mrt2945
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Preparing hole to plant tomatoes??

:D Many years ago I cut an article from a local newspaper in Gwinnett County, GA giving instructions on how to prepare a hole to plant tomatoes to produce really outstanding tomatoes. I tried it once and had really great results but wasn't really into gardening at that stage in my life.
You may guess by now what my next statement is. YES, I lost that article.
I will give what info I remember and hopefully someone has heard of that procedure.
As I remember, the hole was dug two feet by two feet by eigheen inches deep. The dirt was layered back in alternating with fertilizer, lime(I think), nemagon((spelling?)to kill the nematodes, of course and not sure what if anything else.(maybe some compost, or peat moss, not sure.)
The finished hole was mounded and allowed to sit for two weeks before planting.

Please reply if you have knowledge of this procedure.
Thanks
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rainbowgardener
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Jeez... hopefully not nemagon. That stuff (1,2-Dibromo-3-chloropropane, (dibromochloropropane) better known as DBCP, is the active ingredient in the nematicide Nemagon, also known as Fumazone) was banned in 1979 due to causing cancer, male sterility and a number of other problems, in humans exposed to it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1,2-Dibromo-3-chloropropane

https://news.softpedia.com/news/Nemagon-The-Pesticide-That-Kills-the-People-54762.shtml

Most nematodes are beneficial anyway.

And I don't know about the lime. Tomatoes like soil from pH 5.8 - 7, that is somewhat acid to neutral. Unless your soil is significantly acid (noticeably less than 5.8 ) you would not want to add lime. Test first!

Best thing for tomatoes is just good rich organic soil, lots of compost!
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TZ -OH6
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a popular hole method I know about uses 1/2 bag composted peat humus, 1/4 bag composted cow manure with a handful each of Epsom salt, Bonemeal and Espoma Tomato Tone organic fertilizer. Mix all this in a hole the size you describe and also mix it into the soil around the edges of the hole. Then scatter another handful of Epsoma fertilizer on top after you stick the plant in. Space tomatoes 4 ft appart.

Composted peat humus NOT peat moss. I assume that this is going to cost you $5 to $10 a hole because of the volume of ammendments used. The guy who developed this does it in raised beds so the surrounding soil has got to be pretty good from years of making these holes. Beware, if you have poorly draining clay soil no matter what you add to the hole you will have mini bathtubs of organic goop when it rains hard.

You could probably substitue mushroom compost, or any quality bagged compost for the composted peat humus.

A comment on peat: I have a potting mix that contains sedge peat. Sedge is a type of wetlands grass (also a weed in your lawn). Peat moss is Sphagnum moss, also from wetlands (peat bogs = very acidic), so it is the long term decay under wet conditions that make the stuff peat.

tedln
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I simply make sure the soil I am planting in is rich with organic material. This year, I planted the pots with the seedlings in them to the same depth I would eventually plant the seedling. By doing the pre-planting, I am acclimating the tomato roots to the soil temps and I am creating an impression in the soil in the same shape as the the seedling plug later. After a couple of days, I wet the soil around the pots, trying to not wet the soil in the pots. My hope is the soil in the pots has shrunk a little letting the seedling and soil release from the pot when I turn it upside down. I unpot the tomato and place the plug in the hole it came from. If the plant is tall, I pile some extra soil around the stem. The last thing I do is soak the the new plug and the soil around it with water. My hope is to cause the soil plug to dissolve or fall apart releasing the roots to grow into the new soil around it.

Ted
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Gary350
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My grandfather showed me how to plant tomatoes. Dig a hole about the size of a 8" flower pot. Throw in a hand full of 15/15/15 fertilizer and 1/2 hand full of ammonium nitrate, 1/2 hand full of lime in each hole. Fill the hole with water. Go set under a shade tree and drink a glass if ice tea. When all the water has gone down in all the holes then it is time to plant tomatoes. Put in a few inches of soil. Insert the plant and fill the hole so about 1/2 the plant is under the soil. Give the plant a large drink of water. Put the tomato cage over each plant. Thats all there is too it. In a few weeks the roots will grow down into the fertilizer area and the plant will take off growing at double speed. Tomatoes will be ready to pick in 65 days.

I till in a lot of organic material into the whole garden. I like to add compost to each hole if I have it.

tedln
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I used to apply the ammonium nitrates and the other commercial fertilizers. I have slowly shifted over to the use of organics such as compost. I have to admit I got great growth and great production with the fertilizer. I have been trying the last few years to concentrate on quality more than quantity. I have eliminated commercial fertilizers and am slowly learning how to minimize moisture in order to concentrate flavors. I am also attempting to switch from designer hybrid varieties to premium heirloom varieties in order to maximize flavor. I hate to do it, but I think my goal is to stop growing my beloved Better Boy tomatoes. They have served me well and never failed to provide tomatoes. I simply want the best tasting tomatoes I can grow.

Ted
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Lupinus
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tedln wrote:I hate to do it, but I think my goal is to stop growing my beloved Better Boy tomatoes. They have served me well and never failed to provide tomatoes. I simply want the best tasting tomatoes I can grow.

Ted
Why not do multiple varieties? Stick with your good producers for reliability and heirlooms for the absolute best taste? That's my current game plan with one early girl, better boy, and german johnson.
By cultivating the beautiful we scatter the seeds of heavenly flowers, as by doing good we cultivate those that belong to humanity.
Robert A. Heinlein

tedln
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Lupinus wrote:
tedln wrote:I hate to do it, but I think my goal is to stop growing my beloved Better Boy tomatoes. They have served me well and never failed to provide tomatoes. I simply want the best tasting tomatoes I can grow.

Ted
Why not do multiple varieties? Stick with your good producers for reliability and heirlooms for the absolute best taste? That's my current game plan with one early girl, better boy, and german johnson.
I will be growing my two standby hybrid varieties of Better Boy and Juliet this year. That will be fifteen plants of the Better Boys and six of the Juliet.

I will be growing at least seven varieties of Heirloom with at least three plants of each. The Prudens Purple will have five plants growing. I plan on eliminating five varieties, possibly only four; of the heirlooms next year and replacing them with different varieties. Hopefully in the third year, I can eliminate my insurance policy standby hybrids and plant only heirloom. It really depends on a lot of factors with productivity and taste being at the top of the list. After five years, I hope to be growing only the three heirlooms that work best for me. The truth is, I am not a gardening purist. If the Better Boys and Juliets outperform the heirlooms, they will stay in my garden. I simply want to grow the best tomatoes. I'm not sure our daughter will allow me to eliminate her Juliets.

Ted
I simply enjoy gardening!

TZ -OH6
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I really don't get the whole "hole" idea.

Because tomato roots go out five feet or more in all directions that means the entire garden is going to be a network of tomato roots, so I want the entire garden to be equally nutritious for the plants. Only the distal few inches of a root is able to pick up nutrients so they will be growing away from the hole over time, and alot of the nutrients suggested to put in a hole (esp nitrogen) will promote BER so it is better to apply them later.

With several dozen plants to put in I don't have time to spend on individual holes, and my body gets upset with me stooping over, so I make a quick hole just big enough to slip the plant in and then use the hose to water it in a bit. The only extra fertilizer the little plant gets is high phosphous liquid fertilizer to soak the pot to allow me unpot it easier.

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Gary350
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This year my goal is best flavor too. Today I bought 7 different varieties of tomatoes 4 plants to a tray. This year I inspected the labels to make sure someone had not swapped the labels. I want to make sure I am buying what the label says I am buying. I always go the extra mile when planting my tomatoes. I dig a hole the size of an 8" flower pot. Throw in some fertilizer, lime, compost and plant the tomato plant deep so half the stem is covered in dirt. In about 2 weeks the plants turn really green and start growing at triple speed. An it produces 3 times more tomatoes and much larger tomatoes than just poking the plants in the ground.

Weather man says a big storm is headed our way it should be here at 3 am tonight. I am not going to plant any plants in the garden for another 13 days.

tedln
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Gary, I've grown that way a lot also. My philosophy was to get the plants as large as possible, as quickly as possible. I started watching different plants as they were growing and realized the plants with heavy fertilizer were growing taller, but had no more blooms or fruit than the plants that were not as heavily fertilized. The tall plants simply were growing longer stems between bloom sets. My mind set has become minimize height and maximize blooms. I also found the shorter plants were more sturdy and seemed more resistant to disease. The shorter plants also eventually reached the same height as the faster growing plants. It just seems to take them longer to get there.

Ted
I simply enjoy gardening!

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