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-   -   Raybo's Removable, Self-supporting, Collapsible, Tall Cage for the EarthTainer (pics) (http://www.tomatoville.com/showthread.php?t=16256)

rnewste November 5, 2010 06:13 PM

Raybo's Removable, Self-supporting, Collapsible, Tall Cage for the EarthTainer (pics)
 
After a number of comments regarding the restrictions of the rigidly attached EarthTainer cage system, and a few scraped knuckles of my own in emptying and refilling, planting them with the cages in the way, I've developed a new, user-friendly design. It basically takes a commonly available Pea Fence (6 panels each 14 inches in length) and with some leg bends, adapts the cage to "grip" the rim of the 'Tainer:

[IMG]http://i1005.photobucket.com/albums/af179/rnews/IMG_0872.jpg[/IMG]

It is relatively easy to make the required bends to the 1/8" galvanized legs which will attach as the 12 anchor points:

[IMG]http://i1005.photobucket.com/albums/af179/rnews/IMG_0868.jpg[/IMG]

Once the base unit is fabricated, a second cage (without any bends) is inserted to double the height to a total of 62 inches:

[IMG]http://i1005.photobucket.com/albums/af179/rnews/IMG_0903.jpg[/IMG]

Four 1/8" wire rope clips then attach the outboard legs of the extension cage to the base unit:

[IMG]http://i1005.photobucket.com/albums/af179/rnews/IMG_0905.jpg[/IMG]

It takes about 30 minutes to make the 36 bends, and assemble the cages together:

[IMG]http://i1005.photobucket.com/albums/af179/rnews/IMG_0911.jpg[/IMG]

The cage assembly then simply snaps on to the EarthTainer, providing 12 self-supporting hardpoints:

[IMG]http://i1005.photobucket.com/albums/af179/rnews/IMG_0924.jpg[/IMG]

Optionally, you can attach flexible tarp straps to the diagonal corners of the cage to provide further tension to the assembly:

[IMG]http://i1005.photobucket.com/albums/af179/rnews/IMG_0926.jpg[/IMG]

The neat thing about this new design is that at the end of the Season, you can remove the cage from the EarthTainer and flatten it out:

[IMG]http://i1005.photobucket.com/albums/af179/rnews/IMG_0914.jpg[/IMG]

Stores nicely up against a wall in the garage taking up minimum space:

[IMG]http://i1005.photobucket.com/albums/af179/rnews/IMG_0917.jpg[/IMG]

Cost for the two panel 62" high system for each EarthTainer runs about $17.50 using the $25.00 off coupon at Gurneys.com

[U][url]http://gurneys.com/pea-fence/p/12826/[/url][/U]

Hint: Order two cartons (4 panels) plus a $1.00 pack of seeds, and you will be just at the $50.00 minimum order).

I'll be updating the EarthTainer Construction Guide with specific bend dimensions, etc. in the near future.

Raybo:D

sprtsguy76 November 6, 2010 01:35 AM

I love the whole fold it up flat and store it concept, nice job Ray!

Damon

rnewste November 6, 2010 01:40 PM

Damon,

I have now improved the rigidity of the design by using 8 wire rope clips to secure the horizontal ribs of the cage together, instead of the zip ties.

[IMG]http://i1005.photobucket.com/albums/af179/rnews/IMG_0931.jpg[/IMG]

If you hand tighten them with a nut driver to be snug, the joints still will twist easily to fold up the cage. The flattened cage measures 42 inches wide, by 61 inches high. Keeping them inside during the Winter will obviously prolong their life, as well as the Yard just looks better, according to Dear Wife.:yes:

Anybody want to buy 32 (slightly used) Glamos heavy-duty tomato cages???

[IMG]http://i1005.photobucket.com/albums/af179/rnews/IMG_9472.jpg[/IMG]

Raybo:lol:

sprtsguy76 November 6, 2010 02:34 PM

Ha Ha, like I dont have enough CRW cages myself! Storing them is the hardest part. Whats the going rate for steel per pound right now? Maybe you can recycle them or give away zzxjkxjxkxjx j

lowlylowlycook November 6, 2010 09:27 PM

Maybe offer to take a neighbor's zucchini if they take your cages?

rnewste November 6, 2010 09:47 PM

Actually, the Glamos 54" heavy-duty cages are tough to find these days since Walmart stopped carrying them 2 years ago. I'll probably retrofit just a few EarthTainers a year with the new Pea Cages, as the Glamos cage system is still about a foot taller (73" versus 62"), using these for plants like Big Beef, and other tall ones.

Raybo

bdank April 16, 2011 11:30 AM

Great cages, Raybo. They fit the commercial earthbox as if they were made for it! I have figured out how to attach them to my earthboxes by using 4 of the [URL="http://store.earthbox.com/EarthBox-Staking-System-Rim-Clamp-Green-Set-of-2/productinfo/1010115/"]EarthBox Staking System Rim Clamps[/URL]

[IMG]http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u274/bdankanich/100_2709.jpg[/IMG]
[IMG]http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u274/bdankanich/100_2708.jpg[/IMG]
[IMG]http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u274/bdankanich/100_2712.jpg[/IMG]

rnewste April 16, 2011 01:46 PM

bdank,

That is outstanding Engineering!:yes::yes:

I have been sitting here this week trying to figure out how I can build a cage to fit my EarthBox for the Pepper plants. Your design will be perfect. Thanks for posting the photo!

You may want to take pliers or a nutdriver over the upward pointing cage ends, and bend them inward so you don't cut yourself when walking by the cages, as they seem to always point out from the manufacturing process. Just a safety suggestion.

Raybo:D

bdank April 16, 2011 09:22 PM

Raybo,
yeah, I thought it was pretty smart of me to think to use the staking system clamps like that. I told my husband to bow down to me as he is usully the one who thinks of these things. :lol:

It holds the cage on very tight too! I'm temped to sell the whole cage idea to earthbox . :D
The clamps are reasonably priced too. I got 4 of them for $5.

You will need to buy some bolts to get it to work. the ones that came with my earthbox staking system rim clamps are too short for this use. I'm using 4 10x24 1-3/4 inch bolts, along with the nuts that came with the clamps, per cage.

Also, I used these [URL="http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=cage+clips&hl=en&rlz=1C1SKPL_enUS411US412&prmd=ivns&biw=1139&bih=921&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&um=1&ie=UTF-8&cid=8962811725497392692&sa=X&ei=s0KqTfvcKcry0gG00pz5CA&ved=0CHUQ8wIwAA#"]cage clips[/URL] to put the two pea fences together. It came out way cheaper than the rope clamps that you use. I have to make 20 cages and that many rope clamps would be expensive.

rnewste April 16, 2011 09:34 PM

bdank,

Did you consider trying the cage upright, but making a one inch 90 degree bend for the 4 legs, to then fasten to the EarthBox with your clamping system? This would give you an additional 7 inches of cage height.

Raybo;)

rnewste April 16, 2011 09:48 PM

bdank,

With all those units (20) and using 4 clamps to attach the extension cage to the base cage, I REALLY think the link I have in the EarthTainer Guide where you can buy 100 Wire Rope Clips for $16.00 delivered, is a real bargain. $0.16 each can't be beat!!:yes:

Raybo

bdank April 17, 2011 09:42 PM

[QUOTE=rnewste;209806]bdank,

With all those units (20) and using 4 clamps to attach the extension cage to the base cage, I REALLY think the link I have in the EarthTainer Guide where you can buy 100 Wire Rope Clips for $16.00 delivered, is a real bargain. $0.16 each can't be beat!!:yes:

Raybo[/QUOTE]


Thanks Raybo. I will check that out!

rnewste April 17, 2011 10:25 PM

bdank,

The advantage of the Wire Rope Clips versus the crimp together splice approach is that at the end of the Season, within 30 seconds you can loosen the 4 Wire Rope Clips holding the extension cage to the base cage, and then simply pop it off and fold it flat for storage. Same with the base cage.

With the crimp-together approach, you are "stuck" together with the base cage permanently so storage of both sections held fast may be problematic. I really like Wire Rope Clips because you can attach and detach sections in an instant.:love:

Raybo

p.s. Now to find some miniature "C" clamps at Lowes to attach the four "L" bent one inch leg sections to my EarthBox.:D

bdank April 18, 2011 08:45 AM

Raybo,
I agree, the rope clips are a better choice. They are also easier to assemble, and I have 20 cages to put together so time is a factor. What was bothering me is the cost. Those rope clips are expensive at the big box stores. I looked at your Earthtainer guide. Thanks for sharing your online source for the rope clips. They are much more affordable and I'm thinking of ordering some. Are they galvanized? How are yours holding up to rust?

rnewste April 18, 2011 02:52 PM

bdank,

Yes, they are galvanized and have not rusted in 4 years that I have had them outside on the EarthTainers. The darn things cost more than $1.00 at Home Depot. If you need just a few, Lowes is best at $0.47 each.

The online source I referenced in the Guide with a price of $0.16 each in 100 qty. is obviously the best deal. I have now ordered from them a total of 5 times without a problem. Seem really reliable and honest.:yes:

Raybo

bdank April 20, 2011 06:37 PM

[QUOTE=rnewste;210017]bdank,

Yes, they are galvanized and have not rusted in 4 years that I have had them outside on the EarthTainers. The darn things cost more than $1.00 at Home Depot. If you need just a few, Lowes is best at $0.47 each.

The online source I referenced in the Guide with a price of $0.16 each in 100 qty. is obviously the best deal. I have now ordered from them a total of 5 times without a problem. Seem really reliable and honest.:yes:

Raybo[/QUOTE]

Raybo,
Thanks again for sharing your online source. I bought 400 from them as I need to make 20 cages (20 per cage). They were very fast to ship them to me, I have them already! :)

I'm wondering how you managed to get a 64" cage? I clamped mine together at the legs and mine are only 60" tall. I would think yours would be shorter than mine since you bent your legs.

[IMG]http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u274/bdankanich/100_2729.jpg[/IMG]
[IMG]http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u274/bdankanich/100_2721.jpg[/IMG]

bdank April 20, 2011 06:55 PM

BTW here's a link to where we are discussing these cages on [URL="http://forum.earthbox.com/index.php?topic=7378.msg63701#msg63701"]the earthbox forum.[/URL]

rnewste April 20, 2011 07:38 PM

bdank,

In your lower photo, it looks like your "assembler" (DH?) has squandered about 2 inches of height by overlapping the cages too much. Have him loosen the wire rope clips and pull the extension cage upward until there is minimal rod overlap. This should add about 2 (new) inches to your total cage height.

I've just measured mine and they total 61 inches above the potting mix to the top.

Raybo;)

organichris April 20, 2011 08:14 PM

Raybo, you are one ingenious dude. So much so that you force me to question my own intelligence.

:o

bdank April 20, 2011 08:17 PM

[QUOTE=rnewste;210417]bdank,

In your lower photo, it looks like your "assembler" (DH?) has squandered about 2 inches of height by overlapping the cages too much. Have him loosen the wire rope clips and pull the extension cage upward until there is minimal rod overlap. This should add about 2 (new) inches to your total cage height.

I've just measured mine and they total 61 inches above the potting mix to the top.

Raybo;)[/QUOTE]

The "assembler" would be me ;) . I think I'll leave them as is because I'm only 63 inches tall. After adding in the height of the earthbox, these are just the right height for me to still be able to reach the top. I learned my lesson last year not to cage higher than I can reach! :oops:

rnewste April 20, 2011 11:29 PM

[quote=organichris;210420]Raybo, you are one ingenious dude. So much so that you force me to question my own intelligence.

:o[/quote]

organichris,

I am just trying to apply what I've learned in Technology over the years to growing tomatoes.:love:

This afternoon, I had Farhad Manjoo over to the 'Tainer "Farm" as he has just built 3 of them himself, and wanted to see them in operation. I think he left somewhat impressed with the applied technology that went in to design the system. Stay tuned, as he indicated he may be writing an article on them for Slate.com

[url]http://www.slate.com/id/2272970/author/47787[/url]

Fun stuff!:yes:

Raybo

bdank April 21, 2011 09:56 AM

Is there anyone in the Fredericksburg VA area that wants to buy 40 of the Glamos tomato cages? I cut the legs off because I used to attach them to my earthboxes. I'm replacing them with the pea fences because they are collapsible. If someone wants to make me an offer send me a PM.

[IMG]http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u274/bdankanich/100_2737.jpg[/IMG]
[IMG]http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u274/bdankanich/100_2739.jpg[/IMG]
[IMG]http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u274/bdankanich/100_2740-1.jpg[/IMG]

Mark0820 May 14, 2011 07:27 PM

[quote=rnewste;188372]Damon,

I have now improved the rigidity of the design by using 8 wire rope clips to secure the horizontal ribs of the cage together, instead of the zip ties.

If you hand tighten them with a nut driver to be snug, the joints still will twist easily to fold up the cage. The flattened cage measures 42 inches wide, by 61 inches high. Keeping them inside during the Winter will obviously prolong their life, as well as the Yard just looks better, according to Dear Wife.:yes:

Anybody want to buy 32 (slightly used) Glamos heavy-duty tomato cages???

Raybo:lol:[/quote]

This is a little off topic, but I am wondering how well the Glamos tomato cages work in a garden. Since the top is wider than the bottom, I always thought they would fall over unless they were secured to a t-post or some other type of support. Am I wrong in my assumption?

rnewste May 14, 2011 07:37 PM

You definitely need to stake the Glamos cages, or else the weight of the plant and fruit will pull them over. That was one of my continuing challenges when I grew in a raised bed, prior to the EarthTainers.

Raybo

Mark0820 May 16, 2011 05:18 PM

Thanks Raybo! Originally, I was thinking about using them for determinate tomatoes. Would the glamos cage work okay for small fruited peppers like Jalapenos, etc. (where there wouldn't be too much weight on the cage)? Or do you think they would still fall over?

Mark

rnewste May 16, 2011 05:53 PM

Mark,

Wind will bring down an un-staked cage with either det or indet tomato plants. Too much of a "sail". Peppers on the other hand, will probably be OK without staking if you drive the 4 legs in deep into the ground. In any event, pounding a 2x2 through the cage and into the dirt is cheap insurance, to not walk out one morning and see your plant laying on the ground.:shock:

Raybo

desertlzbn May 17, 2011 11:52 AM

I can't buy any of the pea cages this so I am thinking of using some existing crw that I have. I was thinking of using ratcheting tie downs to secure them to the earthtainer.

rnewste May 17, 2011 01:54 PM

desert,

Someone (can't remember the Thread) did a really neat job of using a mechanical Brake to bend the CRW perfectly around the handles, to have a 7 foot section wrap around the EarthTainer. He started the CRW right at the handle (which is about 6 inches wide) then made the 4 bends to fit snugly. He bent the ends of the legs as per the EarthTainer Cage instructions to have the CRW clip on to the 'Tainer.:yes::yes::yes:

Raybo:D

brismith70 May 18, 2011 01:41 AM

Raybo:

The thread that you are looking for is the EarthTainers in AZ thread at: [url]http://www.tomatoville.com/showthread.php?t=17353[/url].

Brian

rnewste May 18, 2011 01:40 PM

Thanks Brian, yes that is the Thread. This guy "dallred" is REALLY talented!:yes: Puts my Gurney's Pea Fence modifications to shame.:oops:

I love the green powder coat he did on the CRW to keep them from rusting. (Wish he lived closer to San Jose where I could "incentivize" him to make me 24 of them).:twisted::twisted:

Raybo


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