Sunday, February 26, 2012

Tomato Garden Prep...

This year the vegetable garden is taking up a lot of my time.  We're setting in permanent raised beds and I'm trying some experiments that I've read about online and in several garden magazines.  It'll be interesting to see what works and what doesn't.  This weekend I finished up the tomato beds.  I read about this here, and modified it a bit for myself.
 My tomatoes will be in three of the Home Depot "Homer" buckets with drainage holes in the bottom. (Why does everything at Home Depot have to be so orange...yikes. I would have preferred a less startling color, but this is what they have, so I went with it.)
I'm using three old tires that we have stacked around, and painted them to match the buckets.  I've covered the ground in a killing mulch (feed sacks from the deer corn that I've been saving) and then covering that with pea gravel.  These are being set up in the garden in a full sun area, since tomatoes are sun loving plants.  I cut out the mulch in the bottom of the tires, and added about 6 inches of compost, before setting in the buckets.
 After setting in the buckets, I added a layer of rock for drainage, and then a piece of 1-1/2" pvc pipe that I drilled holes in up and down three sides. This should help add additional moisture all the way to the bottom of the bucket during the coming dry summer. (I hope John doesn't miss this pvc that I scrounged from his barn!)

Next I added the soil, with a sprinkle of wood ash and tomato fertilizer at each level.  I've read that tomatoes like ash, so this is another experiment.  We've been adding ash to our compost pile this year, too. 
Filled up the buckets and the tire below with the composted soil.  Boy, did this soil smell like a cow barn! Should be good stuff.
I'm planning to plant marigolds around the tire below the tomatoes since they are "supposed" to guard against pests that like tomato plants.  We'll see....
All done, complete with two tomato cages in each bucket (I wired two together before putting them in place.)  In the last bucket I had to use a plastic milk container in place of a pvc pipe, since I couldn't find any more of the big pipe.  Should work the same though (hope!)
Okay, now I'm ready to go! This will be one standard tomato, one plum type tomato and one cherry tomato.  I'm just waiting for the safe "no frost" date!  Let's see if I can beat my brother to the first tomato of the season!

1 comment:

  1. Wow..this looks incredible. I can't wait ro see does.this year in the sun.