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Permanent Wire Tomato "Cages"
Several years ago, Alex Zieba was running a commercial vegetable garden (CSA) and needed to cage 600 tomato plants cheaply and quickly. That's when he came up with an idea that he says is still one of the best gardening ideas he's ever had.
††††"A neighbor gave me a few rolls of old wire. I just laid out the wire Ż which has 4 by 4-in. openings - in 3 horizontal layers the length of the tomato bed. Then I place posts every 6 ft. or so along the sides and tie the wire panels to the posts. The layers are positioned 12 in., 24 in. and 35 in. off the ground. I also added 2 by 2 crossbars between the posts to provide extra support.
††††"The tomato bed in the pictures is 25 ft. long. The plants are placed every 3 ft. in the row and grow into the cages by themselves with no further tying, training or worrying about cages falling over. The fruit is kept well off the ground and is easy to pick from the sides. Tomatoes are one of the few crops you can grow in the same place year after year so a thick mulch under the wires keeps the area weed-free and fertilized for next year, with no need to move the cage. So you just have to assemble this system once and it'll pay off for years to come."
††††Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Dr. Alex Zieba, Coordinator, Philosophy & Humanities, Heritage College, 325 boul. Cite des Jeunes, Room 215C, Gatineau, Quebec J8Y 6T3 (azieba@cegep-heritage.qc.ca).

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2011 - Volume #35, Issue #4