Friday, April 8, 2011

Build a Tomato Tower

Growing up in New Jersey, my father had a little garden where we got all our begetables for the summer. Tomatoes, Eggplant, Zucchini, String Beans, you name it. Well I came across a really informative web-site (organicgardening.com) and found this how-to-build a Tomato Tower.  For those who have the yard space, this may be worth while to check out.  If I had the time along with the space, I would definitely attempt this and relive the days where my father and our neighbor grew and compared their produce. If any one has a tower or ends up building one, we would love for you to share your photos of your construction and tomatoes.  This is a post we would love tto revisit with you fans of the blog.  Don't forget to check out www.organicgardening.com.

Materials Needed
To build this super-stury tomato tower you will need:

Drill
1 1/2" galvanized wood screws
Angle ruler
Decorative wood finial

Cedar:
3 pieces 1x4x8' (ripped lengthwise into 2 pieces)
2 pieces 2x4x8' (ripped lengthwise into 2 pieces)
1 piece 1x8x7" (for top piece)
2 pieces 1x4x9" (for top piece-cedar not necessary)

Step 1: Cut cedar to size.
Uprights: Cut 4
  • 1 1/2 x 1 3/4 x 7'
Short-side horizontals:
Cut 4 each of the following lengths from the thinner strips: 5" length cut at a 5° angle (top of piece measures 5"; bottom measures 5 1/4")

  • 9 3/8" cut at a 5° angle
  • 11 7/8" cut at a 5° angle
  • 14 3/8" cut at a 5° angle
  • 16 7/8" cut at a 5° angle
  • 19 3/8" cut at a 5° angle
Long-side horizontals:
Cut 4 each of the following lengths from the thinner strips:

  • 7 3/8" cut at a 5° angle (top of piece measures 7 3/8"; bottom measures 7 5/8")
  • 11 3/4" cut at a 5° angle
  • 14 1/8" cut at a 5° angle
  • 16 3/4" cut at a 5° angle
  • 19 1/8" cut at a 5° angle
  • 21 3/4" cut at a 5° angle
Center strips:
Cut 4 from the thinner strips:

  • 4' lengths. Shape both ends into points.
Top: Create a rectangular top piece. Attach 2 1x4x9" pieces side by side and top with the 1x8x7".
Step 2: Measure

Mark all four 7' uprights at 16 1/2", 29", 41 1/2", 54", and 66 1/2".
Be sure to x them below the marks.
The x's will be covered by the horizontals.
Also mark directional arrows.
Mark the exact center of all but the shortest (top) and longest (bottom) horizontals.
This will indicate placement of the center strips.
Step 3: Construct two sides

Using all but the shortest short-side horizontal pieces, create two angled "ladders" by screwing each into place. Then add the decorative center strips so that they extend 5 inches above the top "rung" of the "ladder." 
Step 4: Square Up

Use the angle to square the two assembled sides.
The center strips should be at a precise 90° angle to the horizontals.
Step 5: Assembly

Have an assistant hold the two assembled sides while you join them using the long-side horizontals.
Attach the decorative center strip.
Then flip the tower and do the same with the other side. 
Step 6: Square the Tower.

Stand it upright and jiggle the sides until all horizontals are at 90° angles to the decorative vertical strips.
Step 7: Attaching the Finial

Screw in the top (shortest) horizontals flush with the top of the uprights.
Top the tower with the rectangular top piece, then screw in the decorative finial.
Final Product

And there you have it: A super-sturdy tomato tower that will last for years.
Remember to plant the tomatoes after you build the tower.
And be sure to anchor the tower to the soil to prevent it from falling over.









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