Growing rings for tomatoe plants, 4 plants can yield 500 pounds (Garden) : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I was watching a PBS program the other night and the gardener showed that planting 4 tomatoe plants around a 5 ft diameter wire cage that was 4 ft tall maximized the yield. she said 4 plant have been seen to produce 500 pounds of fruit. The design called for wire with holes approx 1/2 inch, make the circle (just like a big grow cage), anchor it in a area 7 ft in dia. that has been garden preped.

After cage is in place , put 6 in of top soil inside, then 6 in of compost over this, then 3 in of manure, then 6 more in of topsoil. On the OUTSIDE of the cage plant a tomatoe plant in garden mix at 12 , 3 , 6 and 9 o'clock around the cage. As the plants grow tie them off to the cage, eventually it looks like a tomatoe "bush" , keep the mix inside the ring turned to kill weeds, water inside the ring and the plants also. This is where the nutrients come from. After the season is over, till the cage mix into the garden to build a base for the next season. Don't know if I'll get a ton of maters, but I've already got my wire for 4 cages.

-- Jay Blair (, August 31, 2000


Jay, I didn't do it exactly the same, but one year I did grow tomatoes around a smaller wire mesh compost pile, and even one cherry tomato smack in the middle of the pile. They grew very well, got very tall -- had to put up very tall stakes.

If you want to plant right in the compost pile, you need to dig out a hole (about like an 8" pot), fill with potting soil, and plant your tomato. Works great.

-- Joy Froelich (, August 31, 2000.

Some months back I described this same method. I use concrete reinforcing mesh because the plants get huge, and I use the ring for a compost bin. I use a four foot diameter ring in my wide row planting beds. This also works for cucumbers.

-- Peg (NW WI) (, September 01, 2000.

Great idea folks! Gonna do some revamping to my garden this fall for next year and think I'll pick up the wire now, too. This sounds like a great idea for us folks who have terrible soil. Plus, to get more tomatoes planted, I have to put alot of them in our front yard which is a steep slope, and I'm gettin mighty tired of carrying harvested tomatoes up hill! My aching back, thanks you.

-- Annie (, September 01, 2000.

Peg, Could you go into some detail on using the rings for cucumbers for me please? My big feet always trample ours, sounds like that might cure my problem. How far out from the ring do the vines run? Thanks

-- Jay Blair (, September 02, 2000.

Jay: This is the first year I grew cukes on the ring. The ring fills the 4-foot bed so I just planted on the sides where the beds are, leaving the path clear. Then I encouraged the vines to grow up and over it. I didn't have huge vines, but they were healthy and had lots of cucumbers on them. They are pickling cukes, maybe that accounts for the smaller vines.? The rings are about 4 feet tall. The 6 inch mesh makes picking very east.

-- Peg (NW WI) (, September 04, 2000.

Thanks Peg. I showed this to my wife, we're gonna try making a cucumber "bush " next season.

-- Jay Blair (, September 05, 2000.

I use a "similar" method which I find more convenient and very productive. HOWEVER, I want to see the system that produces 125 lbs of tomatoes from 1 plant. I will gladly trade for the pigs that I have taught to fly, or possibly for the bridge that I own in Brooklyn! GL!

-- Brad (, September 05, 2000.

I tried this system some years back. The problem with using it was the type of tomato that I grew. I didn't start growing the determinate varities until reciently. With Brandywine for instance you end up with 10 foot plants or higher and this can break down your fence and make one big mess. But since I've switched to a different varity,which by the way, let's me have tomatoes by (I was going to say when I get my first tomatoes but my wife said that would be bragging and that is not nice.) in my part of the country,I may try this system again. Do you prune the suckers with this system or not?

-- Nick Tepsick (, September 05, 2000.

Several weeks ago there was a local newspaper article documenting the origanation of the tomatoe ring mentioned by the Jay Blair posting. It is erroneously called the Japanese Tomato Ring and the inventor of this method was a Mr Callahan sometime in the '60's. However, the original recipe calls for 10-10-10 fertilizer, not manure. Anyway,it sounds like a real space saver, I'm going to try it this season BUT my list contains an instruction to treat area for nematodes prior to planting, calling for 'a bottle of nematode killer bought from and gardening supply store'. Hey,just try to find a bottle of this stuff in central Texas, can't be done. The info I've seen on the web about nematodes says this stuff isn't available to the average gardener, but only for large-scale usage and is a complicated process. Does anyone know of a "nematode killer" that would be effective for a small area. I wnat to do this part of the process cause I know nematodes can totally ruin almost any crop. Thanks in advance for any helpful advise anyone can send my way.

-- Jim Noel (, February 28, 2001.

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