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Friday, May 18, 2012

Crayola Cages: A Weekend Garden Project

Ok - so did you ever see something in the store and want to hit yourself in the head and say "Why didn't I think of that!!"  Well, I had one of those moments recently.  Luckily - I didn't hit myself so hard as to see stars - but I hate it when that happens.  And - I'm sure you realize by now that when that happens, I immediately have to figure out how to do it for myself, preferably without spending any money.

My story begins......Since spring has finally settled into the midwest and planting season has started, I hit the garden center. Oh the humanity!  People everywhere - getting in the way of my selecting that perfect annual or perennial to add to the garden space, or seeds to plant in the veggie spot.  As I wended my way through the crowds, my attention was captured by a colorful display.  As I moved closer to see what it was (because I'm ALL about the color - doncha know), I had my "aha" moment.  Painted tomato cages!  WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF THAT!  In bright colors of yellow, orange, red, blue and green they would make an instant statement in my garden.  Then I checked out the price tag and practically passed out.

Once I recovered and moved away, with longing glances over my shoulder at this wondrous garden accessory, I thought about my tomato cages.  Rusty brown and bent, they are all stacked together laying on an old chair out in the yard, just waiting to be stuck in the ground once more.  Oh to give them new life!  Then it occurred to me - why not paint them myself.  It's not like I don't have numerous cans of colorful Rustoleum just sitting in my paint cabinet.   With a light heart - I bought my plants and headed home to start my weekend project!

For this project - you need some old tomato cages, a rag, some colorful Rustoleum spray paint and well ventilated spot for painting.   I placed my cages in an old pot, so that they would stand up straight as I painted them... but you could also plant the stakes in the ground to keep them upright while drying.

With your rag - wipe off any loose dirt and rust until the cage is reasonably clean.  Shake the paint can well, then begin to paint.  I found that painting the inside of the cage opposite where you are standing is a great way to start.  By giving the inside a nice coat of paint first, you eliminate the chance of getting lines of paint on your arms when you go back later (my arms are streaked right now).

Let your cages dry in the sun.  If needed, apply a second coat.  I found that placing them in the sun allows the paint to almost bake on... making it stronger and longer lasting. 

So - now I have painted cages to brighten my garden and it didn't cost me anything but time.  Guess I have to go and finish the planting now.     
Have a great weekend!!    ~ Dani

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