Trying New Gardening Efforts – Albert Lea Tribune
Year after year of having a garden, I began to learn the ins and outs of this hobby, although I continue to look for ways to improve my results.
As long as I keep up to date with the basics of gardening – namely watering and weeding – I’ve usually been quite successful.
Over the past few years, however, I have been frustrated with my results for my tomatoes – my plants have produced well, but since I can’t stop my tomato plants from falling over, I have often ended up with a lot of tomatoes. it went wrong.
I watched one of my neighbors in the community garden with a bit of envy, who year after year has what I consider to be great success with his tomatoes, and whose tomatoes stand straight and strong, allowing him to bring in more of tomatoes.
He has a fairly regular regiment for watering and fertilizing, but one major difference between our tomato gardening is that he has made wooden tomato cages that are secured with metal stakes.
After doing some research online, it sounded like work and an investment, but I decided to give it a shot.
With my parents from Virginia visiting town and my dad also an avid gardener, I thought he might be up for the project. So on Monday, Dad and I decided to make 10 tomato cages that were 5 feet tall.
Luckily our wood was pre-cut where we bought it to save on this step, then the only other thing we needed were screws and something for our metal stakes – we chose the rebar.
It took us a pretty decent amount of time to round them all up – about 20-30 minutes for each cage – then later that night we took them out into the garden and set them up, burying the ends of the cages, hammering a piece of rebar in the dirt next to each cage, then secure them together with zip ties.
Now all I can do is wait and see how they hold up.
As most of you know, I could talk endlessly about the benefits of gardening – it reduces stress and gives you the opportunity for low impact exercise. Perhaps the most obvious benefit is that you can eat the produce you grow.
This year especially, with the rising cost of just about everything in the grocery store, I think the garden will be a big plus.
I hope to make more preserves than ever and look forward to having a big yield of tomatoes specifically for salsa and spaghetti sauce.
If you’ve never gardened, give it a try.
There are still plants around and if you put them in the ground soon, you should still be ok with the weather.
If you don’t have room in your home for a garden, try some large pots. You’d be amazed at what you can grow.
Nothing can beat the freshness of produce you’ve grown yourself.
Sarah Stultz is the editor of the Tribune. His column appears every Wednesday.