wire

Stake and Tomatoes

Take it from me—trial and error gal—don’t learn this the hard way.  Your tomatoes want big stakes, firm stakes.  Sturdy, semi-permanent. They want to know there’s support for them when the wind blows, that they won’t lose their ruby-red jewels dripping from their vines.

triangle cage

Trust me when I say, “think strong” (as in men, too.;)). Next time you’re shopping for tomato cages and you see this packaged structure, walk on. Don’t stop. Don’t waste your time.

Admittedly, I thought this three-walled triangle style cage would be the secret to success. It was–for a while. But when the tomato plant grew and the tomatoes hung heavy, it fell over like a twig.

And this round, loopy one? More

Getting Creative with Bugs

So I have this cricket problem.  They’re eating me out of plant and garden.  Voracious little critters, they seem to be able to destroy a pumpkin vine in a matter of days, a helpless little Brussels in a matter of hours.  I tried bird netting.  But the squares are a bit too big.

Crickets can jump clear through them.  Not always on the first try, mind you, but give them enough chances and out they go!  Rascals.

So I had to get creative.  For my netting, I’ve doubled up.  This way, the pattern won’t match up identically and some of the squares will be rendered to triangles and the crickets won’t be able to escape.  More importantly, they won’t be able to get in.  The hoops are 9 gauge wire cut into pieces that I bend to suit my needs. More

A Bounty of Baskets

Baskets are an essential part of gardening, especially during harvest.   But with so many baskets to choose from, where does one begin?

Longaberger Basket Spring & Summer Wish List Collection

Simple.  Think about how you plan to use your basket.  Workload matters.  Once you’ve decided on size and weight, how about style and functionality?  Many woven baskets start out well, but don’t tend to last. 

Waterproof baskets are a must in our garden.  Not only because there are kids involved, but because we must wash our vegetables prior to eating.  Never know who has been lurking in your garden…  For a general rundown on the selection process, check the Prize Picks section this month for a nice variety of baskets, ranging in both size and job description–and prepare for harvest!

Greenhouse for Green Peppers

Sort of.  I call it a “modified” green house as the intended effect is the same, albeit the outcome may be different.  At least in my case.

It all started with a few dastardly bugs, too much heat and not enough rain.  Same old — same old, right?  I live in Florida, have this beautiful green swamp behind my home (host to an enormous amount of insects) and full sun.  Full HOT sun.  And humidity.  The result?

My peppers are suffering.  So I decided to protect them.  After a bit of research, I found the perfect support system:  9 gauge wire, cut to the length of my choice covered with a lightweight fabric. 

Simple enough.  Flexible, the wire can easily be cut and shaped into arches long enough to cover the width of my bed AND accommodate for the height of my plants.  

Next, I draped a light “frost blanket” sheeting across the tops of each “hoop” and secured it in place with anchor staples (also found at the hardware store). 

Voila.  A greenhouse.  Take THAT you dastardly insects!  Air and light can permeate this delicate material, but insects cannot.  I think even water can get through, though I’m not taking any chances on that count and hand watering the row when needed.

So take note.  Whether it’s the greenhouse effect you’re after or frost protection, try this idea on for size.  The wire costs about $10.00 while the blanket material is about the same.   I purchased it for last year’s freeze, then stored it for later use.  (And use, I am!)   Anchor staples will run you about $5.00.  Fresh peppers?

You said it:  Priceless.   All in all, not a bad investment for a backyard gardener.