Japanese tomato cage

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by NativeRose, Feb 20, 2005.

  1. NativeRose

    NativeRose Texas Country Grandma

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    Has anyone here raised tomatoes around a compost ring of fencing called the Japanese tomato ring? We are trying it this year and wondering if this really works. The claim is that you can grow about 100 lbs. of tomatoes from 4 plants in one season. I got this information from our county agriculture agent. Just wondering if anyone has heard of this or tried it?
     
  2. suelandress

    suelandress Windy Island Acres Supporter

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    Can you explain some more about this "compost ring"? How are they supported?
     

  3. shadowwalker

    shadowwalker Well-Known Member

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    How I done mine was make a ring about three foot across out of chicken wire with 1/2" rebar, I used six pieces 36 inches long, drove them about halfway into the ground, before i made the ring I dug about 12 inches into the ground in a 24 inch circle in the middle of the ring. I had five plants grow about 4 feet and 4feet around. I had a obscene amount of tomatos. My only trouble was bugs! I had to watch for them and spray. shadowwwalker
    I didn't know what the ring was called but I got the idea off the net somewhere.
     
  4. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

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    I hate to be a party pooper, but a 25 pound yield of tomatoes per plant doesn't sound like anything special to me. Assuming they start yielding ripe tomatoes around July 1 and end production with frost around September 15, that is 77 days for production. Assuming the production is of the 8 oz. variety, only two tomatoes need to be picked every three days.

    Where I now live the soil tends to a very sandy loam. I always dig a posthole, and to the removed dirt I add some manure, peat moss, some fertilizer and then use this for backfill. I also always mulch and cage the plants.

    Oh, I almost always plant an indeterminate variety. I expect a determinate variety might limit production quite a bit, maybe enough to stifle yields to just the aforementioned 25 pounds.
     
  5. twind59

    twind59 Well-Known Member

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    My tomato's are grown in cages made from concrete reinforcing mesh...very stiff and a little over a foot in diameter. Is it anything like that?
     
  6. NativeRose

    NativeRose Texas Country Grandma

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    The directions for the ring are as follows:


    A length of wire fence five feet high and about 15 feet long.
    A small bag of all-purpose garden fertilizer
    About 2 wheelbarrow loads of good soil
    A small bottle of nemotode killer (I am not sure what this is as have never used it)
    Mulch
    Four tomato plants.

    Pick a location in full sun and protected from north and northwest winds, if possible. Clear a circle seven feet across and break up the soil to a depth of several inches. Treat this area with the nematode kill, following directions on the label.

    Arrange the fence in a circle which will be about five feet in diameter, and place it in the center of the cleared ground.

    Put a layer of mulch about 6 inches deep in the ring. Add a layer of the good soil, another layer of mulch and a final layer of soil. Peat moss can also be used.

    Shape the top layer of soil to form a shallow dish. This will receive water after the plants are well started.

    Add about 2 pounds of fertilizer to the soil and mulch. Then treat the mulch and soil with more nemotode killer to help prevent root knot. Wait a week after preparing the ring before you plant. Then set no more that four plants in the cleared space aroung the bottom of the ring. Lightly fertilize the plants around the ring.

    Water around the ring when the plants are small. Apply water to the dish shaped pile of soil and mulch in the ring after the plants get larger.

    The roots of the plants will be attracted to the wealth of plant food in side the ring. Tie the plants to the wire with a soft cloth or other material which will not damage the stem. I won't be long until the plants cover the wire and fill the inside of the ring. You may have to prop up excess growth.

    You will need to continue to fertilize the ring during the season to keep the plants growing well.

    The soil should be kept moist but not wet.

    My hubby and I used a length of horse wire that we salvaged from my dad's fencing excess. As I said this is new to me and I am going to try it for the first time this year. I will also be growing tomatoes in containers. I just want to see if this works and how I might improve on it if necessary.
     
  7. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

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    This does sound like a very workable planting method, but I would still expect more production than 25 pounds.

    The method would also have to be modified for each locale. As an example here in Kansas we would need to shield from south and southwest winds rather than from north and northwest winds.

    Too bad that the original directions didn't give the fertilizer formula. Two pounds of a nearly all nitrogen formula might give too much top growth and too little production. I have a bag of 18-46-00 that I blend with 18-18-18 to get a final formulation that I am pleased with. Either by themselves probably would not be right for this application. Perhaps the 18-18-18 might because of the additional manure.

    Yes, it does sound like a quite workable method. Good luck everyone. Please report back with opinions on this method after the gardening season is over.
     
  8. NativeRose

    NativeRose Texas Country Grandma

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    I like you am planning to be careful about the fertilizer. I have to watch my hubby. He thinks the more fertilizer the better. I will be getting after him with the broom. :haha: :haha:
     
  9. twind59

    twind59 Well-Known Member

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    The broom sounds like a good idea. It took me years to get my father to stop fertilizing everything "all" the time. He fertilized every single day! It finally sunk in that his baby boy "was" right! His plants looked great and grew big and strong....and had very little production. I kept telling him that his plants felt invincable and therefore didn't see the need to set fruit to reproduce themselves in the future! His production has gone up the past few years as he has cut back on the fertilizing. Still...I think he does it way too much. If the broom works quickly, then I'm all for it! Let us know if that method of fertilizer reduction works...maybe I'll try it if I have such problems again! I think a light-hearted book could be written about your experience, if the broom works. :)
    Barry
    Indianapolis
     
  10. sylvar

    sylvar Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like it would work fine. I agree Windy in Kansas though. For indeterminate varieties you SHOULD be getting 25 lbs/plant. I have always planted indeterminates...except for last year. I got careless with my starts and the frost got them while I was hardening off. I had to buy plants. I didn't realize the Romas at the store were determinate. Everybody else thought we had a great crop, but I kept telling them "You don't understand! There should be more!"

    Have fun!

    Sylvar
     
  11. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

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    I don't want to hijack this thread so I'm starting another slightly off topic, that of micro-nutrients from Spray-N-Grow.
     
  12. dla

    dla Well-Known Member

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    How will you get the tomatoes out of the center of the ring?
     
  13. gccrook

    gccrook Well-Known Member

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    I will just mention how I did my tomatoes last year. I took straw bales (had lots for cheap) and made a rectangular bed one bale high, about 4 bales long, and 1 bale wide. Filled inside that with composted manure (get that for free from neighbor with horses) and used 2 t-posts to hold a 16 foot cattle panel in the center length wise. Planted tomatoes on each side of the panel so they could be tied to the panel. We had our best tomato year yat, with very little work after setting up. When the season was over, the mostly rotted bales were used to mulch things for winter, and into the compost pile. Also, I put my tomatoes so that they had afternoon shade from some very tall trees. They certainly seemed to suffer less than when I grew them in full sun.
     
  14. NativeRose

    NativeRose Texas Country Grandma

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    dla, that is a good question. I am thinking about covering the wire with some screening. Of course if I had used something other than horse wire with wider mesh I could reach through and pick the tomatoes. I used the horse wire as it was free from my dad's junk pile of wire and such. Hubby and I are scouting other things that we can recycle from my dad's massive collection of "stuff."

    gccrook, I liked your idea also. I just wish the fire ants weren't so drawn to straw bales. Thanks for the info. Rosemary