I posted about a month and a half ago about how cheap wire tomato cages were great - but not for growing tomatoes. I read a tip in Countryside magazinesuggesting using wire hog panels instead. So last week we finally got around to taking a trip to the local Farm & Fleet store, where we picked up 4 (they come in 16' lengths, and I have two 24' beds, so I got 4 and we overlapped them (I didn't want to cut them because who knows, we might get pigs some day!)
As you can probably see, I'm also experimenting with mulch. I got red plastic mulch film for this bed of tomatoes, a thicker silver mulch plastic for the bed in the far background (I'm actually re-using this from last year - worked great!), and the bed in the middle is going mulch-less (that bed is all volunteers, so they're not exactly spaced, and so not conducive to plastic mulching. I do have lettuce and garlic interplanted with them, though, so I won't be weeding just for the tomatoes there. I also didn't put hog panels on that row, since I didn't know they were going to volunteer there, so they have - you guessed it - cheap wire cages).
And, while we're talking mulch, you can also maybe see that between the rows I mulch the walkways with old paper chicken feed bags and leftover landscape fabric. Waste not, want not! My garden's not going to end up on the cover of any magazine, but it's functional. I went for too many years weeding the beds and the paths (as if I didn't have better things to do!) so now no path goes uncovered!
(I do want to say here that I'm not completely comfortable using plastic in the garden - who knows what chemicals are leaching into the ground, and then into my plants? If I decide to mulch again next year, I might try paper mulch, or maybe newspaper or feed bags (free!) with wire over top to hold it down (it gets very windy here on the hill). More research!)
This post is included in Simple Lives Thursday at GNOWFGLINS