Plastic teepees, they’re all the rage

Tomato cages may be the most useful invention since the wheel. They are so versatile. For instance, I’ve used them for Halloween decorations: Witches and the invisible body that holds the floating skull to name a couple. In May, I used them to make teepees and I’ve also put 2 cages in the garden for the snow peas to climb. See? Versatile.

Let me talk a bit about those teepees. Even though it was too early, I bought some adorable baby tomato plants – one Siberian and one Czechloslavakian…you know, because Colorado is just like Siberia or the Czech Republic – and put them in pots. Then I thought, “Well, while it’s probably not going to frost again for real, it could still get pretty cold at night. Cold nights are bad for tomatoes. And they’ve been living in a greenhouse all this time. I should use the plastic from the hoophouse and cover them somehow. But how? I need to keep the plastic where it is in case of hail but I don’t want to put the tomatoes over by the straw bale garden because they need all sun all day.” These are the types of conversations I have in my head. I thought about it a bit and remembered I’d inherited a few tomato cages last year. Now, a normal person would plant the tomato cage in the pot like it’s supposed to be. But I’m an abnormal person and I upended the cages so the legs were sticking up in the air and the top was circling the tomato plant. Then I retrieved the leftover roll of plastic and cut off two strips which I wound around each cage and pot essentially making teepees. I mean, think about it- an upside down tomato cage is nothing but a teepee frame, right?

Because I’m white trash, I had to do it the white trash way, not the Better Homes and Gardens way. Lest you think less of me, I’d like to remind you that I’m classy white trash. I did NOT use duct tape. No. I used electrical tape to secure the plastic to the frame and also to the rest of the plastic and that will keep it from blowing away and becoming litter. Success! Tiny plastic teepees wrap the tomatoes in warmth and love. But I didn’t stop there. It started getting cold out and as we all know, heat rises. I was worried that the heat that had accumulated in the little teepees would rise and escape out through the open tops. I cut another two pieces of plastic, this time little rectangles, and I jammed them down the legs until they covered the openings and thus a vent was made. I can pull the rectangles all the way down and cover the top hole or I can raise them a bit to let the heat out. I am some sort of redneck genius. The neat thing is while they looked like garbage (literally) before the vents, now they look like little ghost nuns floating around my yard. It’s actually pretty cool. I might have to keep them after harvest season and use them in the yard for Halloween props.

See what you can do with a little plastic and a tomato cage? Instant teepee!

See what you can do with a little plastic and a tomato cage? Instant teepee!

I like electrical tape because it's black and goes with everything.

I like electrical tape because it’s black and goes with everything.

After only 15 minutes, it was already noticably warmer in this teepee. Also, it smelled really good in here, all earthy and tomatoey.

After only 15 minutes, it was already noticably warmer in this teepee. Also, it smelled really good in here, all earthy and tomatoey.

So, here’s what happened next: the teepees blew off in a wind/hailstorm but Gabe got them back on. I secured them and let the babies sit in their new homes for another week, or so, then hardened them off. Now they’re livin’ in the wild, sans protection, but they’re covered in flowers and are already beginning to produce. They’re way ahead of other tomato plants in the hood so I believe that, though they were…ahem…not artistic or beautiful, the plastic teepees worked, thanks be to tomato cages, plastic, and tape.

Our first Czechoslovakian tomato. There are blossoms all over this plant! The teepee worked!

Our first Czechoslovakian tomato. There are blossoms all over this plant! The teepee worked!

Here's the Siberian tomato. It has fewer blossoms but does have a baby tomato growing, too. Hooray!

Here’s the Siberian tomato. It has fewer blossoms but does have a baby tomato growing, too. Hooray!

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6 Comments

Filed under Adventures, In my backyard

6 responses to “Plastic teepees, they’re all the rage

  1. You really ARE a classy redneck! I love that you published this as an unfinished post with the [link to this or that] left in. Eventually, you’ll have all kinds of exciting clickies for me! I’m nervous/giddy with anticipation right now!

    HOORAY for foreign tomatoes doing well! I haven’t even planted my tomatoes yet this year, and that makes me sad. The Manchild usually took care of “what to plant and when,” but since we split up, nothing has happened out there. I have tomorrow off, and plan to spend the morning yanking out the rest of the “jungle” that’s accumulated in the far corners so that I have room for my maters. Those are my favorite thing to grow because they seem to do really well in the sandy beach that is my garden. Plus, you know, tomatoes are DELICIOUS and AWESOME and USEFUL and STUFF.

    • I kind of feel bad for finishing this post; if I were to become famous, this would have been insightful and a good way to see what my final rough draft looks like. I’m sure people would care deeply. Actually, I think you’re the only person who read this and you saw my final rough draft so…really, I guess I don’t need to feel bad at all.

      I never get very good tomatoes; our growing season isn’t long enough. Usually, I just grow cherry varieties but I really wanted something different this year. I don’t think these will be too big but one of the Siberian tomatoes is as large as a ping pong ball already so that’s encouraging!

      And you’re going to blog about When Nature Attacks, right? Share your gardening adventures with us?

  2. Tyler J. Yoder

    Reading this means that I’m officially all the way caught up on your blog, and this makes me very sad. However, your resourceful pluck makes me very happy. I am very conflicted just now, and I ought to vary my diction a little more because I’ve modified ever emotion here with “very”.

    I wish that I’d been able to see your final rough draft, because then I could learn from it.

    • OH, Panda of Sadness!!
      I’m sorry you’ve caught up. But I’m glad you enjoy my pluck, though I worry about your confliction as well as your overuse of the word “very” (but not too worried because I overuse that qualifier all the time, as well)

      Only Le Jeneral saw the final rough draft and, as you can tell from her commentary, it benefited her greatly. In fact, I think it has probably propelled her toward stardom and obtaining a Nobel Peace Prize. That’s how powerful it was.
      (only not really at all)

      Don’t worry; there’s another post coming out tomorrow. They always show up on Wednesdays. And I don’t think I’ll ever catch up on yours; I’m only on the 40th post and you’ve posted twice in the past 5 days, or so. Aiyah! You write faster than I can read, Mr. Prolificness.

      • Tyler J. Yoder

        That’s because I discovered the magic of prescheduled posts, thanks to Wayne. I write when I feel like it, and then three posts a week happen when they’re supposed to. 😀

        I will be watching every Wednesday, waiting in anticipation of your posts. I will possibly also telephone if they don’t show up on time, and harass you until they do. ❤

        • You wouldn’t be the first. You’d be…the second. To call to ask where my post was, that is.

          I also love the magic of prescheduled posts. mostly, I like knowing that if I die suddenly, there will be random posts popping up for about three months afterward. I’ve got one scheduled for Sept, one for Oct. and one for Dec. and then a bunch of drafts that I will schedule soon. Heh heh heh. It’s GENIUS!

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