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Old March 1, 2018   #1
GoDawgs
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Default The Tomato "Garden"

Since this is my first real post in Tomatoville, I thought I'd better post about my tomatoes. LOL!

The garden here consists of sixteen 4'x18' raised beds plus other open areas (no raised beds). About five years ago we started having real problems with some kind of tomato wilt. The plants would start setting tomatoes and then one day the 2" tip of just one branch would look wilty. By the next day about a third of the plant would be wilted and in two more days the whole plant would be wilted.
The only solution was to start growing the tomatoes in buckets. We use 15 gallon nursery pots set on pallets. So far keeping the tomato buckets on pallets have prevented fire ants from taking up residence.



The cages are made from 5' of field fence and slipped over the buckets. When the tomatoes are almost at the top of the cage, I add a second cage on top of the first, tying the two cages together in three places. To stabilize the whole setup, I run some furring strips down the middle of the cages, tying each cage to the strips and tying the strips down to the pallets. That rigging was devised when a bad summer storm blew a couple of plants over. No problems since!



This past summer was the first time I used growing media from a company that makes compost because a) I can't make enough myself and b) buying bags of various ingredients and mixing my own potting soil was a long and tedious process. For $40 I got a cubic yard of compost, shoveled it off my truck right into the pots and handtrucked them to the nearby pallets. It was the fastest, easiest bucket fill ever! Well worth the cash.

The tomato plants are up at the house, away from the garden and right there to keep an eye on. So far the system has worked very well with the added plus of freeing up a garden bed or two!
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Old March 1, 2018   #2
rhines81
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Nice set-up. Welcome to t-ville
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Old March 1, 2018   #3
eyegrotom
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Welcome GoDawgs sounds like you have a good set-up for your area
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Old March 1, 2018   #4
Barb_FL
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Welcome.

Looks like a great year for you. Thanks for the explanation; I always like hearing how other people growing in buckets manage their garden.
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Old March 2, 2018   #5
Nan_PA_6b
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Welcome to Tomatoville!

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Old March 2, 2018   #6
kath
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Welcome to Tomatoville! Happy to hear that you found a way to grow great tomatoes...your plants look great!

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Old March 2, 2018   #7
Ann123
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So you grew them in pure compost? Interesting.
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Old March 2, 2018   #8
bower
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Those are nice big pots, and your tomatoes look great!
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Old March 2, 2018   #9
GoDawgs
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann123 View Post
So you grew them in pure compost? Interesting.
Nope, it looks like I misspoke. I was going to by the "Compostost" but ended up getting the general blend Nursery Mix that has the Compostost in it plus other stuff:

"The first and most important reason Nursery Mix is so good is it starts with our premium original plant food, Compostost. Then it is enriched with Kricket Krap, and dolomite lime. All of this is mixed well with composted pine bark, and aged before selling."

http://bricko.com/garden/nurserymix.htm

It does take more watering due to the composted pine bark in it.
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Old March 2, 2018   #10
Ann123
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Ah, I was already getting really excited . It would be so easy to grow in pure compost. I will try a few pots with pure compost this season.
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Old March 2, 2018   #11
Labradors2
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Lookin' good GroDogs!

What varieties are you growing?

Linda
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Old March 2, 2018   #12
GoDawgs
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Lookin' good GroDogs!
What varieties are you growing?
Thanks! This year I'm doing one each of Better Boy, Creole Original, Golden Girl, Homestead, Warrior and Juliet; two each of Celebrity and Early Girl Bush. Oops! And one last minute Black Vernissage, a freebie. I've never heard of it before but I'll try it anyway.
I've also decided to try a few of these tomatoes down in the garden since it's been a long time and maybe whatever was wilting the plants is gone. One for sure will be one of the Celebrity because of the resistance factor and probably one of the two early Girls.
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Old March 2, 2018   #13
GoDawgs
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bower View Post
Those are nice big pots, and your tomatoes look great!
You might be able to get some inexpensively at a local nursery and especially at a growing nursery. I worked for a grower for 18 years before retiring five years ago so I have ready access to replacements if needed.
I used to wait for the big spring fling sale at the local Ace Hardware and buy a bunch of the $1 bags of "compost" and other $1 stuff and mix it together to fill those big buckets. What a pain! So glad I found that bulk mix. And yes, the happy tomato plant roots will fill the bucket slam full by summer's end so I just toss them and start fresh each spring.
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Old March 2, 2018   #14
MissS
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Welcome GoDawgs! I am glad to see that you have overcome your disease problem. Many people here on the forum have had to deal with the same affliction. You have had either Fusarium Wilt or Verticillian Wilt which are both soil born disease. If you would like to grow tomatoes in your soil, you can do as you have and give the soil a rest for 5-7 years and then see if you can grow there again or there are resistant varieties of tomatoes that you can grow.

Here is some information for you: http://www.vinesgardens.org/wp-conte...-Disorders.pdf
You can also look at the "sticky threads" at the top of the "Common Garden Disease and Pests" section here at TV.
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Old March 3, 2018   #15
GoDawgs
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MissS View Post
Welcome GoDawgs! I am glad to see that you have overcome your disease problem. Many people here on the forum have had to deal with the same affliction. You have had either Fusarium Wilt or Verticillian Wilt which are both soil born disease. If you would like to grow tomatoes in your soil, you can do as you have and give the soil a rest for 5-7 years and then see if you can grow there again or there are resistant varieties of tomatoes that you can grow.

Here is some information for you: http://www.vinesgardens.org/wp-conte...-Disorders.pdf
You can also look at the "sticky threads" at the top of the "Common Garden Disease and Pests" section here at TV.
Thank you! I sure appreciate the input.
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