Community Garden, Growing Green

Garden Update + Using Walls of Water with Tomato Cages

The tomatoes, as noted in the last post, were turning into giants.  And, I think, flaring my allergies.  So I have taken all of the large ones out to the garage and will begin to harden them off.  This is a process where you put them outside during the day and bring them in at night to get them used to the temperature and the new environment.

Three of them I just stuck straight in the garden in walls of water.  I think they will make it.  I buried them pretty deep.

A side note about the walls of water:  they are tricky to fill.  You can put a 5 gallon bucket upside down over your plant and then fill the wall of water with a slow flowing hose and remove the bucket when it is filled and stable.  Or you can do as I am doing with my tomatoes.  I put the tomato in the ground (buried with a handful of epsom salts and several fertilizer spikes for veggies/tomatoes).  Then I stuck one of those wire tomato cages around it.  I put the wall of water around the tomato cage and used the cage as support for filling the wall of water.

I will just leave the tomato cage there and when I am ready to remove the wall of water, I will just lift it out over the top.  I may have to squeeze a little of the water out of some of the cells to make it light enough to lift, but that is what I have done the last few years and it has worked well.  Without the support of the tomato cage in there, the walls of water will still generally stay up, but I have actually had a few get blown over by strong spring winds and munch up the plant inside.  The advantage to not using the tomato cages is that the tops of the cells of walls of water come together into more of a teepee shape to better protect the plant from cold.  I have decided for me, that I prefer them a little more stable with a tad less cold protection.

This doesn’t work with the huge tomato cages, just the smaller version.  Otherwise the walls of water don’t fit around the cages.

At the church garden all of my radishes, turnips and several of my lettuces have been eaten by birds or some pest.  My peas and onions are doing fine.  So is the spinach.  I suppose I will need to put a row cover over them out there, but honestly I don’t think I am going to replant those crops.  I will just wait a couple of weeks and put in the toms and peppers.  I have radishes and lettuces growing at my own home that are doing fairly well.

I grabbed a couple of blueberry bushes at Costco when I was out there a couple weeks ago and planted them over by my pond.  They are starting to leaf out already so I am hopeful that they will make it.

The raspberry bushes are already starting to get little flower buds here and there.  I pruned the tops off the old stalks (the parts that were still brown and dead looking) so the plants could put energy into what was already growing and they are looking great.  I transplanted several starts that had come up in my yard around the patch back into the area I want them growing in and most of them are going to make it.  I had enough to give raspberry starts to two other friends as well – pretty neat when you consider that I got my starts from a friend’s friend and a few more from a neighbor about 5 years ago.  They are the plants that just keep on giving.

My wonderful hubby has decided to move the swing set over so that I can expand my garden down the length of the side fence.  This is awesome news, but means a fair amount of work if I want to be able to plant this season in those new beds.  The yard there has been very packed from busy children’s feet and it is going to take a lot of work to get anything to grow well there the first season or two.  I did manage to set up another trellis and take the sod out of one bed for more peas and some carrots.  I tilled the dirt up there pretty well and mixed in lots of steer manure and peat moss to lighten and enrich the soil.  But the rest of the beds are waiting for me to get the energy to prepare them.

So there is the garden update.  Hope that you are enjoying the nice weather and just being outside again.  Feels amazing!

3 thoughts on “Garden Update + Using Walls of Water with Tomato Cages

  1. You are on the right track! The water cage that we sell on our web site is the result of experiments just like yours. Check us out when you are ready for the perfect solution.

    It is way easier to set up, and the 60 MPH winds we had last spring won’t knock it over…

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