What Is It?

by Daisy on 04/08/2011

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My new neighbor is an antiquer and she sometimes brings me things she thinks I might like.

Like this:

Problem is, neither of us knows what it is.  It’s pretty big (about 4 ft. across), made of wire, and was found near a barn.

We are guessing it has something to do with hay?

I have two questions:

1.  What in the world is it?

2.  Do you have any suggestions of something neat to use it for in the garden?

Help, Able Reader.

UPDATE:  Thanks to Greg and Laurie (via email), the mystery is solved.  It’s a wire tree basket, used for transporting balled and burlap trees.  Like these: http://www.centralohiobagandburlap.com/c-13-braun-wire-tree-baskets.aspx

Still thinking of ways to use it in the garden, maybe as a plant support/cage?  Still open to suggestions.

Thanks everyone, for your input.  It looks bigger in person than it does in the photo.  I should have put something next to it for comparison when I shot the pic.

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

KallyLyn April 8, 2011 at 4:04 pm

This is probably going to sound cheesy, but you could use it as a hanging planter. Line it, string it up, and you’re good to go.

Ellen April 8, 2011 at 4:22 pm

It’s hard to tell scale from the photo, but it sure looks like a tomato cage to me.

Annie Pazoo April 8, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Um, leaf basket for fall clean-up? Upside down cage to cover a bush during the winter? Topiary growing form? Hmmmm.

Lisa April 8, 2011 at 5:44 pm

It is for eggs. When you go and gather them you place them in this basket instead of using an apron or your hands.

debra April 8, 2011 at 6:29 pm

looks like an egg basket to me, too

AuntiePatricia April 8, 2011 at 7:01 pm

lisa & debra, how do you keep the eggs from falling out? it looks like there are big gaps between the wires. what about a basket for carrying wool when you’ve sheered the sheep?

Lara April 8, 2011 at 7:11 pm

It looks like a baller for a tree. If you buy big trees sometimes they are balled and burlaped. That’s my guess and I think I’m pretty close.
If you use it for a hanging basket use a burlap bag to line, then plant. I would use it for wall art.

Alice April 8, 2011 at 7:22 pm

It looks like it might be too flimsy for a hanging planter but I think you could line it with burlap, or planter liner coconut, and use it as a planter on the ground.

Pat @ Elegantly, Gluten-Free April 8, 2011 at 7:35 pm

How big is it? If it’s small but strong, so things wouldn’t fall through, you could use it for gathering eggs, or veggies, or fruit. If it’s larger than that, it may not be strong enough for those sorts of things…maybe you could turn it over and use it as a “cage” for chicks or ducklings or something.

I have a large dog who just doesn’t have the same appreciation of blossoming plants that I do, so I’d like something like that to protect a few of my spring bulbs when they bloom. 🙂

Tomato Lady April 8, 2011 at 7:57 pm

Pat–It’s really huge, more than a yard across, and almost as tall. The gaps between the wire are 4-8 inches wide. I should have put something next to it for reference.

Adica April 8, 2011 at 8:23 pm

Compost basket? Hmm…

Tomato Lady April 8, 2011 at 8:30 pm

Okay, we’re getting an email suggestion that it’s like the wire cage used to hold balled and burlapped trees. That would be about the right size, and the loops at the top would make it easy to carry. I think we might be getting somewhere, what do y’all think?

If that’s it, I still need help figuring out how to use it.

Wolf_Mommy April 8, 2011 at 9:34 pm

Its hard to tell by the scale, but it looks like a giant egg basket.

Les April 8, 2011 at 10:14 pm

I have one just like it. You “line” it with sphagnum moss, then soil then plant with whatever you like.

Dani April 9, 2011 at 12:26 am

I reckon it’s could also be used for taking straw in and out of a chicken coop / rabbit hutch?

becca April 9, 2011 at 5:57 am

looks like a hanging planter form. you line it in moss then plant 🙂

Greg April 9, 2011 at 7:02 am

it’s a basket they use to transport live tree’s. You will usually see a burlap cloth lining it then it is filled with the dirt and tree root ball.

Greg April 9, 2011 at 7:05 am
Tomato Lady April 9, 2011 at 7:46 am

Greg–That’s exactly it! Thanks for the link. I’ve never seen anything like it before. I’m thinking of turning it upside down and using it as support in the flower garden to keep tall stems from falling over. Mystery solved.

Kay April 9, 2011 at 10:58 am

harvest potatoes into it?

Amy Durham April 9, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Hi there! I need to ask you a couple of gardening questions, but I cannot find an email link anywhere on your website. Help!

Thanks 🙂

Rosanna April 9, 2011 at 1:18 pm

I think You should line it, fill it with composted soil and make it a strawberry basket!
It will contain the creeping little shooters and really be a pretty basket on the porch or just
sitting in a vacant space in the planter bed. How fun!!! Rosanna

Tomato Lady April 9, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Amy Durham–Send us a message at littlehousemail@gmail.com. Thanks!

pumpkinsx3 April 9, 2011 at 7:28 pm

Flip it over – grow a vine all over it – turn it into a large turtle.

SuburbHen April 9, 2011 at 8:13 pm

Is it cone-shaped? I have a tall wire thing similar to this, but it is shaped like a cylinder. It’s over 5 feet tall, I stake it into the ground and then fill it with grass clippings, leaves, and garden waste (ie. pulled weeds, etc – not kitchen waste). Then in the fall we put it all on the garden and till it in.

I agree with other posters though… if it is cone-shaped, I think it must be planting form of some kind. Fill it with moss and plant it up with ferns maybe? The loops look like they might be useful in staking it in place.

Post pics of what you do with this mystery object! 🙂

Heather April 9, 2011 at 8:15 pm

You could line it with coco fiber liner and hang it as a hanging basket. We sell similar ones to that at my nursery for annuals, but trailing vegetables could also be easily grown in it.

Tomato Lady April 10, 2011 at 8:44 am

pumpkinsx3–I love this! Cute!

Jessie April 10, 2011 at 11:28 am

If it wasn’t quite so tall I’d use it for a peony support. I really like the vine/turtle idea too. 🙂

Tami April 12, 2011 at 8:22 pm

I would personally use it for a vining something. That’s pretty neat.

Either that or a support for a MONSTER tomato plant.


Kris @ Attainable Sustainable April 13, 2011 at 1:10 am

You might be able to use it as a base for a smaller version of a Japanese tomato ring: http://jpdurbin.net/recipes/japanese_tomato_ring.htm

Jenny April 13, 2011 at 10:17 am

I’d turn it upside down and use it to keep chickens off young plants.

beatrice May 28, 2011 at 6:42 pm

They are root basketts the tree man left a bunch from planting trees. I use them to put over plants the deer eat .

Gina October 1, 2011 at 9:01 pm

Looks similar to a tomato ring. Is it strong enough to layer mulch and dirt for a tomato plant?

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