Rated 5 out of 5Â by 1
Rated 5 out of 5Â by TogOfSiliconValley LESS THAN A MINUTE TO FORM A BASKET, AND THEY WORK
Iâve been looking at ads for these baskets probably since the company went into business. I finally broke down and bought some of them, and they are making my life so much easier. I already knew gopher baskets work and keep working: Iâve been making my own gopher baskets from either chicken wire or hardward cloth for the last 15 years. They may work just fine, but making your own is a big task, involving using a wire cutter on each and every loop, then trying to bend the wire into a basket shape while cutting yourself as little as possible on the sharp bits of wire. Whatâs more, the sharp bits are waiting for you next Spring, plus the bright silver wire sticking up looks awful.
These pre-made baskets go from flat to ready very, very quickly: The first one took me around 10 minutes, but the second one, now that I knew how, seemed to only take a couple of minutes. I decided to stopwatch the third: 52.3 seconds from the time I picked up the flat wire basket to the time it was ready to be put in the ground.
What youâre seeing in the productâs illustration: The green area will stay above ground to discourage the gopher from just walking across the ground and diving into the basket itself. (Iâve actually watched one do that.) The basket is actually one piece of wire: The wire is folded in half at the end opposite the green band, with the metal strips (seam bars) clamping the sides together. Thus, it really is a basket.
It looks in the picture like theyâre made of chicken wire, but theyâre made, instead, of 20 gauge wire, much heavier than chicken wire, and the mesh is closer than chicken wire (something the manufacturer should point out as, in the photo, it looks just like chicken wire).
Instructions for going from flat to round: They have a three-step set of instructions on the backside of that giant label, but Iâve expanded those to six and to give you a helpful shortcut. Total time was 52.3 seconds for the whole thing by the time I was making my 3rd basket. Iâve noted approximately how much of that time was spent on each step:
1) Remove label (Itâs held by one staple) and spread the wire at the mouth of the basket at the top of the green band. It may seem like something is holding it together, but it is not (around 15 seconds).
2) Put your hands inside and push it out roughly into a cylinder (around 10 seconds.
3) Grasp the middle of each side around five inches above the bottom and pull the sides apart from each other to cause the crease at the bottom to uncrease and the bottom to flatten in that dimension. (around 10 seconds). At that point, the middle of the wire will be fully formed, but the outside edges, with their straight pieces of metal gripping the seam, will still be unbent, leaving you with a giant V-shaped crease.
4) Flatten the bottom out as much as possible, leaving you with a sort of Viking boat-bottom shape.
5) Take a pair of plyers and bend the side bars 90 degrees about five inches above the bottom so that part of the bar is laying in the same direction as the wire, instead of sticking out from it. Make the bend even with where youâll need to bend the bars to form a nice flat bottom (around 15 seconds).
6) Now, fold the wire bars toward each other and the bottom will be fully formed (around 5 seconds). This may sound like a lot of work, but remember that on my third basket, Iâd already hit 52.3 seconds, and I wasnât trying to set a record, just test my speed.
Their instructions suggest you to bend the bars along their entire length. You may want to do that, but the only place they need to be bent is where youâre going to fold them. Using the pliers makes that very easy. If you do want to bend them along the entire length, do that step first: Itâs much easier when the rest of the basket is still flat.
You can also spend quite a bit of time making the entire basket exactly round, but nobody will be seeing the part below ground. I try to make the green band part pretty close to exactly round because it is going to show. However, with my square shovel, itâs easier to let the bottom of the basket stay slightly square, its natural shape when you first form it. That way it slides right down without my having to make a giant oversized hole.
After the basket is in place, I drop a shovelful of dirt on it, then tamp it down with the shovel. That both makes the dirt drop through the mesh and bends the mesh down a bit so it matches the hole. Keeps you from spending a lot of time trying manually to get the bottom contour to match the hole you happened to end up with. Just make sure the green band stays above ground.
The baskets are available in quite a few different sizes. You want the basket to be bigger than the one that came with the plant. Otherwise, the gophers will dine out on all the new roots, so go one size up. After I tried the 15 gallon size, I ended up buying a case of each size, and Iâm planting like crazy.
September 7, 2013