DIY Tomato Cages and Natural Gopher Control

Make tomato cages from field tile cores and create hawk habitat for natural gopher control, courtesy of our friends at Farm Show.

| January/February 2013

  • Tomato Cage
    Jordan and Ann Qualm save the heavy plastic field tile cores, cutting them into 20-inch lengths to create tomato cages.
    Photo Courtesy Farm Show
  • Hawk Platform
    As a form of natural gopher control, utility poles fitted with nesting platforms are used to attract hawks.
    Photo Courtesy Farm Show

  • Tomato Cage
  • Hawk Platform

Tile Cores Make Great Tomato Cages

If you or your neighbors are having field tile work done this fall, you may want to save the plastic core that the tile comes on. Jordan and Ann Qualm of Sherman, South Dakota, cut the heavy plastic into 20-inch lengths to create cages for some of their tomato plants.

“The plants with the tubes have grown more upright and don’t have a mess of vines like the plants without,” Jordan Qualm notes. “With these tubes there’s no need for wire cages, in my opinion.”

In the spring, the black color warmed the ground and plants to give them a good start, and despite a hot summer, the dark color didn’t seem to add heat stress. Instead, the cores helped shade the plants and hold water. The plants in the core tubes were the first to have ripe tomatoes, which are easier to pick as they cascade over the side of the tubes.

Instead of setting plants 2 feet apart, the Qualms plant them about 3 feet apart.

Qualm used a reciprocating saw to cut the 18-inch-diameter cores and plans to make more for next year’s garden.

For more information, send a letter to Jordan at 48782 252nd St., Sherman, SD 57030, or call 605-594-2290.
5/15/2018 7:26:45 PM

I used the plans at WWW.EASYWOODWORK.ORG to build my own tomato cages – I highly recommend you visit that website and check their plans out too. They are detailed and super easy to read and understand unlike several others I found online. The amount of plans there is mind-boggling… there’s like 16,000 plans or something like that for tons of different projects. Definitely enough to keep me busy with projects for many more years to come haha Go to WWW.EASYWOODWORK.ORG if you want some additional plans :)



September 12-13, 2019
Seven Springs, Pennsylvania

Fermentation Frenzy! is produced by Fermentation magazine in conjunction with the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR. This one-and-a-half day event is jam-packed with fun and informative hands-on sessions.


Live The Good Life with GRIT!

Grit JulAug 2016At GRIT, we have a tradition of respecting the land that sustains rural America. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing to GRIT through our automatic renewal savings plan. By paying now with a credit card, you save an additional $6 and get 6 issues of GRIT for only $16.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and send me one year of GRIT for just $22.95!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds

click me