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I built a cucumber tower for my SFG

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I built a cucumber tower for my SFG

Post  quiltbea on 6/7/2010, 8:14 pm

I went to Home Dept for concrete reinforcing wire because it is sturdy and it had 6" spaces between rungs. They only came in 8' lengths, so I bought two and had them cut in half. I have enuf for 4 towers or 2 towers and sturdy wire trellis for my squash or small watermelons.



This is a half piece that is 4 by 4.


With my feet and my hands, I shaped the strong wire almost into a cylinder but not quite. I took twine and connected the two smooth outside edges so they had about a 6" distance. That made a perfect size for my tower. It also meant the rough prongs were available on the bottom for burying in the soil.



I took 4 large vegetable cans and punched 3 holes in the bottoms, filled them with dehydrated cow manure and alfalfa pellets, and buried them in the center of the tower. When it rains, the crops will be automatically fed. This tower happens to be in the long mounded bed next to the zucchini and squashes.



The tower fits in the middle of a 3 by 3 foot plot of my raised SFG. In the back are 3 Rose tomatoes, and the left side is nasturtiums, lemon balm and parsley.



I planted some seedlings and also some seeds around the towers. I left some space open for a later planting of seeds in about ten days time.
I hope to get a nice harvest this way. Last year's cukes were a flop. Too much rain in July drowned those I had so I got very few cukes on the plants. Also, with a tower, I can plant more plants around it. I'll thin to one every 6" for the smaller pickling varieties and 8" apart for the larger slicing cukes.
I'll let you know how it works out with the towers.
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Re: I built a cucumber tower for my SFG

Post  boffer on 6/7/2010, 10:38 pm

Thanks for the idea! I've got several cages for tomatoes, just like you made, that aren't being used yet this year. I know how I'll be planting my cuke seeds tomorrow! Except I'm a chicken; I'll use one T post to make sure the cage doesn't fall over!
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Re: I built a cucumber tower for my SFG

Post  jenjehle on 6/7/2010, 11:44 pm

@boffer wrote:Thanks for the idea! I've got several cages for tomatoes, just like you made, that aren't being used yet this year. I know how I'll be planting my cuke seeds tomorrow! Except I'm a chicken; I'll use one T post to make sure the cage doesn't fall over!

Quiltbea~


Great idea! Question, is the wire an orange color? Is it coated with something?

Thanks for sharing your great idea~


Boffer~

What do you mean T-post? Sorry, I'm not familiar with it.
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Re: I built a cucumber tower for my SFG

Post  Chopper on 6/8/2010, 12:17 am

My dad loved the idea of using a similar tower. But he put kitchen scraps and leaves, grass (compost stuff) in the center and planted tomatoes around it. Worked nicely as I recall.

When you say you had it cut, who cut it? The store or your son?

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Re: I built a cucumber tower for my SFG

Post  boffer on 6/8/2010, 1:40 am

@jenjehle wrote:
Great idea! Question, is the wire an orange color? Is it coated with something?
It's not coated. The color is called "freshly rusted steel" orange. In a few days it will mellow and mutate into "rusty metal" brown.

@jenjehle wrote:
What do you mean T-post? Sorry, I'm not familiar with it.
Just simple steel fence posts. It may be a regional term. I believe Chocolatepop, in the mid-west, calls them U posts. In Bea's fourth picture there are three visible.
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Re: I built a cucumber tower for my SFG

Post  Debora Cadene on 4/22/2012, 11:44 am

Hi Quiltbea.
With these cages, did you plant the cucumbers around the outside of the ring, or just on the inside?
Also, I think I read somewhere that you mention talking about a string at the top...is that for the cucumbers, or tomatoes?
This year will be my first garden and although we are no where near ready to put anything into the ground, I am trying to organize my thoughts about trellises vs cages.

Debbie.
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Re: I built a cucumber tower for my SFG

Post  madnicmom on 4/22/2012, 11:59 am

Although I put my cukes on a trellis made of electical conduit and trellis netting, this would work great with my roma tomatoes! Thank you!
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Re: I built a cucumber tower for my SFG

Post  quiltbea on 4/22/2012, 12:10 pm

Sorry I haven't seen this updated post to give further information til now.

The 'rusting' has been answered. It's called reinforcement wire or 'something or other' in the bldg supply of Home Dept. It came in 8 ft lengths and the store cut them in half for me to fit in my trunk (t-bird). That's why I had to use strong twine to tie them together with the ends about a foot distance apart to get the proper diameter for my cucumber tower.

I think it would work as a great trellis for most vining plants if kept flat and attached to posts at either side at the north end of the box. Even cukes. With its 4' width, you can have it going up 6' or 8' tall for vining crops. I, personally, do not want it for my tomatoes since I prefer stinging for them.

I plant my seeds around the outside of the cage bottom every 6-8" apart around it. I also use tomato cages in the comm garden for my cukes and it works well. Again, sow seed around the base.

For my cukes this year I am going to use the same string/twine method I use for my tomatoes in my SFG. I plan to sucker them as well and hope the cukes grow tall up the string. It works great for tomatoes, so I hope it will work for cukes as well. I'll keep you posted.



Above: Twine running top to bottom in many beds. I can switch to trellis netting when I rotate to peas or pole beans.

I bought nylon twine to use this year for its longevity and also because nylon will not cut into the vine growth.
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Re: I built a cucumber tower for my SFG

Post  Debora Cadene on 4/22/2012, 12:27 pm

Thank you so much for such a quick reply....I was going to make cages for the tomatoes out of hog wire or what ever its called, but I'm thinking mabey this idea instead. I am probably only going to plant 2 tomatoes, but for the fun of it, I can try a cucumber at the end to see if it works as well, and then the rest of the cukes can go into a cage.
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Re: I built a cucumber tower for my SFG

Post  quiltbea on 4/22/2012, 12:37 pm

Welcome Debora, I noticed you are a newbie here. If you have any questions, just ask. Around here, everyone likes to help each other.

Being in the north part of the continent, you too have short summers with which to contend. You'll also learn that we all experiment to find out what works best for each of us. Its not always the same.
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Re: I built a cucumber tower for my SFG

Post  Debora Cadene on 4/22/2012, 12:45 pm

Thank you so much for the welcome. I think I'm really gonna like it here. I already have TONS of questions and I know that all the confusion I have created for myself will be clear as mud in no time. Its not unusual for me to put the cart before the horse and bite off way more then I can chew, which is why I am trying to organize as many ideas, plans and thoughts as possible before my garden starts.
I think right now, my biggest questions (or confusions) are about staking, cages and trellises.

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