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2005 - Volume #29, Issue #2, Page #26
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Great Way To Stake Vegetables

Galvanized cattle panels work great for raising vegetables, say Ken and Sharon O' Brock, North Benton, Ohio, who came up with a labor-saving vegetable staking system for growing tomatoes, cucumbers, pole beans and other "climbing" vegetables.
  "It's ideal for small scale vegetable farmers and pick-your-own operations, as well as home gardeners," the O' Brocks say. "It works great with tomatoes and crops such as cucumbers and green beans, which are usually grown in rows on the ground. There's no need to tie the crop to the panels, and no need to stoop down. It also avoids tramping on and damaging the vines."
  For tomatoes, panels are set up down each side of the row. The panels are spaced about 1 ft. apart down the row and tied with twine to steel T posts about every 7 ft. The tomato plants grow out through the panels, "staking" themselves. "Growing tomatoes this way works better than using cages because the panels are stronger and can't fall over when the plants get big. The large squares in the panels make it easy to reach through to pick the tomatoes. And by keeping the tomato plants off the ground it's easier to mulch to prevent weeds and conserve water," they say.
  For cucumbers, the panels are installed the same way. "The cucumber vines climb up the panels, making the cucumbers that are hanging down easy to find and pick," say the O' Brocks. "By keeping the vines off the ground there's no danger of stepping on the vines and damaging them, and the cucumbers are cleaner and more uniform in color. There also seems to be fewer problems with insects."
  For pole beans, a single row of panels is placed down each row. "We've found varieties of pole beans that are stringless and tasty at any growth stage and also yield more than bush beans. Raised off the ground, the pole beans stay clean and are easier to pick," they say.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Ken and Sharon O' Brock, 9435 12th St., North Benton, Ohio 44449 (ph 330 584-4681).
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2005 - Volume #29, Issue #2