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Tomato gardening in containers - page 3.

Don't forget plenty of support for the vines.

    We had a minor disaster over the Fourth of July Holiday. It was something that probably would have been prevented if I'd stuck to my original game plan and staked the plants properly. I've always staked tomato plants before so I don't know why I thought growing them in buckets would be any different. It's not any different. The wire cages I put around each tomato plant when I first planted them haven't been as effective this year as they were in the two previous years I used them. I haven't been able to anchor them in the buckets as firmly as I could in a regular garden. Those cages are made of pretty stiff wire and if you can get them stuck in dense enough soil they provide great support. Stick them in loose packed potting soil and they'll tip right over. That's what happened. An entire tomato plant tipped over. Not only did it tip over, it made a tangled mess out of two or three others. I spent an hour tying cages together and trying to extricate tomato vines from each other without breaking them. They break very easily with a loud, gut wrenching "snap". One plant is probably gone for good and four or five vines (some with new tomatoes on them) have broken.

I finally had to build a wood frame support for my bucket tomatoes.     At right is the wooden frame I had to build to support all of the my drooping tomato vines. I waited a few days after the collapse before doing it to try to determine exactly which vines had died. To my utter amazement, all of them have survived and which had survived, this in spite of five or six of them actually snapping in half. The only thing I can conclude from all of this is that the plant's nutrient system must still be functioning in those broken vines, something akin to a human being breaking their back but not their spinal cord.

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