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The Great Tomato Stake-Up of 2017

Last year, [personal profile] sytharin built a set of raised beds for the bike driveway for squeezing in a couple more tomato plants into the yard. Overall, the project was highly successful - the retaining wall along the bikeway absorbs extra heat during the day, which helps nudge things just over the edge into temperatures that will actually produce tomatoes in the Bay Area.

But one aspect has been less than satisfying, as illustrated by something that happened just today:
Tomato staking strategies

I have yet to see a prefab tomato cage that is actually large enough to do a proper job.

So, some other strategy was needed. After some thought, I decided to try out something I saw in a book that involved two large posts and string running between them. Step one, acquire the posts. Step two, hmmm, how to sink them into the ground?

After feedback here and talking to RAC, I remembered an implement that my father had at home - what he'd called a "wrecking bar." I searched around a bit and discovered that most people refer to a slightly different implement as a "digging bar," which is used for digging post holes and tamping soil around the post hole. As luck would have it, the local Ace Hardware had one for sale, so I set to work using it to dig some post holes.

Tomato staking stratgies

That black shaft is the digging bar. It weighs 16 pounds, and so most of the work is accomplished just by lifting it in the air and dropping it down into the hole, where the chisel-shaped end bites its way through the ground.


Here's what I was able to accomplish after a bunch of pounding (snicker):

Tomato staking strategies


Starting to right the capsized tomato plants...

Tomato staking strategies

And, all strung up (for now; ran out of string):

Tomato staking strategies

Now my shoulders and hands are very tired. I suspect I'm going to be sore tomorrow. But it was satisfying to figure out how to tackle this project.

This entry was originally posted at http://rebeccmeister.dreamwidth.org/1164580.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

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