This is a blog about how we changed our tomato planting methods this year. The pictures will show you what we are doing. Hopefully this will be the start of something new for us. It is said necessity is the mother of invention. Not having enough uncontaminated soil to fill our raised beds led us to this possible solution.
We are organic and rotate crops. We have gone to raised beds because we are tired of fighting the heavy clay content of our soil. It seems the clay ate the dirt we had "cultivated" during the winter. We decided to contain it. Yes, we still have disappearing dirt dilemma, but it is not of the proportion of the previous years.
For years we have searched for the best method to raising the perfect tomatoes. We have found barring the deer who aren't supposed to eat nightshade plants (they do), groundhogs who devour them the minute they show color, opossums that take a bite to test it and decide they don't like it, birds pecking at the cocktail tomatoes sipping their juices, there really isn't one way that is perfect. Every tomato variety seems to have its own preferences.
We have tried mulching and letting the vines run rampant. We have also staked and tied each plant. Everyone who has gardened has bought and tried those cone shape cages. We went through them twice. The second time they were larger and heavier gauge wire and we were told not subject to the weld joints breaking. NOT...they succumb to the same faults their little sisters have. We have been very lucky, on two occasions we have been gifted wire cages made from woven welded fence wire. The first ones I wish I had more of. They are 30 inches in diameter and 5 feet high. They have been G-d sends when we plant "Delicious" and "Jelly Bean" tomatoes ("Big Momma" tomatoes can use them too). These varieties seem to grow as if they were on steroids. The "Jelly Beans" topped 8 feet last year. We had to use a step ladder to pick them. BTW...they also continue to produce on the lower branches.
HOW WE ARE PLANTING TOMATOES IN 2010