Saturday, August 23, 2008

Sometimes things don't go well ...

When I was first designing systems (design is probably an exaggeration) I just secured channels to sawhorses, two to a pair of sawhorses. The tricky thing was trying to figure out the support structure. Tomatoes need a lot of support. The first try was to make a little A-frame and run strings from it, but that made the tomatoes grow together and form a total rats-nest jungle.

So the solution was to build individual vertical supports, so I created a set of wooden frames but I made the frames with wood that was way too small. (I can hear my wife snickering — she's better at visualizing disaster than I am. She's never said "I told you so", just rolled her eyes a little.) With the help of my son Christopher we build some frames, but as the plants grew and grew the frames began to tilt and the horizontals overhead that the strings were tied to began to bow. We saw we had a problem so we tried to brace things with a rope. But then one fateful day, while I was adding nutrient to the tank I noticed the frames leaning over more and more and suddenly the tipping point was reached — Whoomph! Down they went. That sent me back to the school of more rigorous design.

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