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.
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.