We put more of the Ikea trellis from last year on the other side of the yard and built 4 huge tomato cages using these instructions: http://yourhomegardenblog.com/vegetable-gardening/constructing-tomato-cages-using-wire-mesh
Except for one difference: the wire mesh in both home depot and lowe's was super rusty and expensive. so instead we got some type of galvanized wire. I have to look up exactly what it was b/c my partner bought it but I can only make a short post of notes right now as I have other work to do. This wire is very shiny and not rusted at all.
The only problem is the holes were smaller so it would be hard to reach your hands in to harvest the fruit. So I took a pair of industrial wire cutters we just bought and made 15 extra big holes per cage. I may have to cut more, but I figured that was enough to start.
We staked them into the bed with 1 rebar each, and 2 wood stakes each. They do seem extra strong so I am very pleased.
Then, I finally made one of the rowcover mini greenhouses w/ the wire that I read about in Eliot's book last fall!!
It really worked!!! I am so happy.
The wire did not make perfect hoops like I wanted it to, b/c it was kind of flimsy. So the shape is really uneven. At 1st it didn't seem sturdy enough to hold up to wind so I also had to make a 4th hoop to go across all three, as a crosspiece for stabilty. Then it seemed really strong, so that was easy enough to fix.
I think it may of been especially flimsy b/c I had to make the hoops pretty high, like 3 ft tall. There is a short trellis with burpee early perfection peas growing in the middle of this bed, with 4 different types of strawberries.
Although I wasn't planning on growing peas in there again - I was just going to let the strawberry runners fill it in - I think the trellis may have ended up working in my favor b/c I attached the wire to it for extra stability. And it is a pretty strong trellis. I hammered it in more too, so it is really in there.
I actually had to finish it yesterday for bird netting, not agribon, so the birds and squirrels would not eat my berries. The bird netting I bought at home depot last year was only held over it w/ logs & stones, and the peas were getting tangled in it.
So I attached the bird netting to this hoophouse structure with plain old wooden clothespins. I figured the clothespins would make it very easy to just take one off, pull up that section to pick a berry, then just clip it back on.
That was yesterday, and today it still seems to be working great! I have to go pick some berries right now. yum :-)
I still have to build several more of these, and believe the next ones will be better.Of course there's a learning curve.
I even had an idea, since this one looked so much like a modern tent - why not use a type of good tent poles design to make ultralight moveable mini greenhouses? I may have even read it in Eliot's book...I think I heard that idea somewhere before. I really think something like that just might work.