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Old May 1, 2020   #12
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: SE PA
Posts: 890

First $200 for a roll of CRW? I have bought...three over the last decade and they were right around $98-$107 for 5' by 150'. Florida versus PA? I don't know what the reason would be. That's a shame.

I have not tried triangle cages but I can understand the desire for fold flats. Sometimes I put mine away, and sometimes they stay out all winter. Last year they were right by the house and under the view, I guess, so those ones stayed out. But I have arranged them into a crescent roll quite a few times and horsed them in and out of the shed, fall and spring.

I love the CRW cages more less standard. Mine are 18-20" diameter x 5 ft, which is 10 or 11 squares overlapping one square. I trench in one tomato, center the cage over it, and often put basil around the edge. I must say, that idea of three plants surrounding a cage with a pipe in the middle for (compost/fertilizer/water?) is intriguing.

Mostly the cages won't fall for me, with the bottom row cut for 6" of spike into the ground, but it has happened on occasion with late summer winds and top heavy plants. When I just have a single cage exposed I will usually hammer one rebar in the ground on the windward side and zip tie the cage to it.

Besides round cages I have tried a three layer flat lattice on one particular bed. Basically drive a perimeter of 6-8 stakes in and suspend the wire "sheet" up horizontally at 2 ft, 3.5 ft, 5 ft high, like a stack of waffles. Something like that, I only did it once season. Saw that on here a while back and had to try it. The plants grow up through it and have ultimate fruit support. It works great, really great if you want to devote the whole spot to tomatoes and let them go, but just about requires a helper or two to assemble. That or a lot of quick clamps to help. That was on an 11ft x 3.5ft bed with 11ftx5ft CRW "sheets" from the roll and kind of reverse bent to be flat enough.

Another way I really like to use CRW is to make a box instead of cages. That has become standard for me for peas and cherry tomatoes. I took those unrolled flat 11x5 CRW from above and bent them into a U with a 1 ft center. One rebar at each "corner" makes four posts for a 5 ft long box, or six posts to support a 10ft box of two 5fters together, etc. Those you can easily suspend a foot higher to make the U six foot tall. Pic of that included with peas...peas came down after harvest in mid June and tomatoes were on the morning sun side and filled that up nicely by August.

I still have about 80+ ft of the last roll of CRW. It was not bought for gardening, but now leftover and could use it. I'm thinking about using it to make more of these U boxes, or maybe a foot higher (13 ft bent U), spread the bases out a bit, and grow tomatoes under that instead of florida weaving my long rows this year. I could do single or double stem that way, just drop strings from side or top for each leader.

If I did not have plastic trellis net already bought, I would do this at the above 11ft just for the peas. 11ft U is the ultimate pea trellis. There is no sag in those U boxes and the 6" solid grid is easy to pick. The white plastic trellis netting sags when the peas get tall and heavy, requiring another support every 8-10 ft. Plus the stands out and doesn't disappear visually like that rusty wire does!
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