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Gardener issues warning over the dangers of a common tomato-growing mistake: 'Why do we all have to learn this the hard way?'

"Thanks for validating my frustration…"

Gardening with tomato cages

Photo Credit: iStock

Tomatoes are a favorite of beginner gardeners. They're easily available at garden centers and relatively simple to grow. Plus, who doesn't love fresh tomatoes?

The fast-growing nature of tomatoes also means that their namesake gardening tool, the tomato cage, quickly becomes an inadequate support for the growing plant. Instagrammer Nicole (@gardenaryco) advised gardeners to skip the tomato cage stage. 

The Scoop

Nicole warned her audience that vine tomato plants speedily become so large that they tip their cages over. Don't fret if you already have tomato cages, though. Nicole says they are great for other plants. 

Tomato cages are cylindrical or cone-shaped wire forms to which the plants can attach and grow upward. Nicole suggested using them for eggplants, which have more of a bush shape and grow slower than tomatoes.

If you're wondering what to grow your tomatoes on, Nicole says trellises are better suited to the tomato's growth pattern.

How it's helping

By switching around their plants' support structures, gardeners can grow their tomatoes and eggplants more successfully, giving them a more abundant garden with an even bigger harvest.

When it comes to gardening, bigger sometimes is better. Using a garden to grow your own fruits and vegetables saves money on food and lowers your carbon footprint

What everyone's saying

The comments section is filled with other uses and further explanations for gardening with tomato cages. Many commenters noted that tomato cages are also great for peonies, zucchinis, and cucumbers.

One commenter supported Nicole's claims, saying tomatoes are "indeterminate, meaning there is no determined defined size it will stop growing at … that type of tomato is better supported by a trellis." Another replied that they "learned this the hard way this summer."

Others offered more tips for growing tomatoes, like stacking them for more height or adding wooden stakes for support. 

Nicole's tip is already helping the gardening community, with many stating they will make the switch. 

"'YES! My first year gardening, [I] bought the cages. My tomato plants are so tall! Removed the cages! … Thanks for validating my frustration with the cages," one commenter said.

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