Growing tomatoes on the Oregon Coast calls for special measures. This clear 6 mil UV resistant film ‘tent’ shields the soil from the drenching rainfalls of April and May. To get ripe tomatoes by early August we must often plant in inclement weather.
Beating the late blight is the name of the game in a cool climate. We don’t use fungicides so since the mid to late 90’s we follow some strict rules…NO overhead watering, drip watering only. Trim lower branches a so no leaves touch the ground. Do not follow tomatoes with potatoes or vice-versa for at least one year (two years are better).
After gardening in the same location for over 35 years, we always add amenities to enhance the soil…cottonseed meal, kelp meal, bone meal, blood meal, dolomite, gypsum. This is in addition to trenching in deciduous leaves, crab shell, and coffee grounds in the fall.
The water grid is 1/2″ pvc with 1/8″ holes drilled in the proper spacing for tomatoes. It can be gravity fed from the tank that is powered by solar, delivering the water directly to the roots.
The tires are centered over the holes to add extra warmth into the evening.
Pinch off lower leaves, add a bit of fish meal, place in ground with lots of compost and plant deep.
Next add the hoops…these are 3/4″ pvc that fit loosely into 1 1/4″ pvc sockets. These hoops are strong and last for years (Schedule 40) Strengthen them with rope and 1×2’s.
Use a taut-line hitch to take up slack when rope stretches.
This is 6 mil, UV resistant film. 2x2x8’s are butted up to each other and 1×2’s are nailed to hold them together. Then the film is nailed to them using more 1×2’s. That forms the weight to hold the film over the hoops. If you “under roll” the film and tie it to the hoop with a slip knot it will stay up all day. At night or during a rain, we always close the tents to keep water off the leaves. Tomatoes need air circulation, so it’s important to open the tents whenever possible.Tent is closed protecting the plants from the cool night air. Since we like to eat tomatoes in the winter, we plant about 60 plants. This is the first tomato bed this season and holds 15 plants. The cages will be added later when after we’ve treated them with bleach water. Check out the cages here…added a month later.