Building a Tomato House

dogwoodMy fenced garden was here before I was. It works beautifully for keeping the deer and rabbits out of my zinnias and tomatoes, but it’s clear the trees nearby have grown – a lot – since the garden fence went up. I expect the garden got more hours of sunlight then than it does now. I love the trees and have no desire to cut them back or cut them down, but their shade is impinging on my tomatoes.

new bed 1This is where Doug’s woodworking skills come in. He is constructing a new raised bed for me, out from under the trees, in a spot I picked last summer for its shadelessness. Because it’s out there unprotected, it will need chicken wire all the way up the sides, or at least to above deer-munching height. I’m calling it the Tomato House.

new bed 2Here’s progress so far – the frame laid out, and the posts rising. The door will be on the north side, to avoid losing any southern exposure. Though in Michigan in summer, the sun is wa-a-a-a-a-y high up, north of overhead. I found this confusing for a while, but I’ve gotten used to it. In this photo the tree shadow brushes the edge of the incipient Tomato House, but don’t worry – it’s barely May now. In a couple of weeks the sun will not be doing that any more.

tomato babiesMeanwhile in the upstairs window, the seedlings are trying to bust out. They have to wait. People who’ve lived here for decades say not to plant till Memorial Day, but the latest planting guides say mid-May. I’ll probably split the difference.

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