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Member discussion regarding the methods, varieties and merits of growing tomatoes.

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Old 1 Week Ago   #1
TomatoDon
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Default Raised beds for single tomatoes

I had planned to do a few of these this year and recently saw this picture on "Growing Tomatoes" on Facebook.

There is a lot of interest here at T'ville about raised beds, but I haven't seen a thread about individual beds for single tomatoes like this, so I thought some of you would enjoy this. If there has been, perhaps someone can provide a link to it.

I have access to an unlimited free supply of good organic material, but I know that most of you have to buy it in bag at the big box stores, which can get very expensive. You will have no idea how many bags it will take to fill even a small raised bed -- say a 4 x 12 -- but the amount will be surprisingly large. And once the bed is filled, most of the organic "dirt" you buy won't even be used by the tomatoes because the majority of it will be spread throughout the rest of the bed. The tomatoes will only use what's in the area (mostly) directly under them.

The picture shows what appears to be large concrete blocks, but wood is the most common material used to make raised beds. I couldn't find additional info on the material they used to make these, so I'll refer to building beds with wood construction.

Using individual tomato mini beds like shown in the picture, you can have great soil environment for a fraction of the cost, and all of it will be used. You also won't have to worry as much about dimensions of a full size raised bed as we often see here...ie, "what size bed do I need for 8 tomatoes, etc." You can also enjoy the benefits of a raised bed even if you don't have a lot of room and only want to plant one or two tomatoes.

I use 2 x 12 treated lumber (it's safe) and I make cages out of concrete reinforcing wire, which is also 5' tall and I cut 12 squares, which makes a 24 inch age, which is probably the most popular size. It you have any qualms about using treated lumber, you can just line the inside with plastic.

The picture shows the wire inside the box at ground level. This is better than having it outside the box. It's better to make your boxes first, then cut the wire cages to fit, rather than making your cages first and then trying to cut the wood to fit the cages.

If you already have wire cages, then you will have to cut the wood to form the boxes to accommodate whatever size cages you already have. If you want the cages on top of the wood, then secure them to the wood by using eye hooks and then tie (or use wire) the cage to the wood via the eye hook.

My mini-beds will have an inside diameter of 24 inches square. My planting holes will be as wide as I can dig inside the box, and at least 12 inches deep. Add to that the 2 x 12, and my planting hole will be 24" deep. That is plenty big to grow great tomatoes.

If you have reasonably good natural soil, a third or half bag...and certainly not over one full bag, will be plenty to amend your soil with. Mix it all up really good. If you need some filler, but some leaves, grass clippings, or old fashioned hay in the bottom.

I hope those of you interested in raised beds will try this, and I am confident the results will be excellent. My favorite way to plant is with raised beds, even if I have to form them with nothing but natural dirt (without wooden sides) with a tractor.

Don
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Old 1 Week Ago   #2
Greatgardens
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I've had a similar idea, thinking mostly about cedar, but will likely use plastic lawn edging -- the black edging that comes in a roll. That means the bed going to be round, which is not as convenient as square, but I only plan to try one or two.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #3
TomatoDon
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I think that is a great idea! It's cheaper, easier, and accomplishes the same thing. I don't see how a round mini bed would be any less effective that a square built of wood. I assume you are talking about a round bed of about 24" diameter. The middle of a large round bed -- several feet in diameter -- would be very difficult to access. But a small, 24" mini bed should work just fine.

Keep us updated with pictures.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #4
taboule
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Don, interesting ideas and the layout.

I considered smaller beds/boxes when I built my "new" garden last year. Ended up going the other extreme, with much larger beds, to economize on constructions, and for a simpler irrigation system.

http://www.tomatoville.com/showthrea...en+2018&page=4

If the above (6 ft) is too wide, one could make them narrower, 3 or 4 ft wide would work with 2 plants across, offset. How do you plan on watering this layout? I didn't want poly lines crossing the walkways, so buried them between the beds. It would be much more work to do the same with many, many boxes. Just something to consider.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #5
SQWIBB
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Yes it is interesting and looks awesome. I done the same as taboule, well not large but long.

Speaking "Only" from a from a cost perspective I have to disagree with you and don't see any benefit.

Wouldn't the cost of the extra lumber be the something to consider?
to make a single bed 2' x 2' x 12'h beds would be $25.00 cheaper than 6 individual beds. I could get 12 bags of mulch at a box store or 18 bags of top soil (not that I would buy bagged stuff)

In addition if space is at a premium this is not the best design.

I mean if folks wanted to save money they could build a long bed and place a bale of hay every 2' and fill between the hay, in a year or two they could plant right in the hay.
I much prefer longer beds for underplanting. In my small yard individual beds would eat up my space in no time, but thats me. I think its awesome if you have the room.




For fill I went with Hugelkultur type beds. Most folks dont realize that filling raised beds doesn't have to be expensive.
Using old wood, cardboard, shredded paper, garbage, yard waste, etc.., and layering is very inexpensive, but then again it doesn't yield immediate results and isn't for everyone.









this bed had 0 soil brought in. When we planted I just added a thin layer of compost, but to be honest it would have been fine without it or I could have just placed compost where the plants were put in








But to touch on your post a bit more I have seen folks use most of the following for beds.



Fabric beds







these garden add on beds







55 Gallon drum beds.










Galvanized bed

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Old 1 Week Ago   #6
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What about raised beds for married tomatoes?
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Old 1 Week Ago   #7
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Quote:
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What about raised beds for married tomatoes?
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Old 1 Week Ago   #8
taboule
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SQWIBB, I love the photos of the various pots/and layouts. Thanks.

I've also used fabric bags extensively in the past, they're a very inexpensive option, and plants seem to thrive in them if kept well watered.

The back of your vehicle looks a bit familiar, a Suburban ?
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Old 1 Week Ago   #9
SQWIBB
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taboule View Post
SQWIBB, I love the photos of the various pots/and layouts. Thanks.

I've also used fabric bags extensively in the past, they're a very inexpensive option, and plants seem to thrive in them if kept well watered.

The back of your vehicle looks a bit familiar, a Suburban ?

Yes a lot of that stuff is expensive, I go with PT, I had to make the beds look nice or the better half would let me have it.


Before




After


Yes, it's a 96 K2500, The wife has a 2004
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Old 1 Week Ago   #10
TomatoDon
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Those are not my individual mini beds. In the first sentence I said I saw this on a Facebook page called "Growing Tomatoes."

I said this was a good option for someone wanting the benefits of a raised bed but who only wanted to plant one or two tomatoes, or any small amount.

I think I bought over 100 bags of organic material to put in just one of my back yard beds years ago. It was on sale, but it was still a sizable expense that I've never forgotten. I just shared the original picture because I thought it was a good idea that some of you with limited space could use and benefit from. If you have a better system, or a system that you just like better, then that is the way to go.

I'm working with a lot of tomatoes and it takes up a lot of room and require tons of organic matter to fill them. I get it free by the dump truck load and have the farm equipment and room to do this, but hardly anyone wants something that size. I thought the small individual mini-beds would be a very do-able and productive way to have the benefits of a raised bed without all the room and expense.

You have a lot of good methods shown and explained. I'm sure they will all do well for you.
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File Type: jpg Tomatoes 1, May 2016.jpg (355.0 KB, 81 views)
File Type: jpg Tomatoes 2 May 27, 2017.jpg (116.4 KB, 81 views)
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Old 1 Week Ago   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Worth1 View Post
What about raised beds for married tomatoes?
Thanks for the laugh!!!
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Old 1 Week Ago   #12
jtjmartin
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TomatoDon:

Thanks for the ideas - one of the reasons I love T-ville. Beautiful layout!

Jeff
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Old 1 Week Ago   #13
TomatoDon
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Worth...be serious...you know I don't let the singles get in my beds together. I only let the marrieds get in my beds. That's why I call them love apples.

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Old 1 Week Ago   #14
SQWIBB
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TomatoDon
That has to be the most impressive raised tomato bed I have ever seen.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #15
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That certainly is a great looking setup, Don! Yalobusha County, right? I am definitely gonna have to road trip over there some Saturday later in the Spring!
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