Taiji
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3 Projects for the Winter

10 new tomato cages, 4 ft. high; 2 and 1/2 feet diameter; each with their own 6 foot stake in the middle. I had this field fence laying around. I want to be able to harvest tomatoes more easily and have them take up a little less space! ( I liked Gary's idea of a cage with a stake!) (See, I pay attention sometimes :D )
tomato cage 2.JPG
A protective cage 4 feet wide; 2 feet high; 6 feet long. I used scrap lumber and 1/2 inch aviary netting that I already had. This is mostly for Swiss Chard and Beets. The birds around here devastate those 2 plants especially. It's lightweight so easy to lift and stand up in the walkway while harvesting or working the bed.
protective cage.JPG
I'm a glutton for punishment, so I made 3 new garden beds for next season, 4 feet wide by about 13 feet long all in a new enclosure. They are on the south side of the building. Still waiting for the rye to sprout after about 2 or 3 weeks; it's been wet and cold; hope the seed didn't rot in the ground. :? It is a little late to be planting it though.
new beds 2.JPG

ccar2000
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Re: 3 Projects for the Winter

Nice! I have too many project and am feeling overwhelmed about it. I just need to "get to it" Thanks for the inspiration.
“Everything will be all right in the end... if it's not all right then it's not yet the end”. Sonny: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Asica
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Re: 3 Projects for the Winter

I think, I will steal your idea for tomatoes. This may help me with the rats eating tomatoes too.

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jal_ut
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Re: 3 Projects for the Winter

Winter projects? For me that means remove snow. This morning another 3 inches.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

imafan26
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Re: 3 Projects for the Winter

Nice. I make my tomato cages with 7 ft tall CRW and the tomatoes still spill over the top. four foot ones will work but you will have more tomatoes hanging over. Birds are a problem for me too and I have to put bird netting over my tomatoes or they will eat every large one. They eat the cherries too, but there are too many of them so I actually get a few of those.

I wish I had more space, but then I would have to deal with more weeds.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

bri80
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Re: 3 Projects for the Winter

Looks good! I was thinking about making something very much like your protective covering for chard/beets, but with shade cloth, to protect lettuce/broccoli during hot spells. We generally have mild summers but lately have been getting several spells of really hot weather that tend to trigger bolting.

jasonvanorder
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Re: 3 Projects for the Winter

Looks good with the cages. I saw a video on youtube using bailing twine and a stake at each end of the row and use that to weave or tie the tomatoes up. Looked pretty neat but the size plants I grow it would never hold up. So new cages are on my list. Along with a trellis for the cukes and beans. But thats after I work on filling the 4 4'x10' raised beds I built this fall.

The garlic man
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Re: 3 Projects for the Winter

I love this idea! I have been working on some new trellis's and cages this winter and I really like the idea of a "hands-off," no-fuss method of supporting tomatoes and cucumbers for easy support and picking. (Little or no tying.) Your wire cages seem like a great way to accomplish this. Thanks.

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digitS'
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Re: 3 Projects for the Winter

That's probably the "Florida Weave," you are talking about, Jason'.

I've done that and the livestock fencing and stake. Then, I used 2 stakes, then 3. Wind! It looks like "Gary's Idea" is to tie the plant to the stake, not the fencing ... that should put less weight on the downwind side of the cage for me.

Wind didn't seem to be much of a problem with the Florida Weave. I bet it could be if all my plants were above 7'! But no, early season weather and cool night temperatures throughout -- limits tomato plant growth. I remember a neighbor putting a plant in his yard and telling me it was a tomato variety that was supposed to grow above 5' but that he had never seen a tomato plant that tall. I'd never grown my tomatoes on the other side of his fence while he briefly lived there. I didn't suggest that he drive several miles to see my 5' plus tomato plants but ... I doubt if he would have been very impressed ;).

Sprawl is what I've gone for lately and it doesn't work so well. I use the excuse that there are too many plants to bother with but that isn't necessarily true. It's disappointing to have otherwise nice fruit damaged because it's lying on the soil. Mulching takes work, too. Then, I get voles under it! No, I should go back to a reasonable way of tying them up!

Steve
Last edited by digitS' on Tue Jan 10, 2017 9:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks

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applestar
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Re: 3 Projects for the Winter

I use french/florida weave up to the rung of string tied to top of the 6 foot in the ground fence posts (T-posts or doubled 7/8" bamboo stakes), but the vines are not only supported upward but also twisted and tied along each of the upper string rungs (kind of like grape vines I guess), including the tallest/longest vines that grow beyond the 6 foot limit along the upper-most to more like 8-9 feet.

I grow them too close and don't have the space for sufficiently sized cages and I also begrudge the in-between spaces while the tomato seedlings/plants are smaller and prefer to plant stuff like peas, greens, onions, bush beans, etc. that will be harvested by the time the tomatoes and roots get big enough to be using the space.

Best way for success with this method is to do your research and intersperse the tallest growing varieties so they don't run into each other as they snake along the top-most rungs, plant the shorter indeterminates that wont grow more than the 6 foot height, and some extra early determinates that will "finish up and die" on sunnier side of the trellis and in between.

The "research" is part of *my* winter project list. :wink:
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

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digitS'
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Re: 3 Projects for the Winter

Florida!!!

Yes -- thank You, AppleStar!

French is the hair braiding... 8) I edited.

Steve's digitS', oh no, his brain would never make that mistake ... twirling a loose strand of hair ...
We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks

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sweetiepie
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Re: 3 Projects for the Winter

I am on the fence, HaHa, about staking tomatoes. It truly depends on the year here. Staking does help with mice etc. But I have found ways now to get them out of my garden so that's not so much a problem. I have found I get twice as much fruit if I leave the branches sprawl on the ground because our wind is so drying to the branches and I think lots of blossoms get blown off. But it is nice to harvest when they are staked as to digging around all the branches on the ground. So I usually do both because it depends on the weather mostly.

jasonvanorder
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Re: 3 Projects for the Winter

applestar wrote:I use french/florida weave up to the rung of string tied to top of the 6 foot in the ground fence posts (T-posts or doubled 7/8" bamboo stakes), but the vines are not only supported upward but also twisted and tied along each of the upper string rungs (kind of like grape vines I guess), including the tallest/longest vines that grow beyond the 6 foot limit along the upper-most to more like 8-9 feet.

I grow them too close and don't have the space for sufficiently sized cages and I also begrudge the in-between spaces while the tomato seedlings/plants are smaller and prefer to plant stuff like peas, greens, onions, bush beans, etc. that will be harvested by the time the tomatoes and roots get big enough to be using the space.

Best way for success with this method is to do your research and intersperse the tallest growing varieties so they don't run into each other as they snake along the top-most rungs, plant the shorter indeterminates that wont grow more than the 6 foot height, and some extra early determinates that will "finish up and die" on sunnier side of the trellis and in between.

The "research" is part of *my* winter project list. :wink:
Thats what I was thinking of. Even found the video too. Ill leave the link here if anyone wants to give it a watch
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeYFSeWICKk

Taiji
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Re: 3 Projects for the Winter

Yes I realized that the tomato plants would probably overflow the 4 foot high cages, but with tying the to the stake figured they'd be ok. Lately, my plants haven't been getting much higher than around 4 to 5 feet high anyway with the exception of the cherries.

The plants I've been letting sprawl are hard to harvest; the vines are so heavy they sometimes snap when I lift them up to search! I invariably miss a lot of them too, til it's too late.

I have seen that "Florida weave" too and may try that someday. Would you say that that method requires a fairly heavy pruning?

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applestar
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Re: 3 Projects for the Winter

Aside from lower branches to prevent splash-ups and to open up for air flow and to allow companion plants to grow, I only prune branches that grow font and back into the paths or the next trellis in a double-row -- picture "espaliered" tomato plants.
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Taiji
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Re: 3 Projects for the Winter

I see, sounds good! How about pinching off the suckers?

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applestar
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Re: 3 Projects for the Winter

Not really, but typically/roughly, I think I end up with not much more than 3 sucker branches/vines growing to the right and left, so 6 to 7 growing points per indeterminate plant at most? -- this is a total guesstimate on my part triggered by your question ...I don't really think about it.

If I'm trying to experiment with a large-fruited variety seeds from a "champion" line, I might restrict to 2-4 growing points at most.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

imafan26
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Re: 3 Projects for the Winter

I have an odd shaped space so long rows or row growing in general uses up too much space. I use 7 ft. CRW trellis around the threey 18 gallon tomato pots. The ends of the trellis wind around the outer pots like cages and the center pot is between. The trellis is 10 ft long for the three tomatoes. That gives them enough room so they don't need much pruning and they still get air space. The pots are on the paver patio next to the main veggie garden so they don't actually take up space in the garden. Sometimes, I will rotate beans or peas in one of the three tomato pots for a break. There is some real estate that is lost between the pots but I can plant short and shallow crops like lettuce and green onions around the young tomato plants that makes better use of the space around the tomatoes until they grow up. I have sometimes put smaller pots between the tomatoes but they have to be pots that can handle the shade from the tomatoes. or need bird protection like some of the peppers. I use the white side of the potting soil bags to mulch around the tomato pots. It conserves moisture and keeps the weeds down. I cut open the bags and put them under the pots to try to control weeds from popping up under the pots. I have had limited success with that since the bags cannot stop weeds coming in from the sides.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

The garlic man
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Re: 3 Projects for the Winter

Taiji wrote:I see, sounds good! How about pinching off the suckers?
I usually pinch off the suckers...However, if I miss a couple no big deal.

That said, I don't really like harvesting too many off the ground if that can be avoided.

gumbo2176
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Re: 3 Projects for the Winter

We've only had 2 nights of what would pass for real winter weather so far this year and it was earlier this week when it got down to the upper 20's two nights in a row. The wife and I pulled in all the potted plants and they are back outside and fine, but it did damage several plants in the flower beds and some of the more delicate vegetable garden plants like peppers and leaf lettuces.

I spent much of the day yesterday cutting down milkweed, picking off frost damaged leaves from my rows of leaf lettuce and other salad greenery, cutting flowering aloe stalks that looked more like question marks than straight upright blooms and trimmed back the big poinsettia that is in the ground in the front yard. What didn't go into the compost pile went into a big garbage bag for the street. The milkweed plant had far too many seed pods to put in the compost pile and the weeds from the garden don't get anywhere near it either.

Then I turned over the empty rows where the cauliflower and cabbage grew and has since been harvested to get them ready for new plants to go in later this week for a spring harvest of the same.

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digitS'
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Re: 3 Projects for the Winter

Fun imagining myself in a New Orleans garden. Especially so when I have so much snow in the yard that I hardly know what to do with it!

The guy throwing the newspaper ads in the plastic bag tossed it out in the middle of the snow. If he thinks I'm gonna wade out there to get it, he's got another think coming! ... oh well, I guess I could ...

Hey, here's a winter project for someone: build a picket fence in their front yard. Yes, they work fairly well as cribbing for snow storage!

Steve
We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks

gumbo2176
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Re: 3 Projects for the Winter

Digit, the biggest issue with gardening in the deep south is our mild winters when it comes to the spring/summer gardens. The nasty little critters that do damage to the garden in the warmer months overwinter almost as well as many of my plants and by May or June, they are out with a vengeance and destroying crops.

The only way I can get some tomatoes is to get them in the ground as soon as any frost danger is over and hope for the best. Usually by early July they start wilting badly between pests and diseases due to our oppressive humidity.

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jal_ut
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Re: 3 Projects for the Winter

asica: " think, I will steal your idea for tomatoes. This may help me with the rats eating tomatoes too."

Rats? Sounds like some D-Con is in order.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-



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