Wednesday, June 15, 2011

tomato fences

One of the most satisfying garden chores is building tomato fences.  I consider this work light construction.  I don't mean light like Crystal Light is light lemonade, (which is a concept that I cannot understand at all), I just mean not heavy-duty; but building tomato fences it's not construction for wimps, either.  To build my main stakes I had to cut down a maple tree and harvest the trunk and the branches.  There's a little millwork involved here, except the mill is my arm and a traditional saw. 

It's true that the maple tree wasn't a big one, and it's also true that my ever-nosy neighbor rolled home in her quiet little car and started firing off her spacey battery of questions just as I whipped out my pruning shears and started lopping off all the little branches and sorting them into categories based on size.  She remarked on the maple tree, noted that the backyard would have a little less shade, etc; I noted that there was already a nicer tree growing in the same space.  Goodbye neighbor, goodbye tree.  It's time to build some tomato fences.

Last year when a construction crew yanked out a row of crab apple trees along my driveway, I harrassed the dudes for some stakes.  They had chainsaws and, I thought, the somewhat annoyed attitude that is typical of construction dudes who get pestered while they are trying to shove full-grown trees, as fast as possible, into a giant humming woodchipper.  It was no sweat; I pointed out the braches I wanted and the foreman lopped them off with his chainsaw.  Thank you, foreman.  I love foraging for construction materials.

I do not like those wire tomato cages.  Their tines don't sink deeply into the ground enough for my taste, and the result is a wobbly cage.  Tomatoes get big and heavy and gravity wants to push them onto the ground.  A wobby cage is simply not strong enough to properly aid the tomato in warding off gravity.  Plus, wobbly wire cages have negative aesthetic appeal.  Fabricating tomato fences with foraged woods and purchased twine is far superior.  It's cheaper, more rewarding, more difficult, more attractive, and thus more satisfying.  Oh, and for all you people out there who buy green toilet paper, green stationary, green cleaning products, and green bed sheets, hand-fabricated tomato fences are also greener than wobbly aluminum cages.  As the tomatoes grow, I add more twine.  Twine that is made in New Rochelle, New York.      

1 comment:

Ogradi said...

Reminds me of my grandmothers garden!
I've spent my childhood eating home-grown tomatoes.