Ahuroa farmer Nader Youssef got so tired of his wife complaining about winds blowing down crops in their veggie garden that he invented a device to fix the problem.
Nader says his 100-acre block is buffeted by regular stiff breezes and conventional stakes and trellises failed to keep crops such as beans upright. So a few years ago, Nader, a former cabinetmaker, hit on the idea of constructing a hinged A-frame with sheep fence netting on each side for plants to wind themselves around for support.
The feet of the frame are wedge shaped, allowing them to be easily driven into the ground.
The frame proved remarkably stable, regardless of which direction the wind happened to be blowing.
“It’s self-supporting. If the wind blows against it, the other side holds it in place,” Nader says.
He admits the first few versions of the design were a bit “iffy”. Some complained you might cut yourself on the sharp wire ends of the fence netting. But after tinkering with it a bit, Nader was able to come up with a product that is safe, lightweight, and can be easily folded together and transported to another part of the garden.
In addition to beans, Nader says the frame is equally suitable for other plants such as tomatoes, cucumbers and even pumpkins.
One inventive customer laid one on its side and used it as a portable sheep gate.
Nader calls the frame the Stand Tall Plant Support. He design-protected it and began to sell them through major retailers such as Kings Plant Barn garden centres.
However, he became disillusioned when retailers imposed steep mark-ups, which scared many potential customers away.
Nevertheless, over the years, he has managed to sell around 150 units.
Now he sells them directly while continuing to make them in his home workshop.
“I’m obviously biased, but as far as I’m concerned they work well. A couple of neighbours have got them and they swear by them,” he says.
Info: Phone Nader on 422 5128 or 022 422 5128.