Imperialboy
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EarthTainer Cage Support System?

https://earthtainer.tomatofest.com/pdfs/EarthTainer-Construction-Guide.pdf

About half way through the entire .PDF file is where the cage system begins.
The cage system costs roughly $28 + shipping. Then additional ~$12 for the wire rope clips. As well as your time and effort to make it (It seems like the cage is the hardest part on making the EarthTainer)

That costs too much for me right now. And I would rather just make another EarthTainer with the money there instead of a cage.

Any ideas for a cage support system that will work well in the EarthTainer?
  • - Wooden stakes, put into the EarthTainer before soil put in
    - Tomato Cages, put into the EarthTainer before soil put in.

Imperialboy
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Any ideas?

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Kisal
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I don't have time to look at the pdf, and I don't use earthtainers, just regular round nursery pots. As I recall, the earthtainer, or at least the homemade versions I've seen, is rectangular. What about placing a wooden stake in each corner as the planter is filled with soil. Use sturdy twin to tie them together parallel to the sides of the container, running the first level of twine about 3 or 4 inches above the rim of the container, with additional courses about 6 or 8 inches apart up the length of the stake. You could even run a couple of pieces of twine diagonally across the container, to stabilize the stakes even more.

Sorry, I can't draw you a picture, as again, I'm about to leave for an appointment. Maybe Eric will drop in and offer a plan with some pics for you. :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

Imperialboy
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Kisal wrote:I don't have time to look at the pdf, and I don't use earthtainers, just regular round nursery pots. As I recall, the earthtainer, or at least the homemade versions I've seen, is rectangular. What about placing a wooden stake in each corner as the planter is filled with soil. Use sturdy twin to tie them together parallel to the sides of the container, running the first level of twine about 3 or 4 inches above the rim of the container, with additional courses about 6 or 8 inches apart up the length of the stake. You could even run a couple of pieces of twine diagonally across the container, to stabilize the stakes even more.

Sorry, I can't draw you a picture, as again, I'm about to leave for an appointment. Maybe Eric will drop in and offer a plan with some pics for you. :)
So then the twine runs the perimeter of the container.
But then how does that support the plants?

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Kisal
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Yes, it follows the perimeter. I would use something like that green plastic plant tie tape to tie the branches to the twine and to the corner stakes. Just tie the branches that need support to whatever is nearest to them, i.e. twine or stake.

If you wanted to build a rigid cage, you could follow the same idea as I described earlier, but use strips of something line 1 x 1 screwed or nailed to the corner stakes, in place of the twine.

I really do have to leave in about 15 minutes. If you need more help and no one else stops by, I'll try to draw a sketch when I get home this evening, and scan it for you. Okay? :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

Imperialboy
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No rush Kisal.
If you could get a sketch that'd be great.

Thanks

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Kisal
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I'll do my best. I'm no great shakes as an artist, but I think I can draw a diagram of what I'm envisioning for this. :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

DoubleDogFarm
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I-Boy,

Here is a very crude drawing of my interpretation of Kisal's idea.

The corner post will need to be secured at the top of the box. If the legs are not secured all the forces will pull the legs inward.

[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h300/eric_wa/Topbmp-3.jpg[/img]

Eric

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Kisal
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Thank you so much for doing the sketch, Eric! I really appreciate that! :)

You're right about securing the stakes at the corners if using twine for the horizontals. I overlooked that detail.

If a rigid frame were made, using the 1 x 1 strips or something similar, especially if the diagonals were included, then it probably wouldn't be absolutely necessary to attach the corner stakes to the container, right?

The "cage" could probably be made out of any sturdy material, even lightweight pvc pipe or 1/2" diameter aluminum tubing, using carriage bolts as connectors.

I'm not terrifically skilled at woodworking, so I tend to use pvc or aluminum tubing for these types of constructions. Such materials would last almost indefinitely, could be sterilized if ever necessary, and would be easy to dismantle for storage during the off season. (Of course, a wood structure could be assembled with bolts, too. I suppose I just like working with pvc and aluminum. The ability to sterilize the material was always important to me, since most of what I built was for wild animals, and sometimes the only way to kill an infectious agent was to go over the structure with a blowtorch. :lol: )
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

Imperialboy
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Eric the new Helpful Gardener Forum Artist!
I'm still confused. If I use that design. The plants would be "contained" within that perimeter. How do you attach the plants to the support system?

Imperialboy
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And here is a crude-ier version.
[img]https://i56.tinypic.com/72yn38.png[/img]

The blue is cable ties to support the stakes to the container.
As I was saying above ^^. The green plant is within the perimeter support system. Thus it doesn't actually touch and support the plant?

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Kisal
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You tie them. As I mentioned in my earlier post, I use that green plastic plant-tie tape that is sold just about everywhere these days. You can use strips of old T-shirts or socks or nylon stockings, instead, if you prefer. You just need to use something that is soft and stretchy, to avoid damaging the "skin" of the plant.

Many times, you can just lay the stem that needs support over one of the horizontals.

There isn't any "formula" or "rule" about the concept, that I know of. When you look at your plant and see a stem or branch that is hanging down, especially if it's touching the ground, you just prop it up. If you can manipulate the stem or branch, without causing damage, into a position where it lies across a horizontal piece of the support, and that is enough to solve the problem, then that's all you need to do. You can stop there and consider the problem solved.

Otherwise, you can tie a piece of soft, stretchy material loosely around the stem/branch, and then tie it to one of the upright stakes or to one of the horizontals, whichever happens to be most convenient. :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

Imperialboy
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Alrighty. So in the early you don't even need to tie them yet anyways right?
So I wait then a stem extends or begins to hang down then I stick it through between 2 twine segments and tie if needed.

Do you think I should add an additional stake in the middle for each plant?
So a middle stake to tie the main stem to, then the side stems through the twines.

I use twine to tie around the perimeter right?

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Kisal
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Imperialboy wrote:Alrighty. So in the early you don't even need to tie them yet anyways right?
So I wait then a stem extends or begins to hang down then I stick it through between 2 twine segments and tie if needed.
Exactly! :)
Do you think I should add an additional stake in the middle for each plant?
So a middle stake to tie the main stem to, then the side stems through the twines.
That would work, and in fact, is pretty much what I do with my containers. I insert a central stake at the time I pot up the plant, and tie the main stem of the plant to the stake. As the plant grows, I add anywhere from one to three stakes out at the edges of the container, but only if the plant seems to need additional support. I add the outer stakes one at a time, as necessary. Sometimes a plant won't need any, sometimes it only needs one, sometimes it needs more.

If it turns out that I need to add all 3 outer stakes, I arrange them in a triangle around the central stake. Then, I either tie the branches to the stakes, or sometimes, I use twine or the green plastic plant-tie tape to create horizontal supports between the stakes. It varies with each plant, depending on how the plant develops and how much support it needs.

My only concern about a central stake in the earthtainer would be in regard to the depth of the planting mix. I don't know how deep it will be, since ... unless I'm mistaken ... part of the depth of the container is devoted to a water reservoir. Am I visualizing the earthtainer correctly? Will the planting medium be deep enough to support a central stake?
I use twine to tie around the perimeter right?
Correct. :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

Imperialboy
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Is there an necessary amount needed? Yes the about 5" high is the water reservoir. So the medium should be around 10" max. 12" inch max

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Kisal
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Well, I use 6' to 7' tall stakes, except for patio type varieties, which are bred to be smaller. I don't think a 6' tall stake would be very stable in just 12" of soil. There's probably a way to remedy the situation, but I don't know of it. As I mentioned earlier, I don't use earthtainers or anything like them. (I haven't had success with self-watering containers in the past, so I don't bother with them anymore.) I just use large nursery containers filled with soil, which gives me 14 to 16 inches of soil depth.

One solution might be to make an X of a couple of strips of wood ... maybe something like 1 x 2s. Nail them to the bottom, as is done for a Christmas tree. Cut the strips of wood the same length as the diagonal measurement of the bottom of your container. Put that in the container on top of the top of the water reservoir, then fill the container with your planting mix. I'm not sure that would work, but it's all that comes to mind at the moment.

Maybe you should do a search of this forum for earthtainer. I know there has been quite a bit of discussion about the subject here, including how to install stakes.

Here is one link I found, but there are more. Also search for the term earthbox, which is the same concept as earthtainer. Sorry I can't be of more help on this.

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=70952&highlight=earthtainer#70952
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Is that your final answer? Yes, A: Final answer.

[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h300/eric_wa/Topbmp-4.jpg[/img]
What a funny looking picture this is. :(

Eric

Imperialboy
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Worst case is I just use tomato cages and put tho to the bottom.
DoubleDog how do I attach the stakes to the point where it touches the container?

I'm going to search now and I'll hopefully come back with some new ideas.

Seems like he only uses one stake? I could also adapt with that trellis twine type thing?
Last edited by Imperialboy on Thu Feb 24, 2011 5:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

DoubleDogFarm
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Its a four legged teepee. The legs are inside the box. No need to attach.


Eric

Imperialboy
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So DD the stakes touch the bottom corners of the container right? Not like the photo top corners?

[img]https://i291.photobucket.com/albums/ll301/earthworm73/may2008037.jpg[/img]

^^ His trellis is kind of a homemade version of this bottom link? Which is what they use for Earthboxes.

[url=https://www.kmart.com/shc/s/p_10151_10104_260EBXRBSSTRCCP4P?vName=Appliances&cName=SmallKitchenAppliances&sName=Specialty&ci_src=64119933&ci_sku=260EBXRBSSTRCCP4P&aff=Y&sid=KAx20061023x272xTier3]Earthway TerraCotta Staking System[/url]

OR

Supported with clips like https://www.johnnyseeds.com/p-6245-tomato-trellis-clips.aspx

Or use that trellis and use a Florida Weave
Last edited by Imperialboy on Sat Feb 26, 2011 12:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

Imperialboy
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Dunno what's the best method now and most economical.
New ideas?

Imperialboy
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Any new ideas?
Would the teepee work well? What if the plant grows above the tip of the teepee?

Imperialboy
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Imperialboy wrote:So DD the stakes touch the bottom corners of the container right? Not like the photo top corners?

[img]https://i291.photobucket.com/albums/ll301/earthworm73/may2008037.jpg[/img]

^^ His trellis is kind of a homemade version of this bottom link? Which is what they use for Earthboxes.

[url=https://www.kmart.com/shc/s/p_10151_10104_260EBXRBSSTRCCP4P?vName=Appliances&cName=SmallKitchenAppliances&sName=Specialty&ci_src=64119933&ci_sku=260EBXRBSSTRCCP4P&aff=Y&sid=KAx20061023x272xTier3]Earthway TerraCotta Staking System[/url]

OR

Supported with clips like https://www.johnnyseeds.com/p-6245-tomato-trellis-clips.aspx

Or use that trellis and use a Florida Weave
Anyone?
Will the teepee method work best?

Imperialboy
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.
?

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