My Experience With the Keyhole Method for My Tomatoes.

Keyhole Gardening Instructions for Tomato Plants.
Installing the bucket - Using a 5 gallon bucket, drill 2 levels of holes. 1” from the bottom of the bucket, drill 10 holes evenly around the bucket and repeat this step about 6 “ up from the bottom holes. Dig a hole for the bucket in the ground. The bucket should fit all the way into the hole leaving it to stick up about 2” above the ground. I put a mixture of organic compost, blood meal, bone meal and Epsom salt in the bucket so that the nutrients leach out to the roots over time when you add water when you are done. I always keep the buckets full of water. The water will leach out when the ground is dry.
. Placing the tomato plants around the bucket - I placed my plants about 2 feet out away from the bucket all the way around using a max of 5 plants/holes evenly spaced around the outside of the bucket. Again, that is 2 feet out from the bucket to allow space for you to pick tomatoes from the inside in necessary. An important factor to remember during this prep step is that the plants need room for air to move through the plants! You can add a couple plants per hole around the bucket but be sure that after the fencing is put up that you guide the plants around the fencing as they grow and spacing them away from each other to be sure that they get air moving through them.
Fencing around the bucket to support the plants – I measured the fencing in place after I dug the holes for the plants and installed the fencing using re-bar to hold the fence in place and put the fence inwards on the bucket side and the tomato plants will be on the outside of the fencing so you will be able to pick any on the inside of the fence. Then, I placed the plants in the ground and filled the buckets with water. The picture shows the opening that I have to walk inside. After the first blossoms appear, dissolve 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt to a gallon of water into a sprayer and spray all of the leaves once a month. OR you can use 1 tablespoon per gallon and spray twice a month. Important tomato plant tips! Don’t ever water the leaves of the plants so the Epsom salt doesn’t get washed off. Keep the buckets filled with water and the plants will draw water as needed.
These are the 6 different varieties I had last year. Enjoy!

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  • Bobbie Hobbs Bobbie Hobbs on Jun 02, 2016
    Bonnie Lee and Amanda Courtney Farner. Per the request of Hometalk, I created a post for it. Here are the directions for you! Happy Gardening!

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