Want to save cash in the garden? Check out this tutorial for DIY cedar garden stakes and tee-pees!
Garden supplies can be expensive. If you’re anything like me, you’re always looking for a way to shave a few dollars here or there. Making your own plant supports is a great way to save big. There are a ton of materials you can use for this. Garden stakes, tee-pees, trellises and cages can be found in bamboo, wood, plastic, metal and more.
My favorite material for garden supports is cedar. My first attempt at using cedar in the garden was a few years ago. I had just bought some honeysuckle and needed a trellis for it to climb. When I tried to buy cedar trellises at the store I was shocked at the price, so I decided to make my own. I remembered building trellises with my dad when I was a kid, so I knew it could be done.
Long story short (or at least for another day), I ended up cutting cedar fence boards into strips for my trellises. I also made a discovery: those things are great! They’re cheap, you can use them for a ton of things, and they weather beautifully.
DIY Cedar Garden Stakes and Tee-pees
Visit your local home improvement store (I go to Home Depot) and pick up some cedar fence pickets for about $2.5o each. I use 6′ boards since I like nice tall garden supports.
You’re going to be cutting them into multiple long pieces to use in the garden. The boards are about 5″ wide, and I usually get about 5-6 poles out of each one. That makes these garden stakes $.50 each. Compare that to these plastic coated wire garden stakes at Home Depot for $2.98 each and you can see why I go to the extra trouble to use cedar!
Back to business. Cutting your boards is super easy if you have a table saw. If you don’t have a table saw, you can ask someone at the home improvement place to “rip” them for you.
Ripping is the term used for cutting a board along the grain, in our case making a wide board narrower. I find that it helps to sound like I know what I’m talking about at the hardware store. Using proper terms seems to help
Rip your boards into pieces about 5/8” wide. 1/2” will probably be fine, but anything narrower and the wood will start to get bendy, and you don’t want that.
Once you have your boards cut into strips you can do all sorts of fun stuff with them. I like to use them for tee-pee’s, trellises and poles. I’m sure you could also put together a square cage with them as well, but I haven’t tackled that one yet.
Cedar garden stakes
Cedar poles great garden stakes. I particularly like to use them as tomato stakes since they are nice and tall, and don’t get floppy like bamboo and plastic poles I’ve used. Even when your plants get heavy, they’ll keep standing up nice and tall.
Making stakes for plant supports is pretty self explanatory. You’ll just want to bury your cedar pole nice and deep in the soil at the base of your plant. Make sure it’s deep enough to stand up nice and firmly on it’s own.
You should put your garden stake in the soil at the same time as you plant your seeds or starts if possible. This way you won’t disturb the established roots of the plant by sticking the stake through them later.
When your plant is tall enough that it needs a support, attach it to the post in your preferred method. I like to use garden twine because it’s cheap and lasts nicely. I know many people use coated wire twists, special garden clips, and a variety of other things. Just don’t use anything too sharp (like kitchen twist-ties) that could cut into the stalk of your plant as it grows.
If you’re using garden twine, wrap the twine loosely around the plant stalk once, then tie it on the cedar post. You don’t need to tie it very tightly. The twine will grip on the cedar nicely because it is a pretty splintery wood.
Now just keep an eye on your growing plant and continue to tie new growth as it appears. You should also check your old ties to be sure they aren’t getting too tight.
Tee-pees are particularly nice for vining and climbing plants like beans and peas. They are also nice for multiple plants, like several cucumber plants you want to train vertically.
To set up a cedar pole tee-pee, you just need to prop up several (at least 3) poles into a tee-pee shape. Make sure you have the bases firmly stuck into the ground. Wrap them up and tie them together at the top with garden twine. Then run the twine down and around the poles to the bottom and tie the twine off snugly.
I like to give an individual pole a wrap here and there to keep the twine nice and tight. The tighter the twine wraps, the more securely your plants will be able to attach themselves.
Now simply train your plants up as you normally would, or let them find the twine and poles to vine themselves. Sit back, enjoy a cup of tea, and think about what you want to do with all the cash you saved!
What tricks do you use for saving money in the garden? I’d love to hear them in the comments!