Getting Ready for Planting…

I’ve been slowly getting ready for this season’s planting.

I’ve already pulled up some old (and bolting) Bok Choy, Daikon and Swiss Chard to make room for Tomatoes, Peppers and Eggplant.

Nanay Harvesting Swiss Chard

I’ve been looking for tomato cages, but can’t seem to find the big ones; I’ve only seen the dinky 3 foot ones which are not tall enough. I did some searching online and found tomato cages made of PVC. That was an idea, but I found a welded wire mesh called Tomato Guard at OSH and thought I would try it. It rolls out to 5 x 20 feet and is enough to make 4 or 5 cages.

I’m going to use my old short Tomato Cages for Eggplants and Pepper.

While reading some forums online, I read about those water retaining crystals. I’ve known about these and seen them, but haven’t thought of getting them to the garden. They seem to be pricey, but I found a company that sells them in large quantities for a good price. I ordered 2 lbs. of medium polymers for $17.95 (includes shipping). I’m going to add these to my veggie beds and Coleus pots, because they then to dry out quickly.

  • I’ve used the water retaining crystals in a few potted plants before, and it did help save on water. I think it’s a great idea, but I’d never thought of trying it in a garden setting. Hmmm…. now I’m thinking about it.

    I have some large tomato cage things… not sure what they’re called. They’re only big enough for one tomato, but they’re taller than cages, and one side is unhooked so you can set it around the tomato, then hook it together. They’re metal with green plastic coating. I like them pretty well. Sounds like what you found is even better.

    • Yeah… I thought I would give it a try and see how well it works.

      I want to see your tomato cage!!! Do you have photos of it? I wanted to get the plastic coated wire mesh fencing, but the opens were just too small; I wouldn’t be able to get the tomatoes out of the cage.

      • No photos at this time. I used to get blurry pics with my camera… before I dropped it. Now I get terrible pics and you wouldn’t be able to tell what it is. lol.

        I do have a link you can check out, though, but all they have is a sketch of the cage… pardon me, it’s a tomato TOWER. This site sells the smaller one, I don’t know why they don’t have the bigger one. http://www.hardwareandtools.com/invt/u297237#additionalimages

        I bought mine at “Rural King”, a midwestern chain of farm supply stores. So far I’m not finding any place on line that carries the biggest one. You can look at the manufacturer’s website. Scroll down on this page to “Tomato Towers” and you’ll see them. Again, a poor picture here. They are green, though you wouldn’t know it from the pictures. http://www.midwest-air.com/category.asp?id=129

        If I find anything further, I’ll let you know.

      • I emailed the manufacturer. They said Home Depot often carries their products, so if there’s a Home Depot near you, you might check it out.

  • Anonymous

    Water retaining crystals

    I use them in my garden and pots. They are a must since the drought. I found you dont need a lot, it is amazing how they bloat up when wet! I place them in and around the growing hole. I also found that a heavy covering of Pea straw over the bear soil is great for retaining moisture and the peas that grow fix nitrogen to the soil and the plants can be cut and laid on the ground as more mulch!

    – donna_3011