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pkapeckopickldpepprz

Tomato Ring success?

Anyone thats done this before I would greatly sappreciate tips and tricks to this kind of setup.

I never tried it before, but the same time I was reading up on lasagne gardening was when I first discovered planting tomatoes in a tomato ring. Doing what I do best I combined both those ideas. I layed down about 3 inches of compost then I placed in the center the wire cage creating the cylindrical shape. Then I filled the cage with oragnic materials I didn't use in my compost pile. Then I planted 9 tomatoes around the ring.

After the tomatoes got tall enough I mulched the base of plants and covered the partially composted compost. I used Eucalyptus mulch.

After the initial growing period I noticed the late afternoon sun caused the weak plants to wilt so I have screening covering the plants that get the ful;l sun and they are doing much better.

My question is for the tomato ring to work the tomato plants need to form aerial roots to start feeding out of the pile. Is it necessary to tie the plants stems to the cage? If so what is the best material to use as strihng tends to dig into the stems.

Thanks.

Comments (17)

  • suze9
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I've tried the ring method before, and found it to be of limited value. Part of the benefit is supposed to be that a pile of rich growing medium is immediately provided for the roots to grow *up* into. Supposedly, the roots will seek out the richer medium instead of growing downward. What you do is plant right up against the outside of the ring. Use garden twine or that green stretchy garden tape found in rolls at your local box store to tie up as necessary.

    Give it a go if you like to try new things, but it's one of many methods and I personally didn't find it preferable to just amending the soil and planting right in it.

    I also found that pill bugs love to congregate to the rings.

  • gonefishin
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I agree with Suze. My elderly neighbor had one just over the back fence from me a few years ago. Once was enough for him too.

    However, roots do seek sources of nutrients and moisture as evidenced by these roots in this {{gwi:277859}}. They had grown into my hotbed / coldframe pit which has been dug three feet deep into the clay, and was filled with rich compostable material to generate heat for my seedlings. I have quit even trying to line it with tin, they just find a small crack and come right on in. I just dig the compost out every year, after the seedlings are done and destroy any new roots that have grown in. They come from a big ol Mulberry tree about 30 to 35 feet away, and are invasive.

    Nutrients from your compostables in your tomato ring do not just stay there in place, they also leach down into the soil beneath which could provide a bonanza for the tomato plant roots growing UNDER the ring.

    Now, having said that, roots do turn up into sources of nutrients and moisture like my compost pile. I have also seen them go thru a tiny crack in a sewer line then grow to fill the line, once inside and having an almost unlimited source of moisture and nutrients.

    Come back at mid summer or this fall and tell us how your tomato ring did for you. Post some pictures perhaps.
    Good luck with it.
    Bill P.

  • pkapeckopickldpepprz
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Here are some pics:

    The last pic shows why I need to tie the plants up to the ring.

    So if I understand this correctly the underground roots will grow up the ring? I was under the assumption the stem if tied to the ring, would send out feeder roots and those would further supply nutrients to the plant that the underground ones weren't capable of.

  • gonefishin
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    You just want some kind of material to tie the plant up with that will not cut into the stem and damage the plant. Cut some rags or an old sheet into strips a couple of inches wide, fold them over so that they are double, or just about anything along that line.

    If a tomato stem is covered, it will usually put out some roots in that area. I do not know of any putting out "air roots" trying to reach something nearby.

    While I think that roots natural direction is generally horizontal and downward, they will follow the money -er- source of moisture and nutrients to some extent and should seek and find the richer, damper soil beneath the tomato ring, then perhaps take a vertical turn up into it, like some have done into my compost pile in the past.

    If you post a link to those pictures, or reduce the size of them, it will prevent having to scroll back and fourth horizontally to read the associated text.
    Bill P.

  • pkapeckopickldpepprz
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Gonefishing, sorry about the larger size of the first picture. I didn't think of resizing it when I uploaded it. I used Tinypic.com so there is no way to go back and resize it through that website and my big gripe with GW is the lack of the ability to edit ones posts. BTW for the time being I used plastic coated wire ties but will look for that green stretchy plastic fabric they sell. Would Home Depot or Wal Mart carry the stuff? I don't want to go on a wild goose chase trying to find the stuff.

  • gonefishin
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Probably, but let your fingers do the walking. You might get lucky and get someone in the garden department that actually knows something. I will probably be at our local H.D. sometime before noon tomorrow and will try to remember to see if I see any thing there that you could use.
    Bill P.

  • sprager
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I grow with a tomato ring. From the pictures I see here, the ring is waayyy to small. The compost pile needs to be huge. It is easier to keep the moisture more uniform.
    That said. I feel it's to late in the season for this to work.(it does work if you do it right).
    My method is fence about 3 foot high. Ring about 4feet in circumference. I don't feed the pile until season is over(october in my zone) I then pile on the greens and browns.
    Staubucks coffey . and tree leaves are great.. But I feel the cutoff date in my zone for piling on more*stuff* ends march 1st. It isn't a complicated thing. *compost* *wormfarm* it does work very well.

  • korney19
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I think VGary posted a good link last year or in 2005; I think it was referred to as "Japanese Tomato Ring." You need a really big ring, maybe 6-8ft diameter or larger, and you make a depression in the top that collects rain/water.

    Yes, roots will seek the compost. If you don't believe it, put a piece of tar paper, roof shingle, plywood, etc, over a section of the pile, even cardboard weighted down would work. Of course the pile of compost would have to be well watered. Come back in a month and remove the board and you should see roots at/on the surface.

    The only thing I wonder about the Japanese tomato ring is if the pile is really deep (I think they should be somewhere in the 3-5ft deep range) some plants on the north circumference would be in some shade until the plants grew taller than the depth of the compost. And likewise for the east side when the sun is later in the day, and v. versa.

  • sprager
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Korney You are right about the higth. But the fact is when you have too many plants.(as I do), you put your favorites on the East and south side, and elaborate from there. Put disease tolerant plants on the dark side.

  • pkapeckopickldpepprz
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I was worried about the North side that gets the least amount of sun, and it is growing well and even flowering already.

    Sprager, this is the first year I am trying it and never saw actual pictures, so I kind of winged it this time around. I'm guessing it isn't an exact science and with the mini lasagne bed the ring is kind of extra insurance. So far the plants are healthy and look better than the ones in my containers, as well as others that are in the plain sandy soil. I can't imagine making the ring 4 feet across. Something that large would remind me of the days as a kid when my family had an above ground pool.

  • newtxan
    17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I'm giving this a try this year -- I had plenty of extra seedlings and wanted to plant as many as I could. I planted three on the south and west half of my existing compost pile. They seem to be doing pretty well so far, although not quite as well as those in my sunnier, better-amended beds. We shall see ...

  • pkapeckopickldpepprz
    Original Author
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Updated pic:

  • kwezykwez
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    this is fascinating.
    do they have to be covered? why do you cover them?
    does it matter what type of tomatoes you grow?

  • aperkins_gmail_com
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I've done a couple of JTR's and found them to work quite well, in fact better than the garden or containers. I made one 19" circumference and one 29" circumference. The 19" ring tomatoes matured first, but the 29" surpassed it after awhile. Could have been the placement in the yard, I don't know , this picture shows a "rogue" squash I used to top off the 19" JTR. Next time, I'll plant some smaller plant.

    Next year I'm swapping the sizes and locations, moving them both up one row (crop rotationally speaking), and see how they do.

    The moisture kept constant around both JTR's, measuring into the soil about 6" or so around the outside of them. I'm figuring that the fertilizer also kept a constant supply too.

    To summarize, I found them 1: ugly, 2: convenient, 3: easy to maintain. I'll be doing them again, and possibly doing some variations as well.

    Here is a link that might be useful: gardenhacker.com

  • vgary
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    THE JAPANESE TOMATO RING
    Cindi Sullivan

    The "Japanese" Tomato Ring has a long and interesting story. It was first created by a Charleston, SC postman about 40 years ago. It seems a Miami newspaper reporter, Eddie Jones, interviewed Mr. Callahan (the postman) about the Tomato. As Mr. Callahan and Mr. Jones inspected the tomato ring, they talked about tomatoes and Mr. Callahans tours in North Africa, Europe and Japan when he was in the Air Force. Somehow or another, Mr. Jones got his facts confused and ended up thinking that the idea for the tomato ring originated in Japan, when in fact, Mr. Callahan just started implementing the idea on his farm in South Carolina.

    (Just as an aside, it was Mr. Jones who coined the phrase "Bermuda Triangle" for the area where ships and planes sometimes spookily disappeared east of Florida.)

    The story about the Japanese Tomato Ring ran year after year in the Miami Herald, and was picked up by other newspapers across the country. It came to Louisville, when Mr. and Mrs. Bob Rogers were traveling south for a vacation, saw the story in a Macon, Georgia newspaper, brought it home and tried out the idea. Mr. Rogers was so impressed with the tomato production using this method that he called Fred Wiche to do a story about it.

    When I first started this job, I had a bunch of requests for "FredÂs Japanese Tomato Ring", but I didnÂt have FredÂs files with the instructions. Then finally, one day, just in passing, Paul Rogers---the 84WHAS Sportscaster Extraordinaire---told me that it was his dad who gave Fred the instructions. Small world isnÂt it? HereÂs how it goes:

    YouÂll need about 80 quarts of good topsoil. Mr. Rogers buys two bags of topsoil for each ring. If you have an excess of good garden soil, use that; it will take about two wheelbarrows full.

    YouÂll also need two bags of mulch. Mr. Rogers uses cypress mulch, but you could use any other shredded bark mulch or good quality finished compost.

    The only other ingredient is a 10-pound bag of 10-10-10.

    Take 15 feet of five foot high farm fence (or concrete construction) wire and roll it into a circle five feet in diameter, placing the cylinder in a sunny spot protected from the north and northwest winds if possible. Clear a seven-foot wide circle and break the topsoil a few inches deep. Place the wire ring in the circle, leaving a foot of cleared soil a foot outside the ring.

    Place the mulch or compost six inches deep in the ring and top it with a layer of soil and half the fertilizer. Add another layer of mulch or compost, another layer of soil and 2/3 of the remaining fertilizer on top of that. Save the rest of the fertilizer to sprinkle around the plants.

    Pat the topmost layer down in the middle to create a depression to hold water.

    Plant four, and only four tomatoes, spacing them evenly around the ring outside the wire. They will look small, but in time they will grow roots under and up into the pile.

    Lightly fertilize the new plants. We mean lightly, because too much will wither them.

    If things start to look dry, water the plants outside the ring when they are small and inside the ring as they grow. Support the vines by tying them to the wire with soft cloth.

    Once tomato production starts pumping, top off the compost with another five pounds of fertilizer. Mr. Rogers harvests about 600 tomatoes per plant per year with this method.
    http://jpdurbin.net/recipes/japanese_tomato_ring.htm

  • vgary
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Additional Information on The Japanese Tomato Ring

    By: Daniel E
    There are several reasons why this occurs, and you can recreate this same growing condition by installing a Japanese tomato ring. ...www.santarosa.fl.gov/extension/articles/japtomatoring.html

    Tomato Ring
    The Japanese Tomato Ring, which, by the way, has nothing to do with Japan, originated in South Carolina with a postman named Callahan. ...www.pamga.org/Tomato%20Ring.htm

    Tons of Tomatoes From A Small Space
    Want to grow a ton of tomatoes, but plagued by evil soil or limited space? The Japanese Tomato Ring allows you to grow 5 lush plants in a space 3" x 3", ...
    http://floraldreams.net/Plant%20Care/Tons%20Of%20Tomatoes.html

    Urban Gardening Help - High Yield Techniques - Small Spaces
    Square Foot Gardening and the Japanese Tomato Ring are two gardening methods ... The Japanese Tomato Ring is an unusual growing technique that one gardener ...www.urbangardeninghelp.com/highyield.htm

    Japanese Tomato Ring Websites People Who Like Japanese Tomato Ring Sites
    http://www.stumbleupon.com/tag/japanese-tomato-ring/

  • butchfomby
    10 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    found a similar method i might try this year....use 20 or 30 gal trash can in the middle of ring...plant around it in good composted soil...put compost in can and water your tomatoes by putting water in can...which leaks out water slowly to water deeply...later, up till bloom time, just make compost tea and use it to water tomatoes...might work and also save water too...the indian

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