bucket tomatoes

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by agmantoo, Apr 23, 2006.

  1. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

    Messages:
    10,855
    Joined:
    May 22, 2003
    Location:
    Zone 7
    I saw a pic of tomatoes planted in hanging 5 gallon pails. What was unusual was the plants where coming out of a hole in the bottom of the pail. What I could not glean from the pic was how high to hang the buckets. Do the plants need to rest on the ground when they reach maturity to prevent the weight of the fruit breaking the plant or can the plant support the weight with everything hanging in the air? TIA
     
  2. swamp man

    swamp man Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,354
    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2005
    Location:
    Fairfield, Iowa
    I've only seen this done with cherry tomatoes,and some kind of a medium sized,oblong tomato,probably romas.The bottom of the bucket was maybe 5 feet off the ground.The plants grew upward,after reaching around the bottom of the bucket,and only drooped a little while absolutely loaded with 'maters.The lady I know who grows them this way has a hose-end watering wand,shaped like the letter"j",to make the overhead watering easy.Again,her tomato varieties were smallish,but the plants didn't seem the least bit in need of any supplumental support.If you try this with a larger variety,I'd be interested to know how it works out.Hope this helps.
    Nick
     

  3. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

    Messages:
    10,855
    Joined:
    May 22, 2003
    Location:
    Zone 7
    Nick, I have 6 BetterBoy plants already set through the bottom of the buckets (6 buckets). They are currently attempting to upright themselves and they look lush and seemingly have no consequence to being planted root side up. If it works it will be nice to have such low maintenance plants as well as having the ability to add nutrient and water from the open side of the bucket. As stated initially my concern is whether the plant can support the fruit without breaking or damaging the root mass as the weight builds and trys to pull the roots through the hole in the bottom of the bucket.
     
  4. FolioMark

    FolioMark In Remembrance

    Messages:
    1,436
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    illinois but i have a homestead building in missou
    Theres a house I ride by on the bus that does this every year. The lady has a sort of multiple pole thing in the yard that holds six buckets of various sizes and at different heights. The highest is maybe 5 feet high and the lowest about 1.5 feet off the ground. It is quite a sight in late summer when it is covered in plants and tomatoes of various sizes and colors. Ive always wanted to try it myself. Tomato plants are pretty tough by the time they get fruit big enough to eat.
     
  5. Ed Norman

    Ed Norman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,332
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2002
    Location:
    Idaho
    Why do you need a 5 gallon bucket? Would a 2 or 3 gallon be enough? And how much dirt do you put in the bucket? And how big is the hole. And that's enough questions for now. We have lots of tomatoes started and this would be a good idea to hang from the roof of the big greenhouse.
     
  6. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

    Messages:
    10,855
    Joined:
    May 22, 2003
    Location:
    Zone 7
    Avoiding root crowding to enhance the production is one reason for the 5 gallon pail. To plant the sizeable tomato plant I cut an 1 1/8 inch hole in the center of the bucket. That was the size of hole saw I had on hand. I carefully somewhat rolled the foliage of the plant and fed the plant from inside the pail through the hole leaving 1/3 of the plant, including the root mass, inside. I then filled the pail about 80% full of rich soil and humus. My buckets are hung outside but I do plan on feeding the plants with a manure "tea" so I covered the open end of the bucket to prevent excess rain water from flooding the plant until they get established. I failed to add lime but wil l do so shortly to prevent blossom end rot. Your comments on this experiment are appreciated.
     
  7. Ed Norman

    Ed Norman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,332
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2002
    Location:
    Idaho
    Thanks. We're gonna do some. It seems there is so much wasted space in the greenhouse, it has 8 foot walls and must be 18 feet high at the ridge. The raised beds are only 2 feet tall so there is a ton of space to be used. I have a stock tank of water warming up in one room, when it is right we will toss in some tilapia and start our aquaponics experiments. Should be an entertaining summer.
     
  8. busybee870

    busybee870 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,742
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2006
    Location:
    NC Arkansas
    we grew betterboys in 5 gallon buckets last year, the fruit didnt get real big but my neice (the eat it fresh out the garden girl) said that they were the best tomatoes she ever ate!! And if she said that, they had to be good. This child knows her vegetables.
     
  9. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

    Messages:
    31,358
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Texas and S. Missouri
    Be sure you use light weight potting medium, such as potting soil. Heavy soils are too....heavy. :rolleyes:

    You can use the plastic woven 50 pound feed bags also, but be sure to water every day, twice on hot sunny days.

    We put ours about 6 ft off the ground.

    Are we doing it again? No. Not any better results than growing them in the ground, and a whole lot more work because of wrestling it into position and awkward watering. :grump:
     
  10. beorning

    beorning Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    606
    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2006
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    We'll be trying this, this year. Our neighbor has a bunch of black walnut trees whose roots extend over our entire back yard. They wreaked havoc on last years tomatoes. We're going to start a second "walnut sensitive" garden next year, but the current place we want to put it is full of gravel and old bush stumps, so we needed an interim solution.

    Anyone know why it would be better to grow them out of the bottom of the buckets instead of just planting them normally?
     
  11. Tabitha

    Tabitha greenheart

    Messages:
    1,751
    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2006
    Location:
    Ky
    the human innovative mind.
     
  12. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

    Messages:
    10,855
    Joined:
    May 22, 2003
    Location:
    Zone 7
    Growing the plants out the bottom allows full access to the bucket opening for adding additional soil and fertilizer plus any weeds are easily removed. Watering is also simplified by not having to drench the plant. The plant itself should not have to rub against the lip of the bucket and should minimize the breaking of the stems.
     
  13. sullen

    sullen Question Answerer

    Messages:
    3,119
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2004
    Location:
    ME
    I did it last year with a strawberry bag, and cherry tomaotoes. Works great. Plant with the bag lying down, then hook it up to a nail.
     
  14. Marcia in MT

    Marcia in MT Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    2,655
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    Location:
    northcentral Montana
    Our tomatoes always taste better when we use good garden soil rather than soilless mix in the containers. Must be some minor and very minor elements in mineral soil that the plants need to produce the tastiest tomatoes that are just not in NPK fertilizers, even the ones with minors added.
     
  15. JackDeePeyton

    JackDeePeyton Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    82
    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2005
    Location:
    Cowley County, Kansas