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Common household remedies request

I'm cautiously optimistic that a significant portion of the second garden is going to recover from the little rainstorm we had, so it's time to think about stakes, trellises, and cages.

I have stakes, nothing to buy except something to tie the squash and beans to the stakes with - so what's best to use for tying?

I could, if it's truly a much better option, construct some trellises, as I have scrap bits of this and that lying around, but I'm lazy and don't really want to do this - am I later going to regret using stakes instead?

Want! Not going to buy them this year for sure, though maybe in the future - has anybody ever tried them and are they as great as the website makes them out to be?

$speaking of $pending, here'$ the accounting to date (roughly):

$40 - dirt (top soil, peat moss, cow manure)
$30 - two 50' soaker hoses and one 50' garden hose
$20 - seeds
$10 - additional amount on water bill

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albrt's picture
Submitted by albrt on

I like to use strips cut from plastic grocery bags for tying up beans and other things that want to be off the ground. The bags have just about the right amount of stretch when they're new, although after a few months they become brittle from the sun here in Arizona.

I think trellises are overkill unless you make them nice enough to be decorative. A piece of wire fencing is an easy and movable alternative.

Submitted by hipparchia on

i have tons of plastic grocery bags, so i think i'll try this.

lots of heat and humidity here, so i'm reluctant to let things lie on the ground, even as well-drained as it is. most of the yard where the squash would roam, if i don't contain it somehow, is weeds weeds weeds, and most of those weeds are chock-full of thorns too.

Bryan's picture
Submitted by Bryan on

If you can find it, it will rot naturally, so you don't have to worry about it. A lot of people use the green twist ties, but I think it's too thin and can cut the plant if you over-tighten it.

Those things look like the spiral XMas trees without the lights, and are priced like them. You could do the same thing with half-inch ABS irrigation tubing from the hardware store, using duct tape to fasten it to the top of the pole and a stake in the ground, if you were so inclined.

My Dad always used three-foot hog fencing formed into a cylinder. It stood up better than poultry fencing.

Submitted by hipparchia on

and the hog fencing would probably do what i want it to, but i'm trying not to spend money if i can repurpose stuff i have lying around.

after a bit of rethinking, i don't like the xmas trees now nearly as much as i did when i first saw them.

Submitted by lambert on

Unlike twist ties.

But do the squash really need to be tired p? I'm not getting the picture. When I need to build a trellis, I make a teepee out of long stakes, and lash them together at the top.

Submitted by hipparchia on

i've been through more than one iteration of book storage vs destructocats. along with the squirrel-proof cages, i also have the remains of some bookshelves that, with with some twine wound here and there, could probably serve quite well as temporary trellises. at the outset, that would be more work than stakes, but maybe later in the growing season i'm going to wish i'd been a little less lazy?

some of the squash i planted is winter squash, and i was planning to let them run wild, but i've never done that with summer squash, and between the heat, the humidity, and the toothy vines here, i'm picturing my zucchini and yellow squash rotting away underneath a tangle of briar thickets.

Submitted by hipparchia on

i once used a chainlink fence for a trellis for squash and cucumbers, worked great!

of course, there was the added inconvenience of chopping up all the veggies into little pieces to extricate them at harvest time - kind of like this one:

caseyOR's picture
Submitted by caseyOR on

holds together for the growing season and rots in the compost pile after the harvest.

You could make a trellis for the beans using a couple of your stakes and the jute.

Just pound the stakes into the ground as far apart as you need them to be, and, starting at the top, weave the jute back and forth between the stakes descending with each pass. Then train the beans to climb up the jute.

Submitted by lambert on

... except you describe it better.

It's easy to do, cheap, and it doesn't commit you to any kind of portable structure.

I think my twine is jute; I just like green because it looks better!

Submitted by Lex on

I use tomato cages, at least until i build the wooden frames that will attached to my raised beds. I've thought about but never tried the more technologically advanced tomato cages like the one you posted or the collapsible one with string.

I find the old-fashioned tomato cage, if the heavy duty variety, a good investment because they last a good many seasons and require no further tying of the plant.

I use the green twist ties that come in a role for general tying requirements, but i save the pieces i cut and use them over and over ... except on the grapes growing on electric fence wire mounted to the back fence and the climbing hydrangea on trellis beneath the deck where the twist ties stay more permanently.

Your beans should grow right up the corn!

Scraps of nylons make great plant ties because they stretch nicely with a growing plant.

Submitted by hipparchia on

haven't got any! it's been a few years since i've dressed up that much. i realize ginger rogers did everything that fred astaire did, backwards and wearing heels, but i'm not that talented. i can trip and fall out of my high-heeled shoes even when i'm not wearing them.

i'd like to do the tomato cages, but have no real storage space, nor do i want to leave them standing in the yard year round (don't want to spend money on them either, if i can avoid it). i do have some odd corners where i can stash some stakes when they're not in use.

Submitted by Lex on

is an issue with cages. I store mine outside behind the compost bin.

As for stakes, get good, heavy-duty stakes for tomatoes as you're concentrating the weight at a single point. A healthy, happy tomato plant will weigh a lot. I've collapsed metal cages with a good plant and snapped wooden stakes that were too thin or too old.

If you go the staking route, you may want to think about using commercial pruning techniques as well. In these, you pinch off all the suckers (stems that form between the central stalk and leaves at nodes ... leave simple flower stalks). This forces one stem of flowering/fruiting and concentrates the weight along the stake. It also improves air flow through the plant which may be beneficial in a Florida summer so you don't battle molds, etc. And it tends to ripen fruit at least a bit faster.

My farmer friends generally grow most of their tomatoes in the hoop houses, where they run lines of jute from the ridgepole to the ground and "stake" the plants to the string. If you have the right scraps of the right material laying around, you could probably construct an outdoor version of this system without too much trouble.

Submitted by hipparchia on

i have some 2x4s lying around. a frame of some kind, with lines hanging down from the equivalent of a ridgepole, sounds like it would be easier than trellises.