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Vegetable Gardening: Ideas needed for setting 8ft support posts, please.

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HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

January 17, 2012
9:26 AM

Post #8971337

My goal this summer is to add trellises to grow pole beans, English peas, and melons. I've already purchased thirty five 8ft T-Posts and the trellis netting, which will be enough for five 25ft beds.

My dilemma is how to make the holes for the posts. I don't have a post hole digger, and really don't need a big hole to set these posts. Rather, I need a "slit" into which to place the posts. I could hammer them into the ground, but there is a rock ledge just under parts of the clay top soil throughout the garden, so I don't want to bend the posts. We have built raised beds on top of the clay soil layer, so I need to get the posts deep enough to go through the 12" layer that I have created, plus another 12" or so into the clay layer to prevent the posts from tilting in the wind.

Anyone had experience setting such posts? If so, what tool did you find worked best? I don't have anything mechanical, and don't have a lot of money to spend.

This is what I purchased:

http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-202024000/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053

Thanks in advance for any advice ^:-)^
cornish2175
Charleston, SC
(Zone 8b)

January 17, 2012
2:04 PM

Post #8971656

you need what I call a post pounder- can't think of the right name but it is basicly a heavy metal tube with one end closed and it has handles. Ask where you bought the t-posts- it is worth every penny you spend. Check a feed store- they may have them for rent.On our last property we fenced and cross fenced with t-posts and red brand wire- almost 8 acres. Only posts set in cement was the corners and gates. You put the pounder over the post, lift it a bit and slam it down- you only need to sink them to just over the flange. Hope this helps

greenhouse_gal

greenhouse_gal
Southern NJ
United States
(Zone 7a)

January 17, 2012
3:52 PM

Post #8971827

We have one of those post pounders, too. The only trick is to get up high enough so you can exert a little pressure as you release it to hammer the post into the ground. We usually start off with a sturdy ladder at each post. We use that all the time, whenever a metal-stake fence is needed.
TX_gardener
Brady, TX
(Zone 8a)

January 18, 2012
5:56 AM

Post #8972521

That pounder is exactly what you need. My friend, a welder, made me one for less than the retail $$.

greenhouse_gal

greenhouse_gal
Southern NJ
United States
(Zone 7a)

January 18, 2012
7:56 AM

Post #8972676

Here's a photo of one version:
http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=stake driver&hl=en&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=2957098523793841794&sa=X&ei=KusWT5eXMcT30gHx6uTZAg&ved=0CNIBEPMCMAc#ps-sellers

It's also called a stake driver. If you can find it locally you can avoid the shipping fees, which are high because it's on the heavy side.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

January 18, 2012
8:12 AM

Post #8972712

They look rather heavy. I'm not sure I could lift one of these above my head, and slip it over the 8ft post.

Anyone know how much they weigh?

Thanks for the info, y'all ^:-)^

greenhouse_gal

greenhouse_gal
Southern NJ
United States
(Zone 7a)

January 18, 2012
9:14 AM

Post #8972805

I can lift ours; usually DH gets up on the ladder and I hand it up to him. But then I'm also used to 50-lb. feed bags.
cornish2175
Charleston, SC
(Zone 8b)

January 19, 2012
3:59 AM

Post #8973758

lay your posts out where you are putting them, slid the pounder over the top and then stand the post up. make sure it is exactly where you want the post cause once it's in, it's h### to move,and also make sure it is straight with the bumps going the same way. lift the pounder a little and let it drop. Do this a few times till it sets in the ground a bit- then lift it almost off then let it drop- you only need to do this till the flanges are buried. Granted, if you are not used to heavy work your arms will hurt but think how toned your arms will look- just like lifting weights. I was in my 50's when we fenced our property,and I did 90% of the work alone.

What are you using for the trellis part? If you are using wire fencing you can buy clips- they look like a bent U with loops on either end. Put your trellis wire on the smooth side of the post, put a clip in place holding with one hand, pull the wire a bit to hook over one loop, then straighten the clip and pull the other side of the wire and hook. If you are using wire fencing such as red brand (rolled fencing) you will need help pulling it tight or it will sag. We made a come along out of a heavy board with hooks running it's length and a hook and chain on the other side which we attached to our lawn tractor. Do short sections at a time, pulling the wire tight but not stretching it out of shape, put a clip in the top and bottom then move on till finished. We then went back and clipped in more clips in the middle.

Hope this helps, if you are still confused find a feed store or tractor supply- they will be happy to explain visually. Where did you buy your posts? They also should be able to help you. Good luck, Susan
podster
Deep East Texas, TX
(Zone 8a)

January 19, 2012
4:17 AM

Post #8973770

http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-202024132/h_d2/ProductDisplay?selectedCatgry=SEARCH ALL&jspStoreDir=hdus&catalogId=10053&navFlow=3&keyword=t post driver&Ntpc=1&langId=-1&Nu=P_PARENT_ID&storeId=10051&Ntpr=1&ddkey=Search

I use one. Try the way Cornish2175 said. Slip it on the post, then stand it all up together. It does use different muscle but because it is heavy, it will drive the posts firmly.

When I first started refencing, I stood on a carpenters bench to drive them. I can now do it without that aerial assist.

You will notice more vibration from the rock base but you shouldn't need to place these posts all that deeply.

You might ask around to see if you can borrow one or perhaps even rent one cheaply. Unless one farms, you will have limited use for this driver.

cornish2175
Charleston, SC
(Zone 8b)

January 19, 2012
4:31 AM

Post #8973783

Sorry, went back and read your original post and saw you are planning on using netting. A trick I have used is to facen top, middle and bottom to the first post, then put a dowel or old broom handle at the edge of the net where it unrolls, then holding net on pole together pull it tight, wire top, middle and bottom and so on. You will still need help doing this in order to keep the net tight- otherwise the weight of the crop will pull the net down. I learned this the hard way- also-
Not to bust your balloon but is the netting plastic? You can never get the dead vines off, so it looks ugly or you end up tossing the whole mess. Another trick is to run wire at the top and bottom of the post, either clipping or looping around a few times, then run hemp twine top to bottom in sort of a zig zag. then when your crop is done just cut off the twine and throw everything in your compost pile. the hemp will decompose in a short time and save the landfill. I did this for many years with great success after I realized how much money I was wasting using plastic net.

greenhouse_gal

greenhouse_gal
Southern NJ
United States
(Zone 7a)

January 19, 2012
5:12 AM

Post #8973816

We use hemp twine, too, for our beans. Our uprights are bamboo poles with metal stakes alternating for stability (two bamboo to one metal, depending on the length of the row), and then we run bamboo poles across the top and bottom of the setup so we can string our hemp from those.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

January 19, 2012
7:54 AM

Post #8973993

Great ideas - thanks to you all.

cornish2175 I'm using nylon netting, which I think is what you are calling plastic netting. I've used hemp and nylon in the past and prefer the nylon. I agree that it is difficult to remove the dead vines from the nylon netting, but I do it a few at a time during the fall/winter months when I let the dogs out. I like your idea of using a broom handle, and will give it a try.

GG getting hubby (he's 80) or myself (I'm 68) on a ladder is not possible, especially as our garden is on a slope. My darling hubby has neurological problems and frequently falls over even on level ground. I once had a hard time getting him up because he had fallen and become wedged between the fence and a tree. As to myself - my family will attest that me and ladders are not good friends ^:-)^

podster
Quoting:Unless one farms, you will have limited use for this driver.


I was thinking the same thing.

greenhouse_gal

greenhouse_gal
Southern NJ
United States
(Zone 7a)

January 19, 2012
8:23 AM

Post #8974022

What about getting a handyman to put these up for you? A lot of people erect permanent lattice/fence structures and rotate which crops they grow on each one. I have also seen some neat structures made of cattle fence, formed into a hoop; these can be semi-permanent as well. You don't want something you have to put up and take down every year if you're doing this mostly by yourself.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

January 19, 2012
8:58 AM

Post #8974078

GG -
Quoting:A lot of people erect permanent lattice/fence structures and rotate which crops they grow on each one


You and I think much alike on gardening matters.

I plan to keep the posts in place to grow pole beans, peas, and melons. I might even try tomatoes tied to the posts - but I think the posts will be too far apart to do this, unless I planted tomatoes every four feet with something else in between. I'm going to set the posts 4ft apart.
cornish2175
Charleston, SC
(Zone 8b)

January 19, 2012
9:10 AM

Post #8974103

Do you have teen-agers in your neighborhood? I have found they are always looking to make a few bucks, especialy the younger ones- cheaper than a handyman. Then you would just have to supervise.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

January 19, 2012
9:21 AM

Post #8974115

cornish2175 - I live on a short,dead-end street with no teenagers or young children. It's so quiet and peaceful without the them LOL

I might be able to get my daughter to help. One way or another, the posts will get into the ground - it just might take awhile ^:-)^

greenhouse_gal

greenhouse_gal
Southern NJ
United States
(Zone 7a)

January 19, 2012
9:54 AM

Post #8974158

You can put up temporary poles between the four foot spans for tomatoes, or else grow them on wire strung between them; that's not a bad way to support them if you have two strands of wire a couple of feet apart.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

January 19, 2012
10:41 AM

Post #8974222

GG - I had thought of the wire idea, but handling wire, or wire fencing doesn't seem like something I would be happy doing. But temporary poles would work! We have lots of bamboo poles. I have pea fences, but they are not tall enough, the tomatoes grow up and over the top and make it both hard to pick them, and almost impossible to walk between the raised beds.

Hmmm... I just had a "light bulb moment" I could grow indeterminates up the 8ft posts and determinates in between - they only grow a little higher than my pea fences!

I can't wait until the first row of posts have been set and I can show y'all photos!


http://www.usingenglish.com/reference/idioms/light bulb moment.html

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

January 19, 2012
12:17 PM

Post #8974366

Could ya'll post pictures of these various structures? I'm challenged with trying to picture what you're describing. Those three blind guys would come up with the elephant LONG before I would...

Thanks!
Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

January 19, 2012
12:20 PM

Post #8974371

Honeybee, I think your last idea, the light bulb moment, would work great for you. And lots less work that running wire, adding fencing and such, eh?

I, too, use T-posts for bean trellises. And yep, I also only take them down on occasion...first part of season I grow peas up them. Peas don't produce long so I can easily follow them with pole beans...and no, I don't worry about following peas with beans at all, not until or unless I see any common disease/virus that peas and beans would share.. The following year you can start with peas again and when they are gone you can grow cukes or vining squash up your trellis. Or yes, tomatoes, too.

At some point you might want to invest in a cattle panel. Those can be easily lashed to your row of posts and are sturdy enough to grow anything on. Even tomatoes don't need tying up because you can just weave them through the holes in the panel as they grow.

As for getting the posts in the ground, our local high school has volunteer students who are involved in Ag classes and such and they are always looking for someone to help...they get credit for it, the community gets a helping hand, and you get your posts in the ground.

Shoe


Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

January 19, 2012
12:21 PM

Post #8974375

Was typing while GG posted. I'll see if I have some pics on the computer, or go out and quickly take some for ya. Back later.

Shoe
Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

January 19, 2012
12:26 PM

Post #8974381

Here is one of a bean trellis with t-posts, wires running at the top and bottom, then twine/hemp woven between the two wires. In this row I used shorter posts so you can see I extended their height using galvanized pipe.

This trellis works great for beans, peas, cukes, etc. Goes up fairly fast and I normally just replace the hemp/twine each year.

Shoe (out to the garden before i lose my daylight. )

Thumbnail by Horseshoe
Click the image for an enlarged view.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

January 19, 2012
1:28 PM

Post #8974493

Maybe use a pick to loosen the soil down to the rock level, push the post through the loosened soil, then stomp the soil down to pack it?

If you have a lot of bamboo poles, but they aren't sturdy enough to support as much weight as you need, you can turn them into tripods that will support at least three times the weight. (And tripods don't need to be driven into the ground for stability.) Just twirl some stromg waxed twine 3-4 times around the three upper ends, pull tight (and maybe make a half-hitch to hold it tight), then weave 1-2 loops very tight BETWEEN the poles to pull the main loop tight. Square knot.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55thqbbYF14

And you can lash two bamboo poles together to make them stiffer and stronger, or longer. I lash the thin parts of two flimsy poles together to get one pole that is both longer and stronger.

terri_emory
Alba, TX
(Zone 8a)

January 19, 2012
1:40 PM

Post #8974506

Honeybee, I have a spade similar to this: http://www.amleo.com/product.aspx?p=VP-AMXXX

I stomp the spade into the ground as deep as it will go and rock it back and forth, stomping it deeper if I can, thus creating a slit into the ground. I then insert post into the slit and plum the post and use the post driver until desired height for post. Then stomp the earth back in around the post. I'm not very tall and have devised this method over the years. The least amount of wear and wear on my back while still being able to do it by myself.

greenhouse_gal

greenhouse_gal
Southern NJ
United States
(Zone 7a)

January 19, 2012
2:01 PM

Post #8974550

Rick, all of my tomato plants are grown on bamboo tripods, but I always sink them into the ground about a foot. Otherwise a strong wind would blow them over, plants and all. My indeterminates get large and unwieldy and need all the support I can give them.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

January 20, 2012
5:58 PM

Post #8975915

>> I always sink them into the ground about a foot. Otherwise a strong wind would blow them over, plants and all.

Wow, that is some wind! I only have a few really windy days per year, but I don;t think it ever got that windy.

But then, my bamboo poles have not been long, and I spread them pretty wide at the base.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

January 20, 2012
8:21 PM

Post #8976049

I'd definitely have to anchor them in my windy yard.

greenhouse_gal

greenhouse_gal
Southern NJ
United States
(Zone 7a)

January 21, 2012
3:41 AM

Post #8976152

Usually at least once each summer we have a storm with high winds that attacks my bean fencing, maybe because it's typically a solid mass of foliage. My tomato tripods can normally withstand it, but they are anchored in the ground.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

January 21, 2012
7:59 AM

Post #8976355

Rick We tried the tri-pod method with the bamboo poles the first year here, but the results were less than satisfactory. By the end of the growing season, the whole shebang had fallen over!

terri_emory We have a regular spade (similar to the one in your link) and hubby and I have decided to try putting in the posts using it. If that doesn't work, we'll scratch our heads and think of something else. LOL

Horseshoe I have followed peas with beans on several occasions over the years with no apparent ill effects. This year, I'm going to follow peas with melons. I purposely purchased 8ft posts so I would not have to add extensions as you have done. I'm hoping they will still be tall enough once I get them into the ground ^:-)^


Honeybee (who is rather surprised that "shebang" is actually a real word!)
Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

January 21, 2012
9:55 AM

Post #8976526

Hehehe, yeh, "shebang" is a great word, Honeybee! I'd love to hear it said with your accent!

As for tripods, I usually put up a couple each year in an area where there is not quite enough room for a straight-line trellis. But like some of ya'll they are best if the legs are pushed into the ground a bit. Once a tripod is full of foliage it is like a sail and easily toppled over once it is top heavy.

I think my best one was a four-legged one (a quadpod?). It was big enough to stand under and roomy enough to put other plants within its legs. I think its height was 9 ft tall.

Nothing like a pretty tripod or two in your garden! Then again, nothing like a pretty string trellis, too...they look like a work of art, don't they?

Shoe

Thumbnail by Horseshoe
Click the image for an enlarged view.

JoParrott
Richland, WA
(Zone 7b)

January 21, 2012
10:23 AM

Post #8976549

A work of art indeed, Shoe- but in my country the wind would put that down real quick! Here's what I have in place for this year- My soil is terribly rocky, and it's nearly impossible to put anything in deep enough. So I braced the fence posts to the cedar fence about every 6' or so. Hope it will work. I can add cages, twine net or whatever I want along the way.

Thumbnail by JoParrott
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

January 21, 2012
10:41 AM

Post #8976580

I love seeing pics of your beds, Jo. Mighty purty!
And yep, I believe your trellis will stay put just fine.

Fortunately for me I was able to dig down fairly deep, and in hard clay so it really holds tight. Those cedar posts are probably two feet deep.

Hope you post another pic when that trellis is brimming with vines...will make a great "before and after" pic.

Shoe
JoParrott
Richland, WA
(Zone 7b)

January 21, 2012
11:06 AM

Post #8976617

Yep-can't wait to join all the others (namely Gymgirl, drthor and the other lucky southern gardeners who are potting up now!!!) But our time will come. We are just starting to melt some of the 8" of snow & ice that we got. I think I will spend the day making carrot seed tape with TP & watered down white glue. Exciting? not- but I'll be glad to have it in a few months when it's planting time.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

January 22, 2012
12:20 AM

Post #8977249

Um, Gymgirl's potting up progress has been impeded by the fact that, as I was slicing up several Brussels Sprouts plants that are only giving me "blown" sprouts, and I had just said to myself,"be careful, Linda," I promptly sliced through my left index finger with the pruners. Luckily, I sliced in at a 45 degree angle and missed a major artery. But it's still deep and, as we well know, digits love to bleed!

So, as much as I want/need to pot up the seedlings, my finger would not allow me to maneuver playing in dirt with a rubber glove on. Shoot!

I measured, and the seedlings are about 4"-5" tall, and getting fat. Looks like spacing them in the community flats when I sowed gave them room for their roots to thrive, and they're not competing for light nor water.

I also calculated I would have 4 more growing weeks if I pot em up tomorrow + one week to harden off. I can still fall within the plant out window for this batch. They'd be around 8"-10" at plant out. I'll have missed getting them in by 6"-8" as one expert grower recommend. But, I'm on track with the growth rate from last year, and they were fine. But, I wanted to see what a younger seedling would do.

Good thing Drthor tipped me off about starting the longest season maters first!

Will try the glove tomorrow.

Linda
MaryMcP
Phoenix, AZ
(Zone 9b)

January 22, 2012
5:32 AM

Post #8977362

Quoting:I live on a short,dead-end street with no teenagers or young children. It's so quiet and peaceful without the them...one way or another, the posts will get into the ground - it just might take awhile

If I were a tad closer I would pop over there with some ice cold lemonade and we'd have us a pole raisin'! Good luck with it all Honeybee.

Thumbnail by MaryMcP
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

January 23, 2012
8:58 AM

Post #8978956

Lovely setting, MaryMcP!

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

January 23, 2012
9:24 AM

Post #8979015

Gymgirl Blood meal can be purchased in a bag y-know - you don't have to feed them directly!

Seriously - I'm sorry to read about your encounter with the pruners! There must be something in the air... my son-in-law cut his finger badly enough to need stiches over the weekend while cutting drywall with a box cutter!

Be careful out there!

While I'm thinking of it - I had my doctor give me a tetanus shot during my last visit.

MaryMcP - thanks for the offer - however I'm allergic to all citrus fruit!

This message was edited Jan 23, 2012 12:24 PM

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

January 23, 2012
2:44 PM

Post #8979504

Thanks, HoneybeeNC!

I'm scheduled for a tetanus shot myself. Had my local pharmacy order it, and I need to make a lunch run to get it!
MaryMcP
Phoenix, AZ
(Zone 9b)

January 23, 2012
3:09 PM

Post #8979539

In that case I'll just bring beer!
Calalily
Deep South Coastal, TX
(Zone 10a)

January 24, 2012
3:20 AM

Post #8980105

Shoe, what a great idea for extending posts! We use t-posts with cattle panels for tomatoes. I tried them with beans, cukes and melons but we have too much wind. When the panels rocked, the vines ripped out of the ground.

Gymgirl, the pharmacist can order tetanus shots? Bud and I were just talking the other day about updating ours.

We use a post driver to put in the posts. A construction stool (like a tool box, but it has legs and a handle so it is easy to move) gives the right height to pound them in.
Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

January 24, 2012
8:13 AM

Post #8980436

Mornin', Susie...nice to see you posting your successes!

I'm lucky I don't have the high winds you do...or if I do they tend to run the length of the rows and not broadside. I put a t-post in the center of the cattle panels and wire them together, it takes a lot of play out of the panel wiggle. I'm sure ya'll do that, too, but your winds must really be a pain. Maybe using more center posts would help, eh?

Speaking of posts, winds, etc. I strongly recommend the good solid t-posts for all garden use, NOT some of the other metal posts available at the box stores. I put up a reed fencing for a customer using the "heavy duty steel utility fence posts" from Lowes. They have the curved/bend in them for extra rigidity (supposedly) but the first wind that came along bent these post at ground level, just above the anchor. Having done this twice I ended up pounding sections of rebar into the ground and in the channel of the post for extra support.
http://www.lowes.com/pd_92059-16418-100007_4294817819_4294937087_?productId=3160783&Ns=p_product_prd_lis_ord_nbr|0||p_product_qty_sales_dollar|1&pl=1¤tURL=/pl_TPosts+UPosts_4294817819_4294937087_?Ns=p_product_prd_lis_ord_nbr|0||p_product_qty_sales_dollar|1&facetInfo=

Just a word of wisdom so ya'll don't make the same mistake. Of course a less solid fence will allow the wind to blow through, or a string trellis, but I keep thinking what if my pole beans and tomatoes had been attached to those wimpy posts, what a loss, eh?

Shoe

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

January 24, 2012
8:58 AM

Post #8980486

Here's an idea that might help stop wind pulling roots out of the ground.

In the photo is my old set-up - I'm changing this to metal 8ft t-posts. Along the bottom is bamboo, which is fastened to the uprights with zip ties. Although the wind does whip the vines, the roots stay put - at least that's been my experience.

When I have my new set-up, I'll share photos...

Thumbnail by HoneybeeNC
Click the image for an enlarged view.

kittriana

kittriana
Magnolia, TX
(Zone 8b)

January 25, 2012
7:56 PM

Post #8982468

Chuckl, you can usually rent- or ask your feed store for the t post setter, but winds aren't the only reason to set them deeper than a foot- when you water your plants it softens the ground and the t posts can't remain anchored, or even visit tractor supply and see if they loan out the t post pounders...
Calalily
Deep South Coastal, TX
(Zone 10a)

January 29, 2012
6:49 PM

Post #8987293

Shoe, a breezy day here is less than 30 mph winds, they don't even say "windy" unless it's 35mph or more! The other day it was up to 45, hard to pick salad greens on a day like that because they kept blowing out of the basket.
We were using 2 cattle panels and 3 t-posts (the good kind from the farm supply store, not Lowe's) per bed, but have now changed to anywhere from 5 to 7 posts per bed. Much sturdier and less wiggle.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

March 10, 2012
6:11 AM

Post #9036685

My Italian neighbor came over this morning with a t-post setter (which he borrowed from a friend) and finished one row of five posts. I have GREAT neighbors.

I have five more rows to to go, but he said he could borrow the setter again later.

kittriana

kittriana
Magnolia, TX
(Zone 8b)

March 10, 2012
6:40 AM

Post #9036733

THATS how its done, chuckle,

greenhouse_gal

greenhouse_gal
Southern NJ
United States
(Zone 7a)

March 10, 2012
6:44 AM

Post #9036738

Good neighbors make good fences... (with apologies to Robert Frost)
terri_emory
Alba, TX
(Zone 8a)

March 12, 2012
9:42 AM

Post #9039505

LOL! Great!

greenhouse_gal

greenhouse_gal
Southern NJ
United States
(Zone 7a)

March 12, 2012
9:51 AM

Post #9039521

;-D

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

March 12, 2012
11:33 AM

Post #9039664

Greenhouse_gal, I think you get the Joke of the Month Award!

greenhouse_gal

greenhouse_gal
Southern NJ
United States
(Zone 7a)

March 12, 2012
12:14 PM

Post #9039715

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

March 12, 2012
12:43 PM

Post #9039746

Ok, I scored yesterday -- I think.

My neighbor has some galvanized metal poles that were used for a camper cover. They come with extensions that give me roughly 12' of pole.

I plan on drilling holes through the pipes, pounding them in about 24-36" leaving 9'. I'll run some heavy guage wire through the holes parallel to the ground. Then, I can drop some twine from the top wire down to the beans.

Yes? No? Good plan? Bad plan? Dreaming? LOL?

greenhouse_gal

greenhouse_gal
Southern NJ
United States
(Zone 7a)

March 12, 2012
1:21 PM

Post #9039794

That sounds like it should work! But we found that it was good to anchor the twine both top AND bottom. Maybe you can drill holes on the lower side, too. We usually put our lower cross-poles about four or five inches from the ground level so the beans have to reach slightly to climb.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

March 12, 2012
1:33 PM

Post #9039816

Thanks, G_Gal!

I could lash a cross pole to the uprights at the very bottom. Almost let it sit on the soil to weigh and anchor the twine. If it's lashed, it won't roll around.

JoParrott
Richland, WA
(Zone 7b)

March 12, 2012
3:25 PM

Post #9039971

Doesn't it make you happy to score finds like that!!! This morning I got a BIG bag of black shoestrings-about 15" long- there are thousands, and they will be perfect to tie up tomatoes, cukes, etc- I already had many spools of various macrame twine, etc- I collect everything for my garden. Another thing I use is cheap plastic shower curtain hooks- they clip around a pole very easy to hold a wandering vine!

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

March 12, 2012
6:11 PM

Post #9040195

>> cheap plastic shower curtain hooks- they clip around a pole very easy to hold a wandering vine!

Great tip!

Someone suggested cutting "circles" or strips out of supermarket plastic bags. Wide strips could tie up a vine or cradle a heavy tomatoe or squash, without less pressure than twine might create..

The circles took more art to use, but could support two vines or be pinned in place with a twig instead of a knot.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

March 12, 2012
6:22 PM

Post #9040211

SCORE for Jo! And, yes, great tip!
JoParrott
Richland, WA
(Zone 7b)

March 12, 2012
6:36 PM

Post #9040231

I find bags with a dozen shower curtain hooks for just a few cents at thrift shops, along with rolls of macrame yarns- it is better than twine since it is soft and thicker- doesn't bruise the plants.
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

March 12, 2012
7:08 PM

Post #9040291

Love all the suggestions. Imaginations sure do come in handy when you need them don't they? Whatever works. I love the cattle panels both for vines and tying up tomatoes. I had a nasturtium vine that covered one entire end of my hoophouse one year. Thick vines it had. The cattle panels are stationary so I could just pull them out at the end of the summer.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

March 13, 2012
11:03 AM

Post #9041153

Gymgirl - the problem I see with your plan is lining up the holes. My 8ft posts ended up at different heights - not much of a difference, but if I had to run string horizontally between them the difference in heights would be problematic. I will be draping my posts with trellis netting.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000BZ8FXS/ref=oh_o04_s00_i00_details

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

March 13, 2012
11:19 AM

Post #9041182

Bee,
I can use a line level to get the horizontals even.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

March 13, 2012
11:43 AM

Post #9041227

Gymgirl -
Quoting:I can use a line level to get the horizontals even.


That would take more patience on my part than I could possibly muster! LOL

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

March 13, 2012
12:09 PM

Post #9041250

Once the poles are sunk, just use the level to mark the lines and drill the holes through.

Use the EZ button!

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

March 13, 2012
12:16 PM

Post #9041258

Gymgirl - You are going to drill the holes AFTER you set the poles - that makes a lot more sense. Carry on! (giggle)

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

March 13, 2012
12:34 PM

Post #9041272

Either way. Even if I drill the holes first (measuring them off carefully), I can use the line level to adjust the pole depth so they're even. Just pound a bit here, a bit there until they line up.
rjogden
Gainesville, FL
(Zone 8b)

March 14, 2012
10:38 PM

Post #9043249

HoneybeeNC wrote:Gymgirl - the problem I see with your plan is lining up the holes. My 8ft posts ended up at different heights - not much of a difference, but if I had to run string horizontally between them the difference in heights would be problematic


Have you access to a laser level? They were introduced to the general market a number of years ago, now available at Lowes, Home Depot, etc. They aren't really that new, but for sure us old-timers didn't learn about them growing up because they didn't exist back then (the smallest lasers were the size of a desk and way too powerful). If you know someone who's into carpentry or home repair, they probably have one you can borrow and would love to demonstrate. They work by using an internal "spirit level" to send a narrow beam of light horizontally or vertically. Nice for everything from hanging shelves to getting the pictures on your walls straight.

It would be a two-person operation. First determine which post sits the lowest. Turn on the laser level, make sure it's on "horizontal" mode, and position it so the light beam just touches the top of the post (I would actually shine it across the horizontal surface to make sure you're not measuring short), and swing it around to hit each other post one at a time and mark where the light hits each of the posts. Next use a saw of your choice to cut the excess off the taller posts.

You can also use the method to determine which is the shortest post - it's the one that isn't hit by the light aimed across the top of any of the other posts. In fact, even if you think you know which post is shortest, I'd test that assumption by performing the procedure of marking all the other posts before making the first cut. That way, if you run into a post that is not hit by the horizontal beam you have found the new shortest post ;o).

-Rich

greenhouse_gal

greenhouse_gal
Southern NJ
United States
(Zone 7a)

March 15, 2012
3:49 AM

Post #9043304

All of this will work this year, but when she goes to reuse those posts next year and they each don't go in at precisely the same depth as previously she'll be off again...
MaypopLaurel
Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA
(Zone 7b)

March 15, 2012
5:08 PM

Post #9044187

SO and I use a length of iron pipe and a three pound hammer for rock bustin'. We are on the side of a mountain with a granite substrate. I like to change up the garden plan and am always amazed at the underground heave of new rock in areas that have been previously de-rocked.

dreaves

dreaves
Hutto, TX
(Zone 8b)

March 15, 2012
7:49 PM

Post #9044398

To have consistent heights, use the t-post tool and a 1x2 board. Mark the height of the post, then pound all the other posts in to the mark. Cheaper and easier than all those levels.

David
MaypopLaurel
Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA
(Zone 7b)

March 15, 2012
7:56 PM

Post #9044416

The camera on a smart phone can act as a laser level as well as various downloadable apps. but, at the end of the day, I'm with David when it comes to low tech gardening. The lower the better. lolower

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

March 15, 2012
9:24 PM

Post #9044497

Thank you for the input guys!

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

March 21, 2012
12:11 PM

Post #9051548

My Italian neighbor came by again today to finish setting the t-posts.

I'm going to try growing fall sown peas this year.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

March 21, 2012
12:47 PM

Post #9051594

My good friend Bubba reminded me that I have 6 ft. galvanized steel fence posts I could use to run the trellis. And, that couplers will extend the height! And, there are already holes in the pipes...

Good friend, Bubba...

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

March 21, 2012
12:54 PM

Post #9051602

Everyone should have a good friend like Bubba.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

March 21, 2012
3:42 PM

Post #9051826

Yeah, they should!

I'm doubly blessed though. I have a Bubba AND a Bee!

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

March 21, 2012
5:37 PM

Post #9051972

Aw, thanks, Gymgirl (blush)

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

March 22, 2012
11:49 AM

Post #9052889

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

March 29, 2012
9:35 AM

Post #9061863

Bee,
Here's the final product!

Thumbnail by Gymgirl   Thumbnail by Gymgirl
Click an image for an enlarged view.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

March 29, 2012
9:37 AM

Post #9061870

One more!

So far, the line's holding and the tomatoes are growing vertically. I'm going to put two more tomatoes on that line. Cricket advised that she plants anywhere from 8-12" apart, since most of her plants are pruned to only one main stem. I have enough space to set two more.

Thumbnail by Gymgirl
Click the image for an enlarged view.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

March 29, 2012
10:06 AM

Post #9061922

Gymgirl - Your beds look so much neater than mine.

I'll have to dig out my camera this weekend so you can see my (crooked) beds.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

March 30, 2012
4:41 PM

Post #9063614

I didn't see any horizontal strings. Can tomatoes climb a string the way peas or morning glories can?

Or are you planning to run some horizontal strings or poles later?

I only grew tomatoes one year so far, and I let them sprawl which led to a lot of rotted Stupice, though the Sungold cherry tomato vine held itself up pretty well. Maybe the flowers it choked out, when it surprised me by surviving, served as supports!

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

March 30, 2012
6:17 PM

Post #9063724

Rick,
There are no horizontals. The leader line is wound around the plant, which will be pruned to only one stem, until I learn to manage a double-stem vine. The line is secured to the overhead cross piece, with enough extra to support the plant vertically as it grows taller.

This is the system Cricketsgarden grows over 1000 tomatoes with. Hers grow closely together, side x side in 4-gallon pots. You should see her yield from such a small space.

Tomorrow I'm planting two more plants between those three. Cricket grows as close as 8" apart. I have space on that 48" line for five, single-stemmed tomato plants!

The frame is made from my salvaged, 7.5' galvanized metal fence posts. They're sunk 2' down. I removed the caps and affixed couplers to the tops. I joined an 18" section of PVC pipe to each side, bringing the height back up to 7'.

Then, I joined the 5' wide PVC cross piece with elbow couplers. Before construction, I spray painted everything to coordinate with my fence.

Here's Cricketsgarden's setup. It is totally fascinating!

http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/p.php?pid=9035606

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

March 30, 2012
6:48 PM

Post #9063766

>> There are no horizontals. The leader line is wound around the plant,

Very cool!
JoParrott
Richland, WA
(Zone 7b)

March 30, 2012
6:51 PM

Post #9063772

And my thinking has always been that you had to be desperately soil challenged to grow anything in a container, and then the yield was way less than satisfactory. All I have been reading this year has more than shown me to be totally wrong- you can grow anything in a pot if you use the proper materials and feed them right. I am awestruck at Cricket's and others photos and info. I won't be using many containers, simply because I have my ground pretty well fixed the way I want it. I do have 3 half barrels for potatoes, and some strawberry hanging planters.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

March 30, 2012
7:10 PM

Post #9063797

>> you had to be desperately soil challenged to grow anything in a container,

Even if that were true, many ARE desperately soil challenged! The bulldozers didn't leave much behind when they prepped my little lot in a manufactured home park. If you only have N cubic feet of soil, it seems to go farther in a pot than in a bed, if what's under the bed is totally impenetrable or would be flooded if roots did open it up..

I'm still building tiny raised beds as fast as I can create soil for them, but I'm compost-limited (or budget-limited). My curent basic recipie is 30% clay + 50% compost + 20% crushed stone and shredded bark. Replenish with 5-20% more compost, manure and coffee grounds every year, if I have it. Add bark mulch if I have it.

Here's another reason to grow in containers: being space / sun deprived. I have a tiny yard, and part of it is wasted on driveway and deck. Someday I may tear up part of the deck and amend the soil under it, but for now, I'm building RBs wherever I have any sun.

And planning to put some 5 gallon buckets on the deck, where there is sun, but no soil.

If the driveway were wider, I would put buckets there.

I may be able to sweet-talk and bribe some new neghbors into letting me put buckets on some shared driveway turn-around space, but pots might be knocked over by cars there.

That said, I agree with your first idea: if you CAN put plants where their roots can take advantage of real soil in the real ground, that's good for the plants.
steadycam3
Houston Heights, TX
(Zone 9a)

March 30, 2012
7:38 PM

Post #9063830

Rick, I got agreement from a neighbor to use the large easement behind his garage, (which he never used or even looked at.) He agreed to let me use that sunny spot and allowed be to install a gutter on the back of his garage to collect the rain water from it. Good Neighbor! I have the best ones anyone could hope for.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

March 30, 2012
7:49 PM

Post #9063838

>> Good Neighbor!

Indeed yes! I hope you bribe him abundantly with fresh veggies and cut flowers.

A couple is moving in on one side of me, and she says they want to eat more raw vegetables and grow thejm themsleves ... I'm hoping I can bribe them and "help" them by encroaching on their yard.
steadycam3
Houston Heights, TX
(Zone 9a)

March 31, 2012
12:13 AM

Post #9063938

He moved and is renting the house so I give a little to the renter but most of it to his daughter who lives next door to me. My neighbors contribute to my compost pile when they have things and we share cuttings and seeds. We feed each other's pets and house sit if needed. Ive never enjoyed a neighborhood as much as this one. Good luck with your new neighbor. It sounds promising if they are into growing things too! Tell them about the lady I saw on Home and Garden Network who said she refuses to water anything in her yard that does not produce food.
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

March 31, 2012
11:06 AM

Post #9064355

Back to Cricket's tomatoes, I think, and maybe someone will correct me if I am wrong, that she grows her tomatoes in grow bags. Can't remember what quantity, 1, 3, or 5 gallon. And, you should remember that unless you are going to pack them in tightly together, I found that they didn't do well because if you moved them, or shifted them at all, the roots can not grab hold in the soil. It keeps moving.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

April 1, 2012
7:11 AM

Post #9065287

My car will be (finally) paid for this time next year (YAY!) so I'll have some money to invest in some e-buckets.

I have a sizable area outside my garage that's paved in concrete where several e-buckets could grow enough tomatoes for ourselves and neighbors.
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

April 1, 2012
11:16 AM

Post #9065569

Honeybee, Ebuckets can be made for a dollar. It is the contents that cost the money. Or is that what you meant?

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

April 2, 2012
8:52 AM

Post #9066764

Jnette - Yes, it's the cost of filling e-buckets that has put me off.
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

April 2, 2012
9:34 AM

Post #9066826

They do take a lot of mix, no matter what you use, it is expensive.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

April 2, 2012
9:37 AM

Post #9066830

Which is why I highly recommend switching to Tapla's 3-1-1 container mix based on the Pine Bark Fines as the main component. This mix will save you a boatload of cash!

I filled FORTY 5-gallon and 6.5-gallon buckets last season. I spent either $18 or a 1/2 yard of pine bark fines, or $30 for a full yard (I can't remember which). I had about 1/2 the load left so I still think either is a bargain! I bought only two very large bags of MG potting mix for the peat component (but you can buy your own brand of reed/sedge peat), and 6 cubic ft. of Perlite (I use 1 lg. bag, and 1/2 of another large bag). Mixed in 2 cups of Dolomitic lime, and 1 cup of Triple 13 fertilizer per bucket.

It doesn't have to be expensive.
Linda

Thumbnail by Gymgirl   Thumbnail by Gymgirl   Thumbnail by Gymgirl   Thumbnail by Gymgirl   Thumbnail by Gymgirl
Click an image for an enlarged view.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

April 2, 2012
10:04 AM

Post #9066868

Linda - could you point me in the direction of Tapla's 3-1-1 container recipe, please.

I seem to remember that you made some changes to it.
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

April 2, 2012
12:40 PM

Post #9067070

LOL, it would cost me a lot more than that in just the gas to go get that stuff. If I could find it that is. But then I spend a lot on mixes anyway.

I did start some tomatoes, or at least I sowed the seeds in Roots Organic. Very strange stuff to be starting seeds in I think. I can see planting in it. And then I have some others I put in RR plugs. So, we'll see. Can't remember what else I was going to try other than Happy Frog. I do like that, but don't want any more tomatoes. Will try the Petunias in it.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

April 2, 2012
5:57 PM

Post #9067462

Bee,
Tapla's original formula is actually a 4-1-1 mix of pine bark fines:peat:perlite. He advised me to play around with the ratios for the eBucket mix, since I would need more wicking action.

I found 4-1-1 to dry out a bit faster than my brassicas liked, so I dropped the PBFs ratio. Some eBuckets had more peat (I recycled the old MG potting mix from the previous season as my peat component). In that case it was a 3-2-1 ratio.

I had some free draining buckets that the 4-1-1 worked really well in.

Considering I had over 40 buckets, and everything thrived, I'd start my PBFs search all over if I had to. I cut only two brand new bags of MG potting mix into the formula. You know how many $13 bags of straight MG it would've taken to fill 40 buckets?

Linda

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

April 3, 2012
10:09 AM

Post #9068196

Thanks, Linda.

I think I might try a recipe of coir/earthworm castings/perlite and add pine bark and MG potting soil to it. As long as I don't make it too heavy, it should work okay. I have several 7-gallon pots lying around - I'll set a single tomato plant in each and see what happens!

I mixed several packages of old tomato seeds together and sowed them. To my surprise lots of them grew! If the experiment works, I'll have lots of tomatoes, and if it doesn't - well I'll just add the mix to the raised beds. Nothing lost! :-)

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

April 3, 2012
11:26 AM

Post #9068289

Bee,
Your ingredients are fine. Just start with a larger portion of the pine bark. It should be the largest portion of the ingredients. For your containers, I'd mix it like this:

4 parts PINE BARK
1/2 part MG potting MIX (mix in containers, soil in the garden...)
1/2 Parts Coir
1 Parts Perlite

Both the Coir and the potting MIX will hold water, so adjust either accordingly...

You determine whatever you want your PART to be, i.e.,
one part = one gallon jug, or
one part = one bucketful, or
one part = one wheelbarrow full, etc.)

The mix is gonna look stranger than anything you've planted in before, but, trust me, IT WORKS!

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

April 4, 2012
9:27 AM

Post #9069529

Gymgirl - thanks for the recipe, it looks good to me. I use a gallon plastic jug for my measurements, so this is very doable!

Yes, I should have typed potting MIX - not potting SOIL.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

April 4, 2012
9:37 AM

Post #9069546

Bee,
I'm tutoring so many newbies, that typing out "potting MIX, MIX, MIX" has become part of my fingertips. I have to tell them that when I'm talking to seasoned growers and we say potting "soil" in the context of container gardening, we all know we really mean potting MIX! LOL!

Hugs!

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