Monday, May 02, 2011

Peppers on a Time Out

Yesterday, Ryan and I built our "tester" pepper plant isolation cage out of wood and reemay row cover cloth. This cage (and the 6-7 others we are planning to build) will be used to ensure seed purity in the rare heirloom pepper plants that we will be raising this year.

The reemay fabric allows about 75% light and water to pass through, and also provides a light shade and increased humidity, which the plants love.

This particular cage measures 4'x4'x4', which is a bit too large for many pepper plants. However, this one is planned for my beloved Chapeau de Frade pepper plants, which (when happy) have been known to grow up to 5 feet tall and 8 feet wide! I doubt they will reach that big here in Southern Oregon, but I wanted to give them a good amount of space just in case!

Trying to attach the reemay fabric to the wooden frame was a the breeze to say the least! The fabric covers all sides except for the bottom of the frame, with a long "skirt" that will be buried in the soil so that insects can't crawl under the frame to get into the box.

The cage took 1.5 professionals about 2 hours to construct. It is easily disassembled for storage during the off season, too! I like the way Ryan designed the cages, and I told him he ought to go into production and market these to other gardeners and seed-savers! I know when I first looked into isolation cages, I couldn't find anywhere that actually SOLD them - just a bunch of pictures of other people's cages. Many gardeners aren't married to woodworkers, and so might perhaps rather purchase a pre-made cage that they can assemble themselves...just a thought... :)

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