In the Garden

Tomato Success Kit

Along with lots of love from the family, time spent with my mom, dad, father-in-law and sister, and a meal I didn’t have to cook (thanks, Hubberman!) Mother’s Day also brought a special treat my way…

A Tomato Success Kit from Gardeners Supply Company! If you have read through some of my other posts, you may remember I have a bit of an infatuation with the Gardeners Supply Company Catalog.

For those of you who might be considering this kit, I thought I would take you through the set up, step by step.

What’s in the kit:
The kit comes with the planter itself, of course, with a tray that fits neatly inside for self watering. It is also outfitted with a little watering drawer. Also included in the kit is a cage, container mix, coir potting mix bricks, tomato fertilizer, hardware for use on the cage, and instructions.

What you will also need:
You will definitely need a large container (or wheel barrow, or something) for mixing the soil. It will be too crowded to mix it in the container itself. Here’s what I used:

You’ll also need gardening gloves, a pitcher for pouring water, a hose or water source, and something sharp and pointy (drill, etc.)

Here’s why you’ll need something pointy. The first step is to remove the inside tray from the planter, locate these little cones in the container and drill holes into the top for drainage (if it will be used outside.)

Next, you’ll place the black tray back in the container and then install the inside piece for the watering drawer. One little tab goes over the tray, and one under on each side, as shown above.

The outside portion of the watering drawer is next. It easily slips into the opening on the front of the container.

This was the fun part – the coir potting mix! Open up your bricks and place them in the big container. Add the instructed amount of water and wait until the bricks absorb the water and expand.

Once the water has been absorbed it will look like this:

Time to break it up!

Next, it’s time for the container mix.

Mix, mix, mix!

The last component of the potting soil is the fertilizer. Add it, and mix it!

According to the instructions, this next step is important for the self watering functionality. Thoroughly press a small amount of the potting mix into the grooves of the tray in the container. This will ensure that the soil comes in contact with the water below and wicks it up to the roots.

Pour in the rest of the potting mix until the container is filled to about an inch from the top. I found the soil does settle a bit, so go ahead and be generous. I did have some left over for other containers. Bonus!

Next comes cage assembly. The cage came out of its wrapping partially assembled with some clips already in place. The instructions give a pretty good indication of where the rest of the clips should go. I will give one piece of advice here – the clips are a little tricky. They are strong, which is good, but that can make them a little hard to snap in place. Also, be careful as you slip them onto the cage. On several, I slipped them on above where they were going to be and slid them down. This resulted in the powder coating of the cage being marred. Not a big deal, but if you’re like me and don’t want even the slightest bit of damage to your new purchase, I would recommend placing these right where you want them to minimize damage to the cage. Here’s a photo of the placement I used:

Last but not least, you need to secure the cage to the container using the clasps provided.

That’s it! Also available are casters and a cage extension, though I do not have either yet. The instructions indicate that this planter can accommodate two large determinant tomato plants. Ever the optimist (or maybe I’m just naive) I placed two indeterminant plants in it. So I think I have a cage extension in my future.

I’m so excited to see my heirloom babies thrive in this planter. I’ll keep you updated on their progress!


19 thoughts on “Tomato Success Kit”

      1. Cool! That sounds very handy! Sure beats lugging the yard waste bin around – which it what I end up doing.

  1. We share a love for gardening and your blog is beautiful, so I’ve nominated you for the Beautiful Blogger Award! You can find more information about this award at Congratulations!!

  2. Oh I am sure your tomatoes will thrive in there! Mine are already starting to come out and I am so excited I check them several times a day. Once they get going they grow like weeds out here!

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