Steel Fence Tomato and Pea Cages

The Snarky Gardener spent the weekend raking leaf mulch and digging holes.  In preparation for climbing peas and tomatoes, I brought out the tomato cages I “built” last year. Two years ago I purchased 150 feet of 60″ tall steel fencing (to protect my garden from critters).  50′ + 50′ + 20′ + 20′ (50′ X 20′ garden) equaled 140 feet of needed fence with 10 feet leftover.  Last year, I had an eureka moment and decided to use the extra as a tomato cage as I hadn’t had much luck with store bought ones. Plus the fencing looked a lot like the pea netting I had seen on the Internet. So I curled the fence around like a giant C, buried it into the ground about 6 inches, put dirt over it to hold it down, and planted peas around it. After it worked so well, I ended up buying another 50 feet and cutting 6 more 4 to 5 foot sections (leaving 20 feet to increase my 50′ X 20′ to 50′ X 30′ this year). Did I mention the SG uses math all the time at his day job?

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Homemade tomato and pea cages – 3/31/2013

So this spring I raked open 6 spots (pant, pant, pant) and broke ground on “tomato row”. This area was brand new and untilled, so I had to bring out “Big Blue”, my broadfork purchased from the Valley Oak Tool Company.  Weighing in at 18 pounds, it’s a solid piece of equipment and easy to use (though it would have been easier if SG was in better shape).  I was thinking of taking pictures or video of me actually using it, but thought the video on the Valley Oak site would do the trick.  Next week I’ll be planting climbing snow peas around each cage.  Last year none of the experimental peas made it back into the house as I’m a grazer but 6 times as many hopefully means some for everyone else.

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Breaking up the soil with my broadfork “Big Blue” – 3/30/2013
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“Big Blue” taking a break – 3/30/2013
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Tomato cage buried in place – 3/30/2013
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Interlocking the top for stability – 3/30/2013
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Tomato cages with too much mulch piled up behind them – 3/30/2013
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“Tomato Row” – 3/30/2013
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Caged Sweet 100 Cherry Tomato plant and Peas – 5/4/2013
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Caged Tomatoes and Peas – 5/4/2013
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Sylvia’s Amish Low Acid Red tomatoes – 6/17/2013
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Sylvia’s Amish Low Acid Red tomatoes – 7/4/2013

 

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