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If you have dirt gardens and want prize Tomatoes, do this!

By John Musser of AESL The picture above was taken over 32 years ago of my tomatoes with Grandpa Wilhelm's "monster Tomato secret!" It really wasn't a secret, but he was a quiet man and he just would never talk about how he grew record crops in his small backyard. Some of them were as big as grapefruits! I believe we need to "go back to nature's way." I was reading how the first giant pumpkin (400 pounds) worlds record was won by William Warnock in the early 1900's at the St. Louis world fair. It was produced by fertilizing it in deep layers of composted chicken and horse manure. He also produced a Squash weighing 365 pounds But go back further when our forefathers were taught by native Americans how to put fish in a deep hole! This is how we in America started our gardening journey and became one of the great food suppliers of the world, which is fast diminishing! We used organic fertilizers from the dung of animals, fish and composted food wastes. If times get really hard, you can use fish from a pond or lake. I think it's good to practice right now! Be careful in flying to the store to buy everything. My encouragement to you is to begin to learn how to make homemade fertilizers, their not only good, their better! You can't keep too much nature in a bag, for long! HOW TO GET STARTED! Its a little work in the beginning, but once you do it, your hard work will last all year and you will double or triple your normal yields. At our farm I no longer use this method as we use mostly raised beds over hard clay soil. I used this method in sandy soil with great results! I did not have time to make a tutorial out of this, many of you are experienced growers and I know you can put two and two together! This growing method is a combination of my grandfathers monster tomatoes secret and some of my own discoveries. He used to haul carts of tomatoes out from his garden. They would have enough to can for all year and give to most all family members in the area. All of this was in a medium sized city backyard. The picture of me using half of this formula that Grandpa Wilhelm taught me was over 25 years ago. I hauled in kiddy wagons full to the house. My first tomatoes were the envy of all our friends because I just followed his secret. Here it is with my additions! In fact you can grow many crops this way! Did a hole about three feet deep at least 15 inches width at the bottom. 1. Throw in three to four whole (at least six inches long) fish. Good way to get rid of Tilapia runts. Most any fish will do. You can use the end of your shovel to divide them up a little. Throw in some dirt before you do this!

2. Note-you want your fish on the bottom with plenty of soil on top so critters wont dig them up; dont put them near the top. 3. Take about two feet of COMPOSTED horse manure (you can substitute rabbit or cow) and slightly mix with your native soil and compost OR some coarse grade (two) vermiculite. 4. If you have collected egg shells (dozen will due) and some coffee grounds, mix them on TOP of the composted horse manure. Mix with your native soil and some compost or vermiculite. The vermiculite and compost will enable the roots to grow fast into the nutrient area! 5. If you have fish waste, pour it into this hole twice, just let it soak down. Make sure you have no air pockets, but dont pack it down too much either! 6. Take the tomato plant and plant it over it's root crown in a mix of your native soil, vermiculite/compost with some alfalfa pellets and unsulfured dry molasses. If you dont have dry molasses, just dilute liquid molasses with water! 7. Make a circle mound around the plant of dirt/clay to hold water like a basin filling the inside with protective mulch. This way you will water less. 8. Make a good strong stake or cage because once it gets its roots well established it is going to grow, big and tall, and you will be racing to keep it up all year!

9. Train the roots to go straight down into hole by watering well (after roots are established) then less and less, instead of daily developing shallow roots. Soak good, but less! 10. You can perfect this method. There is a lot of science to this method. 11. To top this off use compost tea....