Plant stakes: cheap and last a lifetime

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Subversive_plot

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  • Location: Athens, Georgia, USA
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Plant stakes: cheap and last a lifetime
« on: May 22, 2021, 00:54 »
I was tired of buying wooden stakes for propping up tomatoes that only last a couple seasons. I tried bamboo stakes, they are zero cost because I have bamboo in my yard, but generally only last a year, because they rot below ground.

I've found the perfect solution I think.  Iron rebar, the kind used for reinforcing concrete. I buy 10-foot lengths, and make a diagonal cut across at the 5-foot length to make 2 stakes 5 feet long. These are a little more expensive than wood stakes but never need replacement. I have some that are 3/8ths inch diameter, but most are 1/2 inch, either works fine.  The diagonal cut leaves a rough point on each stake, making it easier to drive. You can cut with a hacksaw, but if you have a reciprocating saw with a metal-cutting blade, or a drill equipped with a cutoff wheel made for steel, the job is easier.

To hammer them in, I took an 18-inch section of 1-inch diameter threaded iron water pipe, and put a threaded cap on one end. I slip that over the top end of the stake, bang it up and down, it safely drives the stake without slipping.

If I need to pull a stake out, I use a 12-inch adjustable spanner (what we call a Crescent wrench). I __DON'T__ use the normal business end of the wrench, instead I drop the loop at the other end over the rebar. That gives me enough leverage to easily pull them out of the ground.
Please stay safe!  Wear a mask, and observe social distancing!

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hasbeans

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Re: Plant stakes: cheap and last a lifetime
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2021, 05:16 »
The welded mesh used in concrete slab makes a great trellis too.  A bit unwieldy though so best used where it doesn't need moving around much.

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Growster...

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Re: Plant stakes: cheap and last a lifetime
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2021, 05:30 »
Good idea, SP!

We had some around here for years, and the good thing is that you hardly notice it, as it's been rusty for ages! You can actually get green coated versions over here, but at over 4 for a 2m length, are a bit of a gulp when you need around forty...

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Subversive_plot

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Re: Plant stakes: cheap and last a lifetime
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2021, 09:46 »
The 10-foot length cost me $4.50 each (just a bit over 3 each) for 1/2 inch diameter. The rust look is fine with me for the lower cost; that green coating could potentially flake off. I agree, skip the green coating!

When I first made these, I thought they might heat up too much in the summer sun. We had that sun/heat yesterday, it didn't seem to be a problem!

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perris

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Re: Plant stakes: cheap and last a lifetime
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2021, 13:56 »
I've been using the 4' rebar with curly top for decades, the sort typically seen holding up orange plastic netting round building sites; the curly top makes it easy to push in by hand (and also to hang debris netting when required as temporary fencing, to keep the chickens in or out of something for example). It withstands whatever the weather throws at it and I see no deterioration even after all this time. And as others have said, the rust makes it blend into the environment well, so when being used e.g to stake peonies it effectively disappears. I wouldn't be without it in the garden.

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rowlandwells

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Re: Plant stakes: cheap and last a lifetime
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2021, 18:20 »
we grow our tomatoes in large pots in the greenhouse i put up a copper water pipe the length  of the greenhouse to the roof bars with L brackets then cut some pieces of old water pipe and bend them round the pipe tight them together with plastic tie then put the cane in the pot and  push the cane inside the water pipe so its holding strong on the bar never had any probs with this method

then all you do when the crops finished pull the canes out of the pipe and pots so two things to remember i paint the bottom of the canes with varnish so they don't rot inside the pots its the canes inside the poly pipe that holds it onto the brackets that hold the pipes on the greenhouse roof fixed using captive bolts that slot inside the greenhouse bars the store the canes up for another season



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