Working full time and taking weekend classes led me to forgo any big gardening plans this year. Nature had other ideas. What started as a tiny volunteer tomato plant growing by the driveway inside a normal cage, turned into the monster of all paste tomato vines...vastly outgrowing the cage and threatening to overtake the driveway!
I doubt I'm the only one who has dealt with a seemingly out of control tomato plant at some time in my gardening adventures. Usually it's in a more convenient spot, or I'm anticipating the possibility of explosive growth and have time to plan for it. I began brainstorming ideas for DIY an adjustable tomato cage to build around the monster vine, but limited time and space got the better of me. Thankfully, an internet search led me to the Ultomato cage. Here's a great video showing how easy it is to install:
Though, instead of the garden twine or stretch tie that William Moss uses in the video, I use a twist on his grandpa's approach by using strips of old cotton t-shirt material to tie the vines without harming them.
One set is currently containing the bursting plant, but I will need to pick up at least one more to see it through the season, although I'm really trying to save the existing plants that the tomato is choking out.
As I was pruning the vine to get it safely inside the Ultomato, about 5 pounds of green tomatoes fell off. Not wanting to waste them, I solicited ideas from friends on what to do. Those ideas will be in another post later in the week.
The Ultomato system is available for as little as $6.49 from Ace Hardware and is widely available at local hardware stores and online.
(Image: Michelle Chin, Video: AvanteGardenDecor)