Tomato Skyscrapers!

If your garden is like mine, lacking enough room for everything on your grow list, you’ll like this tomato growing strategy.

Start by taking two pieces of 5 foot wide by 8 foot long galvanized fence wire, (the kind used for fencing around animal pens....sometimes called page wire..it has 4 to 6 inch open squares and is fairly heavy) and rolling them into two 5’ tall by 30" diameter cylinders. Bend the cut ends of the fencing around themselves so they hold their shape. Now, in the fall, stake one cylinder in place where you want your tomatoes in the garden next year, then begin piling in all your leaves, lawn clippings and other compostable garden debris until the cylinder is full. Be sure to have a good mix of materials and a few shovels full of dirt layered in here & there for good composting action. Then fasten the second cylinder atop the first with strong wire ties.

Leave the materials to compost over winter and in the spring after the last frost, transplant your tomato seedlings evenly around the base of the cylinder close into the wire. You can plant 6 to 8 plants around the base about 12 to 16" apart. As the plants grow, train them up the cylinder with loose ties and pinch back suckers so you maintain just two main stems per plant. At least once a week water the centre the cylinder so the water runs through the compost and feeds the roots with the nutrient rich compost tea. You can add extra fertilizer such as 10-30-15 or miracle grow every few weeks as well.

The extra nutrients from the compost give the plants the boost they need to eventually reach the top of the cage and provide a bountiful crop. We may need a step ladder to harvest all the fruit towards the end of the season, but at least we’ll get plenty of tomatoes and still have room for all the other things in our garden! No more stakes & wire cages everywhere, just one tomato skyscraper! Plus, at the end of the season, we’ll have all that compost to spread over the rest of the garden before we start a new batch for next season! Good luck

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