Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Does Stealing a Genius Idea Make You a Genius?

Although I cannot claim credit for having devised the above clever contraptions I am so glad that I was able to appropriate the idea, a much nicer way of describing theft.

I spotted these Gilligan's Island style tomato cages a few weeks ago in my neighbor Tom's garden patch. I expressed interest and admiration and generous fellow that he is, he arranged for me to procure some of the same fine bamboo so I could make my own.

I don't know why I can't anticipate that tiny tomato starts will grow into giant, gangly monsters, but I never do. I have started every year with the same wire cages, some square, some round, but the story always ends the same way; cages groaning under the weight of abundant produce, a web of twine strung from the cages to fences, nails in the side of the raised beds, or anything that seems it might offer a little support to the cage about to topple under the weight. Or branches, heavy with tomatoey deliciousness folding over the cold, hard wire.

So we got the bamboo from a friend of Tom's, who has a big property with lots of this gorgeous black bamboo towering over the other plants and her house. We cut down huge 20 foot plus poles and brought them back. It seemed like we took a lot, but she said it grows so fast that it will be replenished in no time. I guess that's why they call it a renewable resource.

I copied Tom's design almost exactly. Cut the poles to about 5 or 6 feet long, drilled some holes through the poles at about 8-10 inch intervals, drove the poles into the soil around the tomatoes, and strung twine through the holes.

Anyway, I love the Polynesian Moderne look that these new cages give the garden. And best of all I can feel smug for being so green and so correct. Thanks Tom.

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