Tomato Hut ~ Wild Chipmunk & Bunny Protection

Finished Tomato Hut in the Side Elevated Garden Area

Finished Tomato Hut in the Side Elevated Garden Area

Between Desert Cottontail Rabbits, chipmunks, various birds, and what-have-you… the Tomatoes were disappearing last year just as they started to ripen.

The first SolidWorks CAD concept renderings of the Tomato Hut

The first SolidWorks CAD concept renderings of the Tomato Hut

Decided to design a possible solution using SolidWorks CAD Software …

Front-View of the Original Tomato SolidWorks Concept Design

Front-View of the Original Tomato SolidWorks Concept Design

Originally thought the Tomato Hut would be taken down in the winter but after using it this spring decided might use for other items in the fall planting season.

The Tomato Hut unbolts and breaks down into smaller parts for storage

The Tomato Hut unbolts and breaks down into smaller parts for storage

Created several simple CAD renderings to help visualize the final parts …

Rendering of some of the frame parts that needed to be welded together

Rendering of some of the frame parts that needed to be welded together

Changed the design as I was building it, but the CAD dimensions allowed me to work on ideas and get a general feel of how much metal I would need to buy.

Welding the Side Metal Frame for the Tomato Hut

Welding the Side Metal Frame for the Tomato Hut

Cut & welded all the parts together in the Workshop and then bolted it together.

Painted on the grass ... the the black marks will disappear soon enough ... *grin*

Painted on the grass … the the black marks will disappear soon enough … *grin*

Enjoyed the nice day painting the Tomato-Hut frame in the backyard grass area.

Closer view of the upside-down Tomato-Hut frame being painted

Closer view of the upside-down Tomato-Hut frame being painted

Once the Tomato-Hut frame was up on the raised garden area, I then cut and made screen frames and connected them with plastic corner pieces.

To allow the screens to easily be removed used Neodymium Magnets inside

To allow the screens to easily be removed used Neodymium Magnets inside

To make it easier to remove the screens and pick tomatoes, I used a Dremel tool to grind out an area in the plastic to put very strong (but small) Neodymium Magnets inside the corner connectors.

There was no need to glue the magnets, because once the corner connectors were pushed inside the Aluminum framing material, they were secure.

BKE installed screen in all the frames and they were put on the Tomato-hut.

Very Strong Neodymium Magnets inside the Corner Connections

Very Strong Neodymium Magnets inside the Corner Connections

Used a piece of flat-bar steel with a center hole drilled in it, and a 1/4″ bolt,  plus two ceramic magnets to create the side screen frame latches.

Used some Harbor Freight magnets at part of the Side Screen Latches

Used some Harbor Freight magnets at part of the Side Screen Latches

The Upper Side Latches are similar to Side Latches with a piece of angle added.
( Still need to powder-coat the Upper Angle Latch pieces )

Used a piece of angle steel to hold Top Screens on Tomato-Hut

Used a piece of angle steel to hold Top Screens on Tomato-Hut

Wanted to put some handles on the front screens to make them easier to open, so used some small machine bolts … of course, had to paint them blue because I have a ritual of making at least one part in all my projects blue. *grin*

Used small machine bolts (blue) as handles for opening the front screens

Used small machine bolts (blue) as handles for opening the front screens

Put small blue machine bolts on both sides of the top of the front screens.

In addition, as you can see in the photos, there are two upper frame pieces of metal square tubing that are spaced to create a 1/4″ gap to allow bees into the Tomato-Hut to pollinate whatever is planted inside.

An added bonus to the gap only being 1/4″ is that bees can go in and out quite easy, but the large Tomato Horn-Worm Moths cannot fit through the gap; thus, no tomato eating crawlers this year!!

Also added another machine bolt on the corner side of the front screens

Also added another machine bolt on the corner side of the front screens

The screens have a slight shading effect on the tomatoes which helps them grow longer in the hot Summer Nevada desert climate.

The Front Screens come off quick & easy for picking Tomatoes

The Front Screens come off quick & easy for picking Tomatoes

The hut has worked as intended ~ Handled a few heavy wind storms ~ No break-ins from the unruly Chipmunk & Bunny mobs ~ Harvested about 30 tomatoes so far this year.

After summer, when Tomato growing season is over, possibly will attempt to grow some Kale for TurtlebuttThe Amazing Adopted Desert Tortoise )

Turtlebutt the Amazing Desert Tortoise eating a better lunch than rest of us

Turtlebutt the Amazing Desert Tortoise eating a better lunch than rest of us

… That’s All …

.                                  — CHEERS …

.  .  .

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2 Comments

Filed under CONCEPTS, PROJECTS

2 responses to “Tomato Hut ~ Wild Chipmunk & Bunny Protection

  1. Baron

    Any chance you would be willing to make these cages to sell? Email me: barongwolf@gmail.com

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