Whether joining the local food movement or trying to combat rising food costs, now is the time to plant your spring garden for a summer bounty. Wearing light and comfortable bamboo clothing, take advantage of the mild days and breezy evenings to prepare garden beds and plant summer fruits and vegetables. Make your bamboo garden work for your summer garden by building a bamboo tomato cage and bamboo pepper support.
Using a tomato cage makes it easier for sunlight to reach the growing fruit and makes them less prone to rot and fungal disease. While there are many wire mesh cages available for purchase, a bamboo cage is a more beautiful choice for the garden.
Here’s what you need to build your bamboo tomato cage:
- Four 6-foot long bamboo poles
- Twelve 38-inch long pieces of bamboo
- 12 plastic zip ties
- Measuring tape
Here’s how to build your bamboo tomato cage:
- Take two of the 6-foot-long bamboo poles and lay them side-by-side, spacing them 3 feet apart.
- Create the first side of the cage by laying a shorter piece of bamboo horizontally across the top of the two longer bamboo poles (it should look like a rung on a ladder). Make sure that the “rung” is straight and level.
- Attach the rung to each bamboo pole with a zip tie, making sure to cinch the tie down very tightly.
- Measure 20 inches down from the first rung and attach the second rung to the bamboo poles using zip ties. Repeat this step with the third rung (it will be 40 inches down from the first rung).
- You now have one side of the bamboo tomato cage complete. It should look like a bamboo ladder with extra space between the third rung and the bottom of the ladder. Repeat Steps 1 through 3 to build the second side of the cage.
- Now it’s time to finish the cage in the garden. Plant your tomato seedling. Then place one of the ladders 18 inches in front of the tomato. Drive the legs of the ladder into the soil, making sure that it is stable and level. Then, take the second ladder and place it 18 inches from the backside of the tomato. Push the ladder down into the soil so that it is the same height as the first ladder. The ladders should now be facing each other, spaced 3 feet apart with the tomato in the middle.
- Complete the cage by attaching the two ladders together with the remaining 38-inch-long bamboo rungs to form a cube. Be sure to attach the side rungs so they line up as closely as possible with the rungs on the ladders. Use the remaining zip ties to attach the rungs, being sure to cinch them down very tightly.
Pepper plants tend to have brittle stems and are likely to break from the weight of their own fruit. Using an attractive bamboo support keeps the plants upright and allows the pepper to mature without falling to the ground.
Here’s what you need to make your bamboo pepper support:
- Two 3-foot tall U-shaped bamboo stakes for support
- Sisal twine
Here’s how to build your bamboo pepper support:
- Plant your peppers in a spot with full sun and rich soil. Space the plants 18 inches apart in rows that are two feet apart.
- To make the support, center one U-shaped stake over a pepper plant. Then, drive each leg of the stake 10 inches into the soil.
- Take the second U-shaped stake and center it crosswise over the first stake (the top of the two stakes should form an X when viewed from above). Drive each leg of this stake 10 inches into the soil. You should now have a bamboo support that forms a column around the plant and crisscrosses at the top.
- Make sure each leg of the support is evenly driven into the ground and the top of the support is level. Then, secure the two stakes together by wrapping an 18-inch piece of sisal twine around the point where the tops of the stakes cross.