How To Grow A Giant Tomato
It is relatively easy to grow productive, nutritious, tomatoes in a normal garden setting. But to grow a 15 to 20 foot tall tomato plant with hundreds and even thousands of tomatoes requires a more advanced system.
- Prepare the soil on a plot of good ground approximately 12ft by 12ft (tomato roots will grow 6ft away from the tomato plant in all directions if unencumbered). Try to select a place not too close to trees. Tree roots will grow in to your garden and steal nutrients. Spread 20 lbs. of Tomato Secret® tomato food fertilizer over the entire area and till in 12 inches. Dig a hole 1ft x 1ft x 1ft deep in the center of your plot. Mix 1 cup of Tomato Secret® and 1 package of 3-2-1 planting tabs and work into the dirt you removed. Put the mixed soil back into the hole.
- You are now ready to plant (should be just before the last predicted frost
date). In southern Idaho I plant the first of May and protect the plant with a Wall of Water™ or similar weather protection. If you want a large plant be sure to use a non-determinant variety. I like Sweet 100 for cherry tomatoes or Early Girl for medium-sized fruit but any non-determinant variety will work. Your plant should be 6 to 8 weeks of age and actively growing. After setting the plant in the ground apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of Chicken Soup for the Soil® around your plant.
- Install the support (tomato frame). It should be 12ft to 20ft tall and 30 inches in diameter. I installed a permanent frame 20ft tall made from 5/8” rebar set in concrete. If you use concrete contain it in plastic buckets so the concrete doesn’t contaminate your tomato soil.
- In a few weeks after the soil has warmed it is time to mulch your soil from the frame out (leave the area inside the frame open). Spread your mulch 4 to 6 inches deep to hold down weeds and retain moisture. I mulch with alfalfa hay in in my garden but chopped kudzo works well in the South (both alfalfa and kudzo contain a growth hormone, Triacontanol). If weeds grow through, simply add more mulch. Mix a pint of Chicken Soup for the Soil® in water and thoroughly dampen the mulch.
- Remove plant protection after all danger of frost. As your plant begins to grow rapidly it is time to train your plant to grow up the rebar support. Your plant will grow suckers (stem that grows from each leaf node). Allow one sucker to grow for every vertical support in your frame making sure they are at least 1 ft apart. Train each sucker (now a stem) to each vertical support. Pinch all other suckers off. Continue this until the end of the season giving your tomato support as it grows and you will have bushels of delicious, nutritious tomatoes!
Here are some additional pointers:
- Every 2 weeks spread one cup of Tomato Secret inside the frame and water it in with Chicken Soup for the Soil® solution.
- Use a soft material to tie up your plant. Cut an old nylon stocking into strips as a tie or use soft yarn, or commercial plant ties. The idea is to tie loosely so you don’t restrict stem growth.
- Spray your plants weekly with fermented Chicken Soup tea diluted 1 to 10 with water (see instructions on Dr. JimZ.com). This is a good fertilizer for tomatoes and 100% bioavailable to the plant!
- You will need a sturdy well-placed ladder to tie up your plant as the season progresses. Please be careful.
- Remember, you are feeding the micro life in the soil which in turn feeds the plant. Avoid commercial chemical fertilizers or pesticides that may do harm to the micro life.
- Variations of this method will also work so be creative and enjoy growing!