Last year we used tomato cages on our tomatoes but it didn't work out for me very good. The tomato vines were so heavy and it can be very windy here in Missouri at times, so the cages kept falling down and I couldn't get them to stay up. That made picking the tomatoes more difficult rather than easier. So this year we put up a small section of stock fence anchored with T-post to attach our tomatoes. As the vines grow, I will just tie them to the fence. I saw my cousin Earl do this in his garden and thought it was a great idea.
Yesterday I read an article in MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine entitled Grow $700 of food in 100 square feet. It was all about this lady who had a 5' x 20' garden in her back yard and she wanted to see how much food she could produce in it. She kept track of all the expenses and what and how much she produced, along with the price those same vegetables cost at her local supermarket. She figured the total value of her little garden to be $746.52 then she subtracted the price of the plants, seeds, compost, and fertilizers, which came to about $63.09 . That means there was a $683.43 in savings on fresh vegetables for her.
I decided to try to keep track of what I get from my little space too. My space is about 4' x 18', but part of it is under the overhang of my roof and things don't like to grow there. There is also a crawl space thing on one end that takes out some of the usable area. I will get my husband to figure out the exact square footage for me. The other thing I am going to keep track of is the price of the water bill. That, to me, will make a difference in the total benefit also.
I will take pictures as the season progresses. Right now, I have 3 Big Boy tomato plants, Two Jalapeno pepper plants, Bib lettuce, green leaf lettuce (forgot the variety) and red leaf lettuce as well as plenty of onions. I planted black-eye peas this morning, they should be coming up in the next 10 days.
By Kay Longboy