Tomato Cages Vs Tomato Ladders and Conserving Rain Water

We use rain water to water the garden and don't want to waste it by watering everything else. I went to Home Depot and bought a 10 foot piece of 3" rigid PVC and 3 caps to fit. I cut it into 3 foot pieces and then put a cap on one end of each of the pieces and tapped them on the ground to seat the cap tightly. You don't need any PVC glue for this.
I took my 1/8" drill bit and drilled 3 holes in the cap end of the PVC, about 1" from the end of the cap. I drilled them at an upward angle so that the water would come out down instead of up like a little fountain. I then put one tube in each tomato cage and filled the tubes with water. They work great! It's like a drip system in that the water goes right into the ground slowly at the base of the plants, it doesn't spread all over and water the mulch, and it doesn't get the leaves wet so I don't have to worry about fungus on the tomatoes.
In retrospect, I think I could have cut the tubes into 2 foot lengths and saved some money, but this was an experiment. Next year I am going to buy 2" PVC and see how that size works.
I experimented with my tomatoes this year. I have cages that I made and ladders. I made tomato ladders instead of cages for some of the tomatoes. I got the plans from another blog I subscribe to called "Survival Sherpa at SurvivalSherpa (at) gmail (dot) com." I took his ladders one step further and painted them bright colors. You still need to put in a center stake for the tomatoes to stand upright, but otherwise you use the ladders like cages. When the season is done, they fold up like regular ladders and store in the garage for the next year.
Tube ready to go.
Tubes in the tomato cages.
It was easier to show how they work by watering the marigolds surrounding the garden bed.
Tomato ladders before being painted. I made them out of poplar and pine. The ladder on the right has the brace that keep it open to the size you need it. That comes off and you can fold the ladders up.
Ladders after being painted. I have 4 of them. The 4th one is in another bed behind me.
Ladders and tubes in the garden and looking good.

Frequently asked questions

Have a question about this project?

3 of 9 questions
  • Susan Susan on Jun 28, 2019

    How do you keep the ladders from blowing over in a windy storm?

  • Angela Angela on Aug 28, 2019

    I love this idea. I’m going to try buckets next year because it seems no matter where I plant in my yard I get blight. I’ve rotated, etc. Any tips. And should I grow from seeds instead of plants? Help!

  • Jamie Hyde Jamie Hyde on Sep 18, 2019

    Did you use any kind off dirt

Comments

Join the conversation

4 of 85 comments
  • Holly Cooley Holly Cooley on Feb 13, 2020

    Looks great! Love the idea of conserving rainwater. Love the ladder idea too and the bright colors make it fun! So just to be sure I understand you fill each pvc tube with rain water and move on to the next. This sounds like a time saver as well as a water saver!! Do you find it’s much faster to get the watering done?

    • See 1 previous
    • Gail Murphy Gail Murphy on Mar 24, 2021

      Put a cap on top of watering tube

  • Pat White Pat White on Apr 19, 2020

    My grandpa used to use old metal cans with holes poked in them. The metal attracts the electricity in the air which aids in plant growth ALONG WITH CAPTURING WATER More over , you’ve kept some cans out of the trash. Use, reuse and REUSE :). Love the thought.

Next