways to do this.

Concrete mesh:

  • cut 5 foot sections of mesh
  • round over section
  • hook section onto itself
  • plant plants in the middle of the ring

Wire lines:

  • put posts in the ground about 8' apart
  • string metal wires (I'd say 1 per foot) from one end to the other
  • plant your tomatoes directly under the line
  • help weave the plants between the wires
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I use a support pole, made from wood. Very long and strong. 1 feet (or more) should be underground. And 4-7 plastic laces per plant.

This is more like professional stuff: so cheap. Weight of the plant (and tomatoes) makes slip the plant down, so if will not growth too much in height.

But now I discovered from the other answers a good alternative.

I find very good to have a sort of green-house for tomatoes, mostly in order to prevent rain and so many diseases. And so I could harvest tomatoes until end of October to mid November.

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