Worm Inn Tomato Garden-08-13-10

Worm Inn Tomato Garden
Hideous back-drops aside, it seems that this hanging tomato plant has done just fine.

As promised, today I want to chat a bit about my hanging (vermi) tomato gardens. Let’s start with a recap – back in July, when I was still trying to find “homes” for the last of my 30 + Tomatoberry plants, I decided it would be fun to try out some hanging vermi-tomato gardens. The first system I set up was a regular hanging tomato planter, while the other was a kooky system created with an old Camo Worm Inn (see “Worm Inn Tomato Garden?“). In both cases (especially the Worm Inn system) the plants had been sitting in small pots for too long, and were starting to show signs of stress – so, I wasn’t really sure what to expect.

Both plants seemed to bounce back quite nicely from initial declines (you try hanging by your feet for awhile and see how you like it! haha), and looked as though they might do well over the long haul. Since then, the Worm Inn plant has definitely emerged as the “winner” of the two, however, still looking good and continuing to grow.

Looks like we may yet get a decent crop from the Worm Inn garden

The plant in the smaller system basically reached a certain size (fairly small) and started gradually going downhill from there. It has produced some ripe fruit already, but all in all, the performance of this plant has probably been worse than even the mostly sickly of the bucket plants.

This hanging tomato planter hasn’t done so well!

Again (as with the bucket systems), I can’t say that this is TOO surprising. There is really no comparison between the Worm Inn and the small plastic planter as far as promoting good root health goes! The Worm Inn holds much more material, and is also a lot more “breathable” than the other container.

There seems to be at least some sort of worm population in both of these systems (worms actually seem to be doing very well in the Worm Inn), so I’ll be keen to take a closer look once the plants are finished (should be very soon for the plastic system).

Next year I will definitely set up both of these hanging planters again, but I will more than likely try a different variety of tomatoes, and will set up the normal planter the way it was intended. I will also make sure to start with smaller, healthier plants!

I’ll definitely provide at least one more update (perhaps a final wrap-up) for the Worm Inn garden – likely sometime next month.

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    • LARRY D.
    • August 13, 2010

    I think i’ll scrap my 5 gallon bucket hanging idea.
    What’s funny is that camo worm inn.Where i live”good ol’ boys” spend thousands jacking regular two wheel drive trucks up with monster tires.And a car would have more luck driving through the woods.But i always think one day i will run across a camo wrapped monster truck with a camo worm inn hanging off the rear bumper.And i would probably not have my camera.And you’d hear”Kids,come eat your green fried ‘maters before your breakfast gets cold!”

    • Anna
    • August 13, 2010

    Bentley, I’m really interested in these results and am trying to tease them out in my head. How did you handle the watering of the tomato worm inn? Do you think moisture levels impacted the results of this? Also, are there other plants growing on top of the potted tomato that might have impacted nutrient levels?

    • Bentley
    • August 13, 2010

    “But i always think one day i will run across a camo wrapped monster truck with a camo worm inn hanging off the rear bumper”

    Thanks for the hilarious visual, LARRY!
    ANNA – Both systems were basically watered in a similar manner, simply having water pouring in periodically. What I found fascinating though was the fact that both of them always seemed to start draining out the bottom almost instantly – yet neither of them seemed to dry out the way my regular bucket systems did (the plants never really looked wilted – whereas if I didn’t water my buckets at least once a day during sunny weather, the plants would definitely start looking pretty thirsty!). That being said, I supposed that moisture differences could have easily had an impact – I have little doubt that the Worm Inn retained more simply due to the volume of material it holds. Then again, evaporation from the Worm Inn would have been far greater due to the increased surface area at the top and the greater “breathability”

    There are no other plants growing in either system. The vegetation you are seeing in the background is part of my laundry line bean gardens

    • Paul from Winnipeg
    • August 14, 2010

    Another wow! The tomato in the Worm Inn looks great, and what a difference from the other upside down system.

    I had a question for you about your beans. I planted the same ones I think (they look the same). Mine were called Scarlet Runners. I find they have a certain ‘velcro’ quality. How do you prepare them? The insides seem tasty enough, once you get past the fuzz. They look awesome with the red flowers all over the corn, fences, and anything else they can climb.

    • Paul from Winnipeg
    • August 14, 2010

    Oh, yeah, forgot to mention that Monarch butterflies really like the flowers too. They’ve been visiting my garden regularly.

    • Bentley
    • August 16, 2010

    Hi Paul,
    I am indeed growing scarlet runners as well. I agree re: the fuzzy coating – kinda takes away from the enjoyment of these beans. I don’t find it nearly as noticeable once they are cooked though so you may simply want to try them out (steamed or in a stir fry etc).
    I haven’t seen too many Monarchs around the flowers but hummingbirds sure seem to like them!

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