I am always very obsessive and gluttonous about my tomatoes. I tend to go overboard with too many varieties (for our little lot), and should probably be giving up a few of them in exchange for some other veggies. But, no. Mine is a tomato-heavy garden. And that’s the way I like it.
We are currently in the process of tucking all of our precious little seedlings (tomato and non-tomato) all throughout the garden. I figured I would show you one such spot, and a couple of corresponding projects.
Last year, we bought these great little ladder-style free-standing trellises from Lowe’s, and I decided to see how they did with the tomatoes.
In a nutshell, they were okay, but not great for this purpose. I figured out pretty quickly that when I used them this year, I would be making some modifications. So I split them all in half, and then, with some handy-dandy zip ties, I put them back together as an actual tower (if I had had enough, I would have preferred to use some raffia-covered wire instead of zip ties, for aesthetic purposes–but I was out and too impatient to get this done….so, zip ties, it is!)
I attached a strip of burlap around the base for one very important reason: CHICKENS. This is to prevent them from sticking their interloping little paws in there and innocently digging up the seedlings. Additionally, I did a little ‘companion planting’, and added some marigolds and basil around the base of each tower; these plants are supposed to help the tomatoes by deterring pests (chickens included). Last season, I was amazed at how the girls were completely uninterested in the marigolds (aside from accidentally kicking a few young plants over as they do their little chicken-boogies in the dirt). This season, I’ve been planting a lot of basil (due to its alleged fly-repelling properties), and lo and behold, the chickens steer clear of it, as well!
As we have been transferring plants out into the garden, I’ve been in dire need of tags. You may remember my Chalkboard Plant Markers from Old Gift Cards–which are all well and good, except for the fact that I am out of gift and club cards to use! So I was scrambling for something else, when I suddenly realized that I have been keeping all the little plastic markers that come with nursery plants. Lightbulb moment!
So yeah….hit these with some chalkboard spray paint, and then take a white grease pencil to them:
I wanted to use these as tags tied to my tomato towers, and many of them actually come with a built-in hole in the pointy end (but those that didn’t, I just used a hole-punch to remedy that), so I strung them with twine and tied them on:
For plants that don’t have a cage to tie to, you can just pop them in the ground like they come in your nursery packs. However, in this garden, those things do not stand up to scratching chicken feet; they get flung like tiny frisbees across the yard. I usually punch a hole, once again, in the pointy end, and then anchor them into the ground with a landscape staple.
You may have noticed the chicken wire that has been mounted on the fence behind the tomato towers.
This is our first time growing hops–so I have no idea if this is going to work!
But….back to the tomatoes….hopefully very soon I’ll be sharing photos like this again:
Tagged: backyard chickens, basil, chalkboard plant markers, chalkboard plant tags, chickens, companion planting, DIY chalkboard plant tags, garden chicken defense, gardening with chickens, hops, lowe s, marigolds, natural pest control, tomato towers, upcycled plant markers, upcycled plant tags, white grease pencil, zip ties