Stake base for Earth Box - self-made systems for staking plants

PVC over rebar

Drive a 2 ft rebar 1 ft in the ground (use hammer). Slide 1/2 PVC pipe over the rebar (5 ft).

The Home Depot sells each rebar for approximately $2 (pre-cut at 2 ft). The PVC pipe is close to $2 (10 ft). You will need to a PVC pipe cutter to cut the 10 ft pipe in half.


Weyerhaeuser 1/2 in. x 2 ft. Rebar - Model # 05152 at The Home Depot
1/2" x 24" Steel Rebar at Menards
1/2-in x 1-1/2-ft Steel Rebar Pin at

1/2 in. x 10 ft. PVC Sch. 40 Plain-End Pipe-530048 at The Home Depot
Schedule 40 Solid Core Pipe-1/2"x10' at Menards
Charlotte Pipe 1/2-in x 10-ft 600 PSI Schedule 40 PVC Pressure Pipe at

1/2 in. PVC Schedule 40 Pressure S x S Elbow-406-005HC at The Home Depot

Alternatively, just buy one piece 6 ft metal pole from Lowe's: Garden Plus 72-in Metal Landscape Stake at

From Yahoo Voices:

You will need:

- 1/2 inch PVC pipe, 10 feet long. 3 each for each tomato plant
- PVC primer and glue, 1 small can each
- Hacksaw with blade to cut the pipe
- 3/8 inch drill bit and drill to make holes in PVC
- Heavy gauge wire or sisal rope for sides
- 4 PVC furniture fittings for top ½ inch 3-way corner fittings
- 1/2 inch rebar, 2 feet long, 4 each per plant cage
- Using hacksaw, cut 2 of the 1/2 PVC pipes in half. Cut the 3rd pipe evenly into 4 pieces.

Drill holes every 8 inches from the top to the bottom of the pipe. Perfect alignment between all the pipes is not essential. If a jig (a tool to hold the pipe being drilled) is needed, take a scrap piece of 1/4 about a foot long, and screw or nail two scrap pieces of furring strips the width of the pipe apart, making a trench the pipe will sit in while it's being drilled. A simple spring clamp will hold the pipe in place while drilling.

For the top, use the furniture fittings and the four lengths from the third pipe to form a top with the bottom fitting being open. This allows for removal and storage later. Dry fit the pieces together. If satisfied, glue the pieces together. Do not glue the pieces to the top.

After glue dries, place top over 4 sides and mark placement in garden. Drive the 4 pieces of rebar 1 foot into the ground, leaving a 1- foot tall stake to fit the PVC pipe onto. This will hold in very heavy weather.

Thread the wire or rope through the holes in the PVC. You have completed your very own PVC tomato cage for very little cost per plant. It's tall enough to hold most tomato plants, and several can be tied or wired together to hold an entire row of plants.

Some additional points: Leave it up and drape with 6 mil plastic for a small greenhouse over the winter or to start your tomato plants early. No need for additional water towers, etc.

Here are some suggestions for different self-made staking kits for Earth Box (they should work with Growums boxes as well). The suggestions are from Earth Box forum and the references are provided below.

PVC stake base

Approximate costs are:

- 10 foot piece of 3/4" PVC (you will need a few of these), about $2
- T shaped 3/4" PVC connector (3 way), about 25 cents each (bag of 25 was less than $6)
- Cross shaped 3/4" PVC connector (4 way) - $2 ("Why this thing so expensive compared to the other stuff")
- What would be very helpful is a PVC cutter, it looks like a pruning shear, but ratcheting and made for PVC, about $10.

Here is a photo:

Here is another option - materials:

- 3 - 1” x 10' lengths of PVC was $2.19 each at Home Depot.
- 10 - T fittings, 56 cents each,
- 4 End caps .51 each.
- Two 90° Els .44 each.

Total cost was $16, add the cost of the twine

230 Ft. Heavy Duty Polypropylene Twine Model # 540 was $3

For tomatoes, use sturdy steaks and do a Florida weave.

EMT conduit as staking system

EMT conduit is used for electrical wiring. It is a galvanized metal tubing that is strong, easy to cut, comes in 10 ft lengths for about $6, and the 1/2" size is actually more like 5/8" diameter. Available at Lowe's and Home Depot.

Using straight and elbow connectors, you do not need to worry about bending it.

PVC photos for Tom - Growing Tomatoes Forum - GardenWeb
Staking Tomato Plants with Rebar | Home Guides | SF Gate
Tom Matkey PVC Tomato Cages
DIY: Build an Easy PVC Tomato Cage - Yahoo! Voices -

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