If you are looking for a simple, natural and inexpensive way to fertilize tomato plants naturally – this is it! And it works incredibly well for pepper plants too!
We are always up for trying a new experiment or two in the garden. Not only does it keep gardening fun and exciting, but it can lead to some great new techniques. And this year’s experiment is a great example of that!
We wanted to see if we could develop a simple method to provide a steady dose of long-lasting nutrients to our tomato and pepper plants.
So we made what we now jokingly call our homemade Power Tower Plant Rings.
Not only have they powered our plants to new heights, but they have made watering easier than ever! And to boot, they really keep a garden neat and tidy.
Slow And Steady Is The Name Of The Game…
Slow release fertilizers are really the name of the game when it comes to powering vegetable plants. A steady, low-level supply of nutrients is key to developing strong root structure and healthy stems and foliage.
When plants don’t have enough nutrients in the soil to draw from, they grow weak. And weak plants are a magnet for disease and pests. Not to mention, they lead to low or even non-existent yields.
On the other hand, if plants become overloaded with too many nutrients, they put all of that excess power into building new stems and foliage, and stop producing blooms for fruit.
It really is true that too much of a good thing can be a bad thing!
Powering Plants Naturally
For years, we have mulched around all of our vegetable plants with compost. We use a 2″ coating, placed 6″ inches in diameter around each plant. It helps keep weeds at bay, and the soil temperature regulated.
But more importantly, it serves as an excellent slow-release fertilizer to plants.
When it rains, or when the garden is watered, the nutrient-rich compost leaches its powerful blend of minerals to the plant’s roots below.
A few years back, when we discovered the incredible power of worm castings as a slow release fertilizer, we began to add castings to the mix as well. See : The Most Incredible Garden Fertilizer Ever
The combination has powered our plants beautifully. So this year, we tried putting the whole process together in the form of a “Power Tower” Ring around each plant.
And has it ever worked! Product Link : Worm Castings
Putting It All Together – Creating A Power Tower Of Nutrients To Fertilize Tomato Plants
For our trial plant rings this year, we used 6″ wide slotted drain tile cut into 8″ long pieces. Around each plant, we buried the tile 2″ into the soil to keep it in place.
Next, we filled the ring to the top with a mix of compost and 1/2 cup of worm castings. It’s like building a personal tower of nutrients right around each plant.
The rings are incredibly easy to install. You can place them over the plant when transplanting, or cut the tile and slip around the plants after they are in.
We love it because it keep the garden neat and clean, and it makes watering an absolute breeze.
You can water directly into the ring, which really helps to cut down on evaporation and water run-off.
The absorbing nature of the compost and castings keeps holds the water and slowly releases it into the soil below, right where it is needed most at the root zone.
As the mix decomposes throughout the summer, you can add fresh compost and castings to the top to keep the mix fresh.
When the season ends, we will simply lift up the rings and spread out the remaining compost. It will make a perfect medium to plant our cover crop!
We like it so much, we may have to make a few homemade wooden rings to spruce up the look of the Power Tower even more!
Happy Gardening! Jim and Mary.
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