I have always staked tomatoes. I have tried the tomato cages and ALWAYS had them fall down halfway through the summer. Tomatoes grow fast and heavy. Last year I tied them to the trellis system my husband built. That worked very well. It has steel T- posts every 4 feet with deer fencing made of nylon mesh tied with wire.
This year I am trying a few different devices. Regular hardwood stakes, bamboo stakes and a plastic cage I bought at Wal Mart for 7 dollars called the "Ultimate tomato cage. " I am going to experiment and see which one I like best. I have decided to rotate my crops every year, so the bed I moved to is 5 x16 x 2. No trellis, as my husband is out of town for a while and didn't have time to install before he left.
|Ultimate tomato cage?|
|bamboo in front, hardwood stakes in back|
The good thing about the large bed is that there will be lots of air circulation and sun reaching all the plants equally. I will mulch with straw in a week or so. There is good rain expected in the next few days, so I want the seedlings well watered.
To prevent blossom end rot, I added about 1/2 cup of lime to the area I am placing the seedlings. This will add calcium to the soil, and the mulch will help stop the soil from drying out. That is the cause of blossom end rot, inconsistent watering and calcium deficiency.
You want to plant the seedlings very deep. Remove the bottom leaves first and dig deep. Roots will form all along the stem.
|bottom leaves removed|
|put some basil in front|
I am going to try vertical gardening for cucumber, cantaloupes and possibly watermelons. I have also planted scarlet runner beans and gita beans. Gita beans are around a foot long. Sounded like fun.
|will plant cucumbers here|
|spittle bug underneath the foamy substance - no damage expected|
I can feel the garden coming alive. I know I will have to spend a little more time each week to keep it looking good.
|first red strawberry|
Below is a native columbine plant that is almost finished blooming. It will set seed and come back next year. I have this in my shade garden at home.