|Inverted tomato cage/plastic cloche for larger plants|
I found 'tomato cages' absolutely useless, until a few years ago.... I needed to shade a 4'x14' brassica bed, the plants were wilting in the heat. I needed sturdy supports to; elevate burlap off of the plants, provide air circulation at soil level and stay in place in the wind. Voila, inverted tomato cages around each brassica, held to the ground with 2-3 tent-type pegs for each inverted cage. I now use the same method around the plants in pots. The frame supports numerous different covers and holds the plastic or burlap etc. away from the plant but stays put in the wind. Push the top ring of the tomato cage into the soil and weigh down with a few rocks or use tent-type pegs. Thread the plastic or burlap through the upward pointing spikes to hold in place if the wind picks up.
|Inverted tomato cages support mesh trays or burlap for shade|
In the top photo above; a long, clear, plastic bag over the inverted tomato cage becomes a cloche for larger plants at night. A hole is opened in the top to release excess heat and condensation will run down the inside to provide a small amount of moisture to the soil. New broccoli transplants are sheltered from the afternoon sun with a cardboard sheet supported between the tomato cage and a stake (burlap could also be used for shade but one side should be kept open for air circulation in this small space).
The outside tomatoes will be fine with our warmer temperatures but in the past I have found that if covered with a cloche at night for the first while, they seem to perk up faster and keep up with the greenhouse tomato plants. The cloche is removed in the daytime or they will overheat. If the sun is too intense, I shade them with burlap or the black plant trays that look like mesh. The inverted tomato cage provides a safe, secure, structure to hold the shade material at a distance from the plant.
|Uncover plants in the daytime|
Till next week... Happy Gardening and Bon Appetit!
Photos and 'grunt work' by Sally Rae