I’d like to pretend like I was a total badass this weekend and finished ALL OF THE THINGS. But. Ah. If we’re going to be honest? A lot of my weekend looked like this…
Yeah. One of us was not feeling well, and oddly, it turns out it was not the cat. However, Bubs can always be counted on for taking sympathy naps and/or religiously guarding the tissues from possible theft when someone else is feeling poorly. (And by “tissues” I obviously mean toilet paper, because we are super classy like that on the farm.)
Being sick sucks, but it sucks even worse when it’s the prime time and perfect weather to be working in the garden but you can’t keep your eyeballs open for more than two consecutive hours. I was mostly a cranky, sniffling, unproductive asshole this weekend, but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t make any progress in the gardens.
This is 100% thanks to my mom, by the way, who decided that all she wanted for Mother’s Day was to come up to the farm and build tomato cages. (Swear to god I don’t coerce her into this stuff… she came up with the idea herself.)
My mom was adamant about doing this project because– and here’s something we can all agree on– those little wire tomato cages with three measly hoops on them that you get from the Garden Center? Those things are shit, and we all know it.
My tomato plants crushed those thing last year.
My grandmother, the consummate gardener, told me that her father made her some tall, sturdy tomato cages out of concrete reinforcing wire that she still uses today. That means those cages are older than I am and still going strong. So, my mom and I both felt that upgrading the tomato cages this year was necessary, and on Sunday afternoon she showed up on the farm with a big roll of welded-wire fencing and the determination to build some damn tomato cages.
So we did.
We used coated welded wire fencing (like this) which, granted, is not concrete reinforcement, but is still pretty hefty. The roll was 48″ by 50′ long, which will make about 10 cages.
Here’s how it went down. Basically, I sat on my butt trying to stay awake, and my mom prepped the materials, which include, uh, really just the wire. and some wire snips.
This was my mom’s show. She and my grandmother figured out how to assemble these things, so I just followed orders. The Nuggets, however, did not follow orders. Because that’s not what chickens do…
To make the cages, we counted out every 30 rows, used wire cutters to snip a section off, curled it into a cylinder, and then twisted the wires over each other in a spiral fashion on the top and bottom to secure it…
All of the other wires just got folded over the other side to hold the thing together.
Super easy. We also cut some “windows” in the wire at various heights so that we can reach in and collect the tomatoes.
Then we planted a couple of tomato plants to see how they would work.
The cat decided to take over for the chickens and help during this part.
I had a couple of tall garden stakes left over from last year and after some debate we used two per cage to fix them in place…
A couple of pieces of wire held everything together, and let me tell you, these won’t be blowing over in a light breeze.
You can see how the windows will work for picking the tomatoes.
We also decided to use a couple of these cages for my bean plants. See, I thought I planted bush-bean seeds, but as the plants got bigger they started doing things no proper bush should do.
Turns out they are probably pole beans, because I guess I’m not good at reading seed packet labels. Weird.
So, we put up a couple of cages and then planted a dozen bean plants around each one.
Not entirely sure how this will work, but it was an easy solution that didn’t require additional time or materials, which was imperative because these seedlings were trying to strangle the crap out of each other indoors.
Here’s how the garden looks now. It consists of:
- 2 beds of garlic
- 2 beds with tomato plants (and soon to have eggplant and kale)
- 1 bed with beans
- 1 vertical bed with cucumbers
- 3 beds that need dirt
But the really exciting part is happening on Friday when I have a couple of guys coming over to help me install all of this…
That’s fencing that my family salvaged from a house they were contracted to tear down and will give me a good 40’x 80′ fenced off garden area. (I’m pretty sure that’s larger than the entire lot my first house sat on.)
After the fence is in, I’ve got another push of building to get through that includes:
- Renting a sod cutter and removing the grass inside the fence
- Finish installing the cedar edging for the “outside bed” that will run along the inside of the fence
- Put in the rest of the garden paths.
- Build structures to hold peas and hops
- Build one more vertical bed
- Build a series of strawberry boxes
I’m hoping to get a lot of that done next weekend. (Don’t laugh.) (Okay, fine… laugh. That’s a lot of shit to do.)
The good news is, I have a week off from my day job coming up where I can finish some of these miscellaneous garden projects (and hopefully get started on one larger outdoor project that I’ve been planning for since last year) and get the rest of my plants in the ground, which include:
- Peas (already started)
- Acorn and spaghetti squash (already started)
- Eggplant (already started)
- Kale (already started)
- Sweet and “glass gem” popping corn
- Berry bushes (Blackberry, raspberry, mulberry)
- Spinach and lettuces
Good thing I got all of my allotted naps for the year out of the way last weekend…