Archive from June, 2009
10 Jun
2009

How To: Make Tomato Ladders from the IKEA Salvia Trellis

Ladder or cage? The great debate. I have been obsessing over the idea of using tomato ladders rather than cages this year. I’ve heard they’re great for smaller spaces (like raised beds) because they help the plant grow up rather than out.

I had my eye on these beautiful red tomato ladders from Gardener’s Supply, but at $50 for a set of three, I’d be out $100 just on tomato supports!  While it’s not my main purpose for gardening, I do like the idea that I’m saving money by growing food in my backyard. So, for now the red steel ladders will wait on my wishlist.

I knew I couldn’t use the flimsy $1.99 variety either…last year I had to triage with bamboo, twine and pieces of a trellis – it got pretty ugly. Insert my seemingly endless supply of IKEA Salvia trellises, which I bought on clearance last year for $3. I copied the concept of a tomato ladder using pieces of the trellis. Each ladder uses six Salvia trellis squares (there are nine squares in a pack).

How To:

  1. Hook together three pieces of the trellis with the middle piece on the “outside.” This is one side of the trellis.
  2. Attach the lower and middle pieces of the other side by slipping them through the square part of the first side and interlocking them. Repeat with the top piece.
  3. Use zip ties to hook the middle vertical sections together. This helps strengthen the ladder since the top and bottom corners of the trellis are loose.
  4. Insert the lower angled pieces into the ground and drive small stakes or pins into the ground to anchor the ladder.

There you have it – a thick, steel tomato ladder for $10 each (or $2 in my case). All that’s missing is the cheery color. The good news is that it matches the trellis we already made for the sweat peas. So what do you think of my IKEA hack?  Have you made anything with the IKEA Salvia trellis?

1 Jun
2009

We Dig It

The plants and seeds made it into the ground two weeks ago and we just can’t contain our excitement. So much so that we forgot to write about the process. But we did document it with photos.  Here’s what we ended up planting: roma tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, green onions, summer squash, radishes, jalapeno, green peppers, yellow peppers, basil, cilantro, parsley, cucumber, beets, buttercrunch lettuce, arugula, snow peas, and sweet peas!  The following are pictures of one of the three planter boxes.

Week 0: Planted peas, beets, tomatoes, arugula, butter lettuce

Week 1: Sweet peas, beets, and arugula germinated!

Week 2: Sweet peas and arugula growing like crazy!

We edited the original container garden plan slightly to allow for the peas to grow in a north – south line and make the most of the space. As you can see in the above pics, the pea trellis is pretty tall and we’re hoping a wild wind doesn’t take it down (fingers crossed).

Our latest gardening dilemma is how often and how much to water.  We are currently watering every other day, by putting the hose into each box for about 2 – 3 minutes.

Original Plan: