Saturday, July 16, 2011

Gardening update

What I've learned about tomato stakes:

Good: rebar; 1/2" x 4.5', $2.98 each at Home Depot

Better: plastic PVC pipe, 1/2" x 10', $1.68 each at Home Depot (cut in half in five-foot lengths, so, 84 cents each)

Best: long sticks and twine; free!

I started using the long sticks method, as I had so much deadwood from the winter's storms; but I quickly ran out of usable lengths. (There are only so many 4 to 5 feet long, relatively straight sticks to be had.) As the tomato plants grew, I needed more, and taller. So then I starting using rebar, at $2.98 each (still cheaper than tomato cages, at $3.98 each). The rebar had the added advantage of being pound-able; I could simply untie the tomato plant, remove the stick, pound the rebar in with a hammer, and retie the plant.

But, then I needed more rebar, and my husband informed me you could only get it in bundles of 25. So I went looking around at Home Depot, and discovered 10-foot lengths of PVC pipe at $1.68 each. Cheaper than rebar, still straight and tall, still poundable.

Best of all, I can reuse all of it (sticks, rebar and pipe) for next year's tomatoes.

By the middle of next week, I should have one full-size zucchini and a handful of purple green beans ready to harvest, in addition to a whole bunch of mint. I've got basil coming in, lots of miniature butternut squash started, thigh-high corn, and a metric ton of green tomatoes.

Only a few of the pepper plants are actually growing. The rest are...not growing, but not dead. Not sure what that means.

The carrots and cauliflower I think I'll have to cede to the rabbits. Neither one grew back after the previous rabbit decimation.

I expect to have a veritable jungle once I return from vacation.

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