DIY Gear For Tomato Plants

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Here are a few DIY projects to help get the most yield from your tomato plants, a couple have been featured previously on Tipnut and moved here for better organization. There are just a few goodies so far but this is the place I’ll be adding new goodies as I come across them, enjoy!

How to Grow Them Upside Down: You’ve likely heard about this growing technique, I think this is the webmaster that first started sharing the how-to info (he also offers a forum to ask for advice along with his free tutorial).

You can turn 5 gallon buckets with lids, dirt and coffee filters into DIY upside down planter setups. On the cheap! You’ll also find a few tips for moving the plant indoors once Fall comes. Growing tomatoes upside down supposedly helps provide more air circulation as well as avoid ground bugs. Neat trick! First featured on Tipnut in 2007 and moved here for better organization.

The EarthTainer: This is a self-watering system that employs a bottom up, automated watering approach. Water is stored in the lower reservoir and is wicked up into the soil to meet the roots of the plant. The plant achieves optimal growth and productivity since it has a constant supply of water from the reservoir (while it consumes 75% less water than is used in regular gardening).

This is an updated design (as of March, 2011) featuring simplified construction and a new removable/folding cage system. Supplies include two 31 gallon Rugged Tote containers, an aquatic plant basket and PVC pipe. Free pdf project download available.

DIY Cages: These are made with concrete mesh clipped and bent into shape (can be a bit tricky to handle since the wire is very strong). You’ll need a small pair of bolt cutters, a large pair of slip-joint pliers and a screwdriver type nut-driver. The stiffer the wire you get, the harder it is to bend (though it is stronger).

Author finds that he can fit 16 to 24 (or more, though crowded) tomato plants on a 12′ x 16′ plot using this ‘vertical’ growing method. The cages also work for cukes and pole beans. Previously featured on Tipnut and moved here for better organization.

Folding Cages: Here’s a design for tall, sturdy wooden tomato cages that fold just like a stepladder for neat and easy storage. Add a few rungs and they can also be used for cucumbers or similar vegetables, or you can add strings and use them for peas or pole beans.

To make these, you’ll need: Six 1-by-3-inch wooden strips measuring 8 feet long; A 2-by-4-inch piece of scrap board measuring 8 inches long, for the top section that will serve as the pivot point where the two “ladders” hinge; Two 3-inch deck screws and about 30 1 1/2-inch galvanized deck screws.

Ladder Cages: Keep plants well behaved with these ladderlike cages constructed from 1×2 boards (cedar or redwood). Advises digging them 6″ to 12″ into the soil to prevent them from toppling over in strong winds.

Victorian Style Cage: Support sprawling branches and heavy fruit with this elegant wood-and-wire tomato cage. Tutorial includes diagrams, assembly directions and finishing tips. To secure in place, galvanized eavestrough spikes are driven into the ground beside the corner posts then attached to the cage with nylon cable ties.

Upside Down Planter (How-To): This one is nice because you can grow flowers and herbs in the container at top.

Drainage Pipe Tip: Here’s a clever way to ensure water reaches down to the roots which results in monster-sized plants! The idea is simple: purchase drainage pipe (PVC pipe with 1/2″ holes) and cut down to size. Dig the pipe pieces into the ground on either side of the plants. See site for all the details. You’ll find more garden irrigation ideas on this page.

T-Shirt Pots: Made with an old cotton t-shirt, garden fencing and filled with soil and compost.

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