Tips About Deer Control, Tomato Cages, Containers, and Garden Tools

Fine Gardening – Issue 208
gardening tips

1. From dry cleaner to garden – Winning Tip

metal hanger holding up bird netting over hostas

To keep deer from browsing the leaves of hostas and other plants in my garden, I often float lightweight bird netting on top of them. To secure it in place and keep it off the ground so that snakes and other critters don’t get caught up in the netting, I use garment hangers for slacks that have been dry cleaned. I remove the sturdy cardboard bar at the bottom, squeeze the sides of the hanger together, and then straighten out the hook (top) of the hanger. With this straightened hook inserted in the ground, I secure the netting over the little hooks at the top. This solution has worked really well and is also a great way to repurpose garment hangers.

—Esther Davis, Salem, Virginia

2. It works both ways

tomato cage filled upside down in plant

I’ve always thought that cone-shaped tomato cages look too top-heavy. This year when placing a cage in a container for a cherry tomato plant, I decided to flip the cage upside down so that it had a more appealing shape (like a tepee). I brought together the prongs and secured them with wire. At first I used landscape staples to hold the cage in place. However, I eventually didn’t need them because the root system of the tomato plant, as well as the neighboring basil plant, quickly grew around the top rung of the cage, which I had buried just below the soil surface, and held it securely in place. You can buy “inverted” tomato cages, but if you already have the traditional style, just flip them over.

—Joan Bentley, Franklin, Ohio

3. Lightweight plant-pot fillers

I am a pickleball player. Unfortunately, I see lots of cracked balls that are thrown away by other players. I have found these cracked balls to be useful in large plant pots to fill the lower portion. They are lightweight and can be rinsed off and reused.

—Debra Dewispelaere, Mercer Island, Washington

garden tools in a mailbox

4. Mailbox tool storage

I keep my small gardening tools close at hand by storing them in a mailbox in my garden. These tools are always available when I need them, so I don’t have to run to the garage every time I want a different tool.

—April Leavy, Richmond Hill, Georgia

Photos: courtesy of the contributors

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