This year I'll be trying an experiment in a portion of my tomato garden.
Instead of double digging the whole patch, I'll simply use a post hole
digger and dig down about two and a half foot deep where each plant will
be placed. When I replace the soil, it will be nice and lose to this
depth. This should allow the roots to deep! I will also give dry
farming a try using Early Girl tomatoes which I understand lend
themselves very well to this practice. Dry farming is said to cut size
and yield a bit but gives the fruit a tremendous flavor as well as
texture. I will use 6 -8 plants for this experiment. Has anyone else
ever practiced or had any experience with dry farming? Any advice will
indeed be helpful :)
Rich from PA
Digging with a hand powered post hole digger to that depth is a lot of
hard labor, especially if you hit large rocks or clay... and I see no
point to your experiment, tomato plant roots need to be encouraged to
grow laterally, not deeply. If you feel you need better soil and want
a little extra depth after normal tilling plant in a built up mound of
extra rich top soil. But tilling to about 12" is more than adequate
for a vegetable garden, and certainly for tomatoes which are not a
root crop. And since roots take the path of least resistance I think
all you'll accomplish by planting tomatoes in a deep narrow hole is
have rootbound plants.
Hi Brooklyn :) The post hole digger I have will dig to that depth in
less than 5 minutes a hole. It also digs an 8" diameter hole. Most of
the roots on plants I pulled from past seasons ever exceeded more than
about 6" so hopefully they won't become root bound. The reason I call
it an experiment is because this test will only be done on a very small
portion of my plants as I stated, 6-8 plants. My research also shows
that dry farming lends itself extremely well to clay soil which I have.
The clay holds moisture and by withholding some water, you force the
roots to go deeper and also your not washing nutrients from the soil
near as much as normal watering.
On Apr 6, 8:40 am, White email@example.com (EVP MAN) wrote:
Looking for more comments on "dry farming". Water is so ****ing
expensive here (So Cal coastal) that if I can save a little...! (Of
course I do not water heavily after blooms appear; interested in how
the "dry farming" concept would apply to my area (which is basically a
desert, turned into a megalopolis (sp?) by imported water.
When I lived in Central Texas, I had the best gardens ever once I
figured out drip irrigation. It did take a couple of years for me to
get smart.) I bought commercial farm "drip tape" with built-in emitters
and i built a manifold for it using rigid plastic conduit (because it is
UV stabilized and white PVC pipe is not.) It used very little water,
and the water did not get on the foliage. I was even able to grow beets
and broccoli and other cool-season crops in the 100+ degree summers.
Now I live in Minnesota and have a much smaller garden, and I haven't
figured out how to deal with the short growing seasons, marauding
rabbits, and herbicide drift from the neighbors. Hot dry weather and
bermudagrass were easy. ;-)
Hi Bob :) They figure the average veggie garden needs an inch or so of
water each week. 2 1/2 gallons of water per plant is roughly that much
needed inch. I put a rain gauge in my garden which helps me calculate
how much water to give my plants each week. Last season I used soaker
hoses but not again! My crop was great but since I'm on a water meter,
my water and sewer bill was very high. This season I will be using an
empty gallon milk jug and watering each plant by hand. Since I'm
interested in experimenting with dry farming, this will give me much
better control as to how much water each plant will get. The section of
garden I plan to dry farm, will get less than 1/2 inch of water a week
after the fruit sets. But then again mother nature also plays a big
role in this. We could get a storm that dumps a huge amount of water on
the garden in a very short period of time!
I think this might be the same brand drip hose that I used (but probably
not the same company I ordered from)
I ran about eight or ten 100' lengths in parallel all at the same time
easily from a water faucet -- and that's with a 15 psi pressure
regulator followed by a valve to adjust the flow rate and give a working
pressure of about 8 psi. It uses much less water than soaker hoses, and
it delivers about the same amount of water from one end of the row to
the other. Soaker hoses dump most of the water at the head end of the
row, and the far end gets starved.
That rainfall seems rather on the high side of dry land farming, I would
expect that if you can save water for dry spells and mulch heavily in summer
you wouldn't have to take any special measures. My rainfall is not much
more than that (about 46" PA) and the district was used for dairying and I
can run very high stocking rates for horses. Why are you going to this
Hi David, Dry farming or withholding water is said to give you a tomato
with much better texture and superior flavor. It won't be any trouble
at all for me as it's only an experiment I'm going to try using 6-8
plants. The rest of my patch will be watered as normal :)
Dry farming is entirely new to me David but from what I understand, a
deep planting hole with lose soil forces the roots to go deep in search
of ground moisture. This is said to give a better root system for the
plant to absorb nutrients. I have also read that a clay or clay loam
soil lends itself better to dry farming than does a sandy soil. The
clay simply retains more moisture for a longer period of time. There
are some areas where chefs seek out dry farmed tomatoes because of the
taste. They also sell for a much higher price which in part is due to
the lower yield I would suspect.
And smaller size of the tomatoes. That's not a criticism. It's just a
way to concentrate flavor.
And he gave it for his opinion, that whoever could make two ears of
corn, or two blades of grass, to grow upon a spot of ground where only
one grew before, would deserve better of mankind, and do more essential
service to his country, than the whole race of politicians put together.
- Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in
I think this is a good idea. Tomatoes give off arial roots just above
the soil. If after planting the tomatoe plant and letting it establish,
you then fill in so that the arial roots are covered then this is said
to produce heavier crops
15" and very seasonal. Used to be you could tell when it was spring,
because the tumble weeds would be in bloom. Semi-arid is the descriptor.
Without desicating Ownes Valley (see:
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Owens_Valley> and the movie China Town),
and the Colorado River there would be a very much smaller Los Angeles.
Presently, sufficient water is being diverted from the Sacramento River
to degrade the environment so that people in simi-arid southern
California can grow lawns, fill swimming pools, and hose-off their
"The best fertilizer is the gardener's shadow." - Anon
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in
I sometimes grow tall spindly tomato seedlings (when I start them too
early and they outgrow my lights) and I just set them really deep --
basically in a 5 or 6 inch post hole deep enough that only to top 2
sets of leaves are above ground. It works pretty well. The plants
root all along the submerged stem. Putting the plants sideways in a
trench (so the roots aren't so deep) might work better.
Rich, Lets us know how your experiment goes.
You maybe interested in some other areas of taste improvement that are
getting more attention lately.
I usually don't respond to Don Rickles aka Brooklyn's insults but YES,
I do have a small 500 sq. ft. garden in the back yard of the home I own
which by the way is paid for and situated in a beautiful college town of
central PA. As far as web tv goes, I'm on the msn one plan. Web tv is
in my den and a $2600 Gateway computer resides in my family room :) Now
just a few simple questions for you if you care to answer. I'll keep
them very basic so even you might understand them!
1. How old are you?
2. Do you rent or own?
3. How large is your garden or do you plant in containers like I used to
do when I was somewhat poor?
Don't get me wrong. There is certainly nothing wrong with being poor
BUT it's sure damn unhandy........LOL
4. Are you any relation to Don Rickles OR are you just a Don Rickles
5. Is our current US president your idol?
If so, WHY???
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