Food

Container gardens and tomato ladders

As your garden grows, you probably want to start thinking about propping up some of your veggies like tomatoes, peas, beans, cukes and others that won’t stand up on their own. This year, I ordered these “ladders” from Gardener’s Supply Co and so far have been very happy with them:

The red ladders are for my tomato plants, which as we all know will be towering over the tops of the ladders by August. The little green ladders, which you may or may not be able to see (look in the bottom right corner of the photo above) are holding up my snow peas and cucumber plants. I have been much happier with these ladders than I was last year with the cone-shaped wire tomato plant holders. You can see one on the bottom left corner of this photo that I am using only because I am short a red ladder.

Here’s how I am using the short ladders for my cukes:

I went to see my friend Aura’s garden yesterday and was stopped in my tracks with envy. Not only did she have neat little borders and a special herb garden (my stuff is kind of all over the place) and a fence to keep out her dog and other animals (ambitious), but she had built this pea ladder that looks like a tee pee:

Don’t ask me how she did it but isn’t it brilliant? She was away for the weekend and her husband had no idea what inspired her, but when she gets home, I am going to have her show us how she did it. It looks like she took three sticks from the backyard and wrapped twine around it in a special kind of weave. She then has the peas crawling up the twine in the same way I am using my green and red ladders shown above. But hers is home-ade and cooler looking.

The other thing she is doing well is making use of some space in her backyard where she couldn’t plant directly either because the soil quality was not good or there was no soil at all. Instead, she built a home-ade container out of wood and essentially created a box for her broccoli plants:

I think she did a good job and it inspired me to try the same.  I realize now that my plants are all about a month behind hers because I did everything from seed and she bought plants.  I kind of like the seed experiment and mostly everything has sprouted, with the exception of my watermelon and red chili peppers, but then again, I have so much packed in my garden that I wouldn’t be surprised if one day I went out there and saw a small green globe!

Next thing I have to figure out is how to keep out the critters.  The raccoons and squirrels are having a feast on my account.

How is your garden doing?

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Rachael Ray