Some pictures and a question

prairiegal(4/5 NW Iowa)January 13, 2009

Hi, all! I started a (crooked; neither hubbie nor I understand how to sight straight lines) potager in 2007, and I'm very happy with my conversion from row gardening, for the most part.

However, I'm running out of room! I knew at the time that I had no place for corn, potatoes, or large vining melons or squash (still hoping to convince my neighbor to sell me part of his acreage that abutts my back yard)...but I got hasty and too optimistic, and plunked raspberry and blackberry canes in the garden, against the fence.

Ooops. I knew better, but they NEEDED to be planted asap. Now, of course, I need to move them. I've seen some lovely trellises for bramble berries AND for tomatoes (I need better supports that those dumb wire baskets) and was wondering if you'd share your favorite links to "How To" instructions for sturdy AND attractive garden supports.

Here are some pics of my garden in 2007. I'll make another entry for 2008, as I don't know how else to provide the link.

Here is a link that might be useful: Gardens in 2007

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prairiegal(4/5 NW Iowa)

And here's some of 2008 (in the latter part of the album).

Here is a link that might be useful: Potager

    Bookmark   January 13, 2009 at 4:14PM
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Kim Ladin

I'm afraid I don't have any advice for you, but -- WOW! what a beautiful garden. Cute kitty too!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2009 at 10:15PM
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luvbocelli

Wow, what a great Potager! Mine will be 3 years old this spring and I am still not finished. The arbor should be the last structure I will add (For now anyway) I am so happy with it. Gardening is so much easier this way and the yield I got was amazing. Check out my pics if you wish.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2009 at 9:03AM
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marcy3459(6a NE OK)

Regarding tomato supports: I went to farm supply store, bought 4-ft wide x 6-ft tall chain link gate panels. These were leaned against each other teepee-style and attached using the fencing connections that come with the gates. My raised beds are 4 x 10 and I have two "teepees" in each bed. I plant two tomato plants on each side, giving me four tomato plants per "teepee". My perfectionist side made me spray paint the panels bronze, and they have been standing and growing tomatoes for four years now. Best money I ever spent and the best tomato cages I have ever had.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2009 at 10:54PM
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prairiegal(4/5 NW Iowa)

Where are your pictures, luvbocelli?

Marcy, do the tomatoes grown THRU the chain link or do they just lean against it?

    Bookmark   January 20, 2009 at 7:44PM
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    Bookmark   January 21, 2009 at 10:28AM
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marcy3459(6a NE OK)

Prairiegal,

Through some trial and error the past several years, I have learned it's some of both methods. When the plants are about two feet high or so, I use the velcro-type garden tape (you can get it at Lowe's) to coax the main branches of the tomato vines to go where I want them to grow. Then from about four feet high on up to the top of the "cages" I do some weaving. The problem with weaving is that if the vines get too heavy or big, the chain link will cut off the nutrients to that particular branch and you get dieback.

I've found however that the fruit tends to grow to the inside of the cages and pushing the tiny fruits through the chain link to the inside of the cages has been great as it gives their heaviness some great support and there is no sunburn to the fruits. Picking is easy also. You just peek inside the teepee and see what's ready to pick. No searching required.

Also, though I used to be a committed "de-suckerer" I have found you get a much better look if you just let the plants grow to their heart's content. My tomato plants usually top off at about 8 feet and you have a great top-heavy vine look at the top of the cages. Of course, if you like bigger tomatoes and smaller harvests, you're going to be stuck with pinching suckers and won't get the fuller look on the teepees.

I also grow early spring peas on them and growing mesclun underneath the teepees gives me salad greens much later in the summer as the tomato vines shade and keep it cooler underneath. It's been a great way to intensive garden my space.

Hope some of this helps. Happy gardening and pray for spring!

Marcy

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 10:36AM
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