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Old 20-03-2010, 05:29 PM posted to rec.gardens.edible
Billy[_10_] Billy[_10_] is offline
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First recorded activity by GardenBanter: Mar 2010
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Default Tomatoes - Ace versus Early Girl versus ?

In article ,
Dan Musicant wrote:

On Fri, 19 Mar 2010 15:13:26 -0700, Billy

ry Farming Early Girl is recommended.

The thing about dry farming them is this:

My soil is pretty heavily clay. I dig a trench that's about 2 feet deep,
around 30 inches wide and around 10 feet long. I stop digging when I
encounter standing water. Once I get that deep it's not only hard to get
more mud out, it just doesn't seem to make sense because I'm seeing a
pool of water. I don't know if it's at all feasible to get down to 3
feet depth. Never tried beyond about 2 feet.

So, although I hear that tomatoes are deep rooted and can send roots
down up to 6 feet, I figure mine aren't going to be able to get down
below 2 feet. They could maybe get into the clay soil, but there
wouldn't be much point, because my compost rich soil stops at about 2
feet. Thus, I figure their wouldn't be much point in their sending roots
down further just for water that wouldn't be wresting nutrients out of
sourrounding soil. If I don't water, the compost won't continue to
deteriorate and give up nutrients. My compost looks better this year,
but there's still a lot of potential nutrients that won't be available
to the roots unless there's a certain level of moisture in the soil.
This is why I water some, usually once a week, what I figure will get
all the soil wet down to the 2 foot level. That's been my thinking, far
from scientific.


Email: dmusicant at pacbell dot net

Dan, just a suggestion, but I would add 10 cu.ft. of sand to your bed,
plus whatever amendments, like 1 lb. rock phosphate, 5 lb of chicken
manure, 5 - 10% compost (2 - 5 cu.ft.). Mix it in well, and then Never
dig that bed again. In the future, add amendments to the surface
(manure, rock phosphate, wood ash) and keep the bed covered with mulch
(I prefer alfalfa because it gives me a twofer, mulch and nitrogen).

How common manures measure up
Manure Chicken Alfalfa Fish Emulsion
N 1.1 3 5
P .80 .1 1
K .50 2 1

For more see Http://

If you get out to the coast, take a garbage bag and grab some seaweed
too. Now is a good time to do tat because once the storms are over, the
beaches get cleaned for tourist season, and there won't be any seaweed
until next fall.

Keep the beds covered in mulch, except for when you want to warm the
soil around the plants. If there isn't a plant, keep the bed covered.
The reason for this is soil structure, which gets destroyed every time
it gets dug up. The insects and the microbes will do your tilling for
you as long as you keep them fed, and the bed will develope mycorrhiza
which will work symbiotically with your plants to feed them.

If you have weed problems, pull them or put newspaper over them and
cover with mulch.

When your plants are young, check the soil with your finger to see if
the top inch is dry, before you water. It sounds like once your tomatoes
are established, they will be able to find their own water (no salt
water intrusion I hope).

Once the tomatoes start flowering, hold off on any future nitrogen
additions as given food and water, the vines will prefer to vegetate
than set fruit, which will reduce your crop.

Once the vines are up off the ground, you may want to try some clear
plastic ground cover around them to warm the soil. I find it interferes
with watering, so I'm only going to cover half the soil around my
tomatoes. In your case, you may not need to water at all.

Good luck and have a happy equinox. Kinda looks like barbecue weather.
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the
merger of state and corporate power." - Benito Mussolini.