Creating a Japanese Tomato Ring

Creating a Japanese Tomato Ring

istock_000005681474xsmall.jpgSo there are multitudes of ways that we creatively add more space in our urban gardens. And some of these you don’t hear a lot about-like the Japanese Tomato Ring. The accounts that I have read bring up a good point-the tomato that springs up in the compost pile is often better than the ones we have babied in a pot. And although availability to nutrients must play a role, Daniel E. Mullins, an Extension Horticultural Agent with Santa Rosa County, suggests that we can recreate that same environment and save big-time on space with a Japanese Tomato Ring. A 3-foot wide cage will allow room for 4 plants to be evenly spaced.

How to Make a Tomato Ring:

  1. Purchase a 10 foot long piece of concrete reinforcing wire. It should be 5 feet wide with a 6 inch mesh size.
  2. Join the ends together and tie them securely, making a cage.
  3. Choose a sunny, 6 foot diameter space.
  4. Spade and turn the soil in that area to about 8 inches deep.
  5. Smooth area and add 6 inches of compose.
  6. Stand the wire cylinder upright on top of the first layer of compost and secure the base with short stakes. 
  7. Sprinkle one-fourth cupful of dolomite lime and the same amount of a balanced garden fertilizer over the surface of the compost. 
  8. Add a 6 inch deep layer of leaves, followed by another layer of compost, plus lime and fertilizer. 
  9. Continue alternating layers of leaves and compost until the material on the inside of the wire reaches a minimum height of two and one-half feet.  The top layer should consist of leaves.  Shape the top layer so that it is concave, with the center being about 2 inches lower than the outside edge.
  10. Place a cupful of fertilizer on the surface of the top layer of leaves, in the center of the pile. Water from the top in order to thoroughly soak the pile.
  11. Set tomato plants in the ground on the outside, and within 2 inches of the base of the wire. 
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