DIY Tomato Cages and Natural Gopher Control
Make tomato cages from field tile cores and create hawk habitat for natural gopher control, courtesy of our friends at Farm Show.
Jordan and Ann Qualm save the heavy plastic field tile cores, cutting them into 20-inch lengths to create tomato cages.
Photo Courtesy Farm Show
Tile Cores Make Great Tomato Cages
If you or your neighbors are having field tile work done this fall, you may want to save the plastic core that the tile comes on. Jordan and Ann Qualm of Sherman, South Dakota, cut the heavy plastic into 20-inch lengths to create cages for some of their tomato plants.
“The plants with the tubes have grown more upright and don’t have a mess of vines like the plants without,” Jordan Qualm notes. “With these tubes there’s no need for wire cages, in my opinion.”
In the spring, the black color warmed the ground and plants to give them a good start, and despite a hot summer, the dark color didn’t seem to add heat stress. Instead, the cores helped shade the plants and hold water. The plants in the core tubes were the first to have ripe tomatoes, which are easier to pick as they cascade over the side of the tubes.
Instead of setting plants 2 feet apart, the Qualms plant them about 3 feet apart.
Qualm used a reciprocating saw to cut the 18-inch-diameter cores and plans to make more for next year’s garden.
For more information, send a letter to Jordan at 48782 252nd St., Sherman, SD 57030, or call 605-594-2290.
Hawk Platforms Help Provide Gopher Control
Old utility poles fitted with nesting platforms attract hawks and reduce the gopher population. Each breeding pair can be credited with removing up to 500 gophers per season.
“The ferruginous hawk (Buteo regalis) is considered an endangered species in Alberta,” says Brandy Downey, senior species-at-risk biologist, Alberta Sustainable Resource Development Department (SRD). “The nesting sites help the hawks, and they help the ranchers who put them up.”