How to - Projects

Construct a Victorian-style tomato cage

By
Paul Lewis
Photography by
Mark Burstyn

Keep unruly plants on the straight and narrow with this elegant plant support


There are many ways to support the sprawling branches and heavy fruit of tomato plants but few are more elegant than this wood-and-wire tomato cage, which we spotted in the garden of Brock and Bonnie Young in Aurora, Ontario.

Here's what you'll need to build it:

Part: Corner posts
Size: 1 1/2" x 1 1/2" x 39 1/2"
Quantity: 4

Part: Crosspieces
Size: 1 1/2" x 1 1/2" x 12 1/2"
Quantity: 8

Part:
Top frame pieces
Size: 1 1/2" x 3 1/2" x 72"
Quantity: 4

Part: Cove moulding
Size: 1/2" x 84" *
Quantity: 1

Part: Screws
Size: #8 2 1/2" coated deck screws
Quantity: 20

Part: Nails
Size: 1 1/2" galvanized finishing nails
Quantity: 20

* Total length required. Cut to fit.

Corner posts and crosspieces
Start the project by cutting the corner posts and crosspieces to length with a handsaw. Arrange one side of the cage flat on your work surface using two corner posts and two crosspieces to form a rectangular frame.

tomato-cage-offsetscrews.jpgDrill a 1/8”-diameter hole to prevent the wood from splitting before attaching these pieces together with one #8 2 1/2”-long coated deck screw at each corner. Offset the screws slightly so they don't collide as the sides are assembled. Apply a dab of weatherproof carpenter's glue to each joint before joining two frame members together (refer to the diagram).

Once you've completed two frames, join them together with the remaining crosspieces. Attach the crosspieces to the finished sides with screws and glue. Now you'll see why offset screws are so important.

 

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