Thursday, May 17, 2012

Tomato Cages

 Whew, what a week!! So... much to do and so little energy and time. Sorry for the silence but between dairy goats, garden, and family, I'm buried under. In between trying to get Meagan and her kid, Mercedes, to bond and work as mom and daughter, a four times a day task, I have had several experiments going on.

One is refining my butter making. Our daughter is taking her freezer and I had two gallons of cream in it. I learned a thing or two with that cream but I've one more experiment to try to make sure of my results. Know that it was with a blender and cream turned to butter in a matter of seconds. It was awesome. I'll expound later when I've figured out for sure why it happened.

Another thing I'm about to expound on is baking with ghee. I've still some canned and want to can more but how much? It will depend on how well my baking with it goes. 

The other frontier is the garden. Like you, I'm spending hours out in the yard. I swear not much is getting done but I'm out there a going at it. 

I'm using both the wall of waters and my tomato cages. I was really pushing it planting them so... early but I had run out of room under the grow lights and the  really warm temperatures we've been having gave me confidence.  When in May do I remember ever having 86 temperatures? Is it hot at your house too. It's kind of scary outlook on summer.
Yet, I'm not sure winter has let completely go of his hold. We've had snow into the second week in June before but I can't remember being this hot. I'm guessing he's taking a nap but just in case, I pulled out my Wall of Waters that I haven't used in years. Those are those green things. There are tubes all the way around in the plastic that you pour water into. The water heats up in the daytime and keeps the inside of the tomato hut warm.

I haven't used them since I began making these cages out of torn up cow panels. I cut the bad parts out and use what's left to cut these.  I love them!! Just wish I could coat the ends with plastic because they will scrap you up a bit if you aren't careful.

I've made several changes over the years. I use three panels set in a triangle instead of four. The four tipped over in our wind. I think the square gave to much of a wall for the wind to press against. With three the wind glides on by. Then to stabilize the triangle even more, I cut the bottom bar, leaving rods to stick into the ground. 
 I fasten the three panels together with twine that once held my hay bales together. What would one do without twine? Such a handy thing.
I can't stop here though because the wind beats the tomatoes to nubbins or in other words just twigs. A few hours is all it takes. I've got to wrap the triangle with heavy duty plastic.

It isn't so bad with small tomato plants. But the large ones, I put in to beat our short growing season, play crack the whip in the wind and the leaves all go bye, bye. Without leaves, the plant dies. The plastic also helps holds in the heat at night. These plastic sheets are from last year. The plastic covered our hay for the winter inside the holey shed. By spring it is a bit beat up and perfect for its next use in the garden. Re-cycling helps save money and the earth. Besides, it means one less trip to the store and I'm all for that.

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