Once I had the boxes planted, we needed a way to keep nosy critters like cats, dogs and squirrels away, so Handy Man Neal made a fence using chicken wire (free from Craigslist), a gate (left at our house by a previous owner) and some plastic posts that were the only thing purchased. The ground was pretty soft from all the recent rain, so the posts went right in without much effort.
Do you notice what I am using to cover my tomato plants? After I had them planted and the weather started to worsen, I had to find a quick and easy way to cover them and we just happened to have these dog/cat crates in the backyard waiting to be washed. Each half fits perfectly over 4 plants and they have vent holes to allow for air circulation. I was pretty proud of myself for thinking "outside the box" on that one!
Last year we made use of the free chicken wire to make our compost bin. It's nothing more than a wooden frame, raised slightly off the ground, with chicken wire sides. Our compost level is low now since we used most of it in our gardens, but it will soon be built back up. And this year, I have an extra ingredient to add to the bin...alpaca poo!
In addition to tomatoes, I also planted squash, melons, bell peppers, carrots, eggplant, cucumbers, and hot peppers. I have some available squares left in which I plan to plant some herbs and some more peppers. While some crops just went into the ground and will take months to produce, we were able to harvest our first batch of green onions yesterday, which was exciting. I think Handy Man Neal would make a good spokesperson for homegrown produce. What do you think?