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Wall-o-Waters

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Wall-o-Waters

Post  littlesapphire on 5/1/2015, 9:25 am

(Not sure exactly where to post this topic.  If it's in the wrong place, feel free to move it.)

I figured I'd post about my adventures with wall-o-waters since a few folks commented on my pictures of them.  This is my first year trying them, so it's a big experiment!

I ended up buying a cheaper knock-off brand called Gardeneer Season Starters, which were $11 for a 3-pack on amazon when I got them.  They're supposedly 18-inch wide circles, but I DID managed to get them to fit into a 12-inch square! 

I started my tomatoes four weeks earlier than usual, so 10 weeks before my last frost date.  Here's what I planted:

2 ox heart
1 hillbilly
1 better boy hybrid 
2 peacevine cherry
1 blondkofpchen
1  black cherry 

I accidentally overfed them as they were growing (giving them full strength fish emulsion instead of diluted), so they got big fast.



On April 19th, five weeks before my LFD, it was 70 degrees out and the MM was very warm, plus my tomatoes were huge.  I saw in the forecast that for a week and a half, it was going to be really cold.  My original plan was to plant them out at 4 weeks before LFD, but I knew if I waited until them, the MM would be too cold.  So I decided to jump in with both feet and planted them out 5 weeks before LFD.



I tied the tops of the walls up with nylon twine and waited for the cold to hit.

And it did!  It got down to the 40s, then the 30s, and then we had snow and three nights in a row of 20s and bitter cold winds.  The water inside the walls started to freeze.  I freaked out and put hot water bottles between the walls.  I wanted to put them inside, but they wouldn't fit.  




The next morning I went out with gallon jugs of hot water to set next to the walls, but they were fine.  They weren't frozen anymore, and the tomatoes inside were doing great.  I left all the water bottles out there until the cold front passed.

A couple days ago, I opened up the walls to let fresh air in and check out how the toms were doing.  They look good!  Actually, it looks like they've all grown at least an inch or two.  Can you believe that?






I accidentally ordered too many walls, so I'm going to try an experiment with starting my summer and winter squash under them this weekend (three weeks before LFD).  I'll keep you updated!

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Re: Wall-o-Waters

Post  boffer on 5/1/2015, 9:42 am

Thanks, Julie, great testimonial.

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Re: Wall-o-Waters

Post  Turan on 5/1/2015, 10:51 pm

I love mine too and I do start my squash in them

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Re: Wall-o-Waters

Post  quiltbea on 5/1/2015, 10:59 pm

Its nice to know they work.

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Re: Wall-o-Waters

Post  ralitaco on 5/14/2015, 9:48 pm

Those are very cool. Thanks for the lesson

I found this while looking them up on the inter-webs...
DIY Wall-o-Water She did mention that they are rather inexpensive to purchase so making your own may not be cost effective, but then again if you have 6mil plastic lying around...

she also had a DIY Water Blob. Not really sure how that would help in the garden, but still interesting.

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Re: Wall-o-Waters

Post  littlesapphire on 5/15/2015, 8:58 pm

Great find, Ralitaco!  I actually was looking for a DIY option before I bought the premade kind, but all I could find was pictures of someone putting milk cartons and pop bottles full of water around plants.  I'm sure that would work, just not in an SFG because of size limits. 

I think you might be right about it not being cost effective, but then again, if you're a pack rat like me and just happen to have the plastic lying around ,why not?  Actually, this is good for me because one of the ones I bought has a problem.  The part of the seam separating the tubes came apart in every tube on one side, and it wouldn't stand anymore.  So now I have an idea of how to fix it.  Thanks!

Just as an update; my tomatoes are doing great inside the walls.  I don't have any current pictures, but several of them are growing out of the top of the walls and have flowers even!  Whereas it's still a little more than a week before my last frost date.  The walls managed to protect all of the toms from a freeze warning we had the other day.

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Re: Wall-o-Waters

Post  littlesapphire on 12/29/2015, 9:55 am

Ugh, I just had a really nice long post made and then I accidentally closed the tab!  I hate that Mad  So I'm going to rewrite this a little less thoroughly.

I'm sorry I didn't update this more last year, but I guess when growing season hits, I'm too busy to keep posting here!  So here's an update of how things went last year with my wall-o-waters.

But before I talk about how it went in my garden, I want to say that the growing season here in NY was terrible.  Spring and summer were cold and very wet (rained every day), and everyone's tomato plants were covered in disease.  Then around July we got hot dry weather.  Not many people around here had good tomato harvests.

So onto the wall-o-waters.  The week before my LFD, we had several freeze watches (as in, temps 28 degrees or below), and even had one on our LFD.  By then, the toms were poking out above the tops of the walls, so I had to put buckets on top of them.



They survived just fine.  Some had some burning at the tips where they touched the bucket, but they recovered quickly.  My mom's tomatoes just has buckets over them (I had just planted them), and unfortunately they all died.  So the walls certainly came through.

Now if you remember, I planted my toms out in the walls 5 weeks before my LFD to get a head start on the season.  And that was certainly a winner.  I had tomato flowers on May 11, and my LFD is May 15.



So did I get early harvests?  Well, I keep really good records, so I know that I usually get my first tomatoes in about mid August (cherries first, then beef toms).  This is what my first tomatoes looked like this year:

Hillbilly: 7-29
Better Boy: 7-22
Ox Heart: 7-19
Blondkofpchen: 7-12
Chocolate Cherry: 7-7

And, the best one of all:

Peacevine: 6-30

So yes, I had tomatoes before the 4th of July!  Well, tomato. 

Did I get a bigger yield than last year?  Last year, I got nearly 30 pounds of tomatoes from eight plants.  This year?  I got a piddly 8 pounds.  But I have to remind you that it was a terrible growing season in my area, and shortly after removing the walls from my toms, they all started getting diseased.  They weren't diseased in the walls, though, so I really don't think that was a problem.  It was just a bad year, and there wasn't much I could do to stop it.  Except maybe grow in a sterile greenhouse.  Or maybe grow some tomatoes that are resistant to late and early blite (I may do that...).

With all that said, I am definitely going to use my walls again this year.  They were a really fun project, and they got my tomatoes going much sooner than they would have otherwise.  I'm going to bleach them first though, so I don't accidentally transfer any diseases to my new plants.

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Re: Wall-o-Waters

Post  yolos on 12/29/2015, 10:13 am

Thanks for the update.  I have been thinking about getting some Wall-O-Waters to get my plants producing before the diseases set in.  Maybe I will try a few this year.

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Re: Wall-o-Waters

Post  Scorpio Rising on 12/29/2015, 10:50 am

That is really encouraging, LS!  Do you start your own seeds?  Which was your favorite eating tomato?  And you can re-use the Walls, did they all survive to be re-used?  

I am thinking I will give these a try, too!  Love your bench, too

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Re: Wall-o-Waters

Post  littlesapphire on 12/29/2015, 11:10 am

Yolos, I think they're totally worth it, so I say go for it Smile

Scorpio, yes, I start my own seeds.  I started my toms I think four weeks earlier than usual so I could put them out in the walls early.  We actually used all the tomatoes as eating tomatoes, so if I had to say which one of those six was my favorite....  I'd say the peacevine was #1, and #2 is the ox heart.  However, I don't really know what kind of tomato the ox heart really is, I just call it that.  I found the tomato at the store in a bin of "heirloom tomatoes" and saved the seeds, lol.  Here's what it looks like




Someone once told me it looks like a Cuore Di Bue, and it does, but mine get to be well over 1 pound, whereas Territorial says the Cuore Di Bue only gets to be 1/2 pound.  Soooo....  I call it an ox heart and call it a day.  I'd be happy to send anyone seeds that wants it.  It's really sweet and mild, and really meaty.

(There I go a rambling again.)

Yes, you can reuse the walls.  I read a woman's blog who says she's been using her walls for 20 years!  I plan on bleaching mine though to get rid of any yuckies left behind.

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Re: Wall-o-Waters

Post  trolleydriver on 12/29/2015, 11:38 am

Oh No!!!  Not another thing I have to try! Wall of waters is a great idea for protecting those young plants. I checked on Amazon Canada and the "Wall  O Water" pack of 3 costs $29.95 Cdn. That's a bit expensive so I think in the land of the weak currency (and getting weaker every day) it will be cheaper to go the DIY route.

This is such a great forum with so many amazing ideas and things to try.

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Re: Wall-o-Waters

Post  littlesapphire on 12/29/2015, 11:42 am

@trolleydriver wrote:Oh No!!!  Not another thing I have to try!

Lol, I know what you mean! 

I actually used Gardeneer brand Season Starters http://www.amazon.com/Gardeneer-Dalen-Season-Starter-Protector/dp/B000NCYTK2/   Because they were a lot cheaper.

I just didn't think anyone would know what I was talking about if I called them that Smile

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Re: Wall-o-Waters

Post  trolleydriver on 12/29/2015, 11:52 am

This guy uses plastic bottles ...

http://forums.gardenweb.com/discussions/1998550/do-it-yourself-wall-o-water

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Re: Wall-o-Waters

Post  littlesapphire on 12/29/2015, 11:58 am

@trolleydriver wrote:This guy uses plastic bottles ...

http://forums.gardenweb.com/discussions/1998550/do-it-yourself-wall-o-water
I thought about doing that too.  I think it would work really well if you had the room to do it.  But with 12 inches to work with, I don't think bottles would cut it for a SFG.  Also, the walls are a lot taller than bottles, about 18 inches, and you can tie the tops closed in cold weather. 

Bottles would probably work great though if you want to start your squash early since you need to give squash m ore room anyway.  I used some extra walls around my squash last year and that worked great.

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Re: Wall-o-Waters

Post  Scorpio Rising on 12/29/2015, 3:54 pm

Julie--

I will take a few seeds from your oxheart and the peacevine (I don't have a lot of room)  Do they germinate well?  I only had 5 squares for tomatoes last year.  I might have a few more if I get in gear and do a 4X4.  I will PM you.

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Re: Wall-o-Waters

Post  littlesapphire on 12/29/2015, 7:37 pm

I'd love to send you some seeds, Scorpio.  I'll get them off tomorrow.  They germinate fairly well; the ox hearts take a little longer than the peacevines, but I think that's because the peacevine is a cherry and just grows faster.  If you want to read more about the peacevine, I bought it here:  http://www.highmowingseeds.com/organic-non-gmo-seeds-peacevine-tomato.html 

It's a dehybridized version of Sweet 100, which is cool because now I can save the seeds!

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Re: Wall-o-Waters

Post  Scorpio Rising on 12/29/2015, 9:35 pm

Awesome, Julie! I love Sweet 100s too. Actually, I bought the Sunsugar by mistake, it was mislabeled at the nursery. It was a trooper though, all summer into fall!

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Re: Wall-o-Waters

Post  Turan on 12/30/2015, 1:55 pm

I use my WoW year after year.  I never have bleached them, good idea that, so they get algae growing in the tubes.  I am not sure I have ever had any wear out, they die of me accidentaly sticking tomato cage legs through them.  A couple of punctures is survivable but at some point I get a new packet. You can order replacement sleeves from Planet Natural.  They work but I don't bother anymore.

Little Sapphire, Despite what Territorial says my Coure Di Bue grow to a pound and more.  I got my seeds from them.  They are a favorite tomato here.

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Re: Wall-o-Waters

Post  littlesapphire on 12/31/2015, 9:17 am

Turan, that's really interesting that your Coure Di Bue get big.  Maybe that is what I'm growing afterall.  Thanks for letting me know!

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Re: Wall-o-Waters

Post  Scorpio Rising on 12/31/2015, 5:57 pm

http://www.territorialseed.com/product/Cuore_Di_Bue_Tomato_Seed/403

Italian for oxheart

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Kozy Coats, Questions

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 4/19/2016, 8:11 am

I'm planning on using the red Kozy Coat version of Wall-O-Waters to plant my tomatoes early (Black Krim, Rutgers, Chadwick Cherry, Green Zebra, and Sweetie Cherry.) 
 - Did you have any problems with stability of the WOWs on MM? My MM seems very loose - it seems like it would be less supportive than regular garden soil. I'm a little worried about them falling over, especially with the wind we often get. 
- Also, any issues getting the tomatoes onto/into the trellis netting after getting nice and big inside the WOWs?
- And did you harden off your tomatoes at all before putting them out under the WOWs - or is the environment inside so... cozy... that they don't need transition time?

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Re: Wall-o-Waters

Post  littlesapphire on 4/19/2016, 1:39 pm

Cool!  I thought about getting the red ones, but they were a few dollars more and I'm totally cheap Smile  Let us know how they go.

The MM supported the WOWs just fine.  The hardest part was actually fitting them into a 12x12 square (this was only really a problem in my boxes that are 1x4 feet; the 4x4 feet boxes have more room for the WOWs to spread out a little).  It may smoosh the MM down some, but you can fluff it  back up when you take the WOWs off.  The weight of all that water makes the walls super stable against wind, especially if you tilt the top closed a little so it forms a teepee. 

I didn't have any issues supporting the toms once they came out of the WOWs.  They were about two feet tall when they came out which is still short enough that it doesn't need support.  You can get some branches and the growing tips wound around the trellis just fine, and failing that, you can tie it to the trellis with some soft ties.

I did not harden off my toms before putting them in the WOWs.  It's very cozy in there and they're perfectly protected.  I also didn't harden them off very much before taking the walls off.  I believe I gave them a little shade the first couple of days; just a piece of cardboard leaning against the trellis to make sure they didn't get a ton of direct sunlight.  I don't think they even needed that though. 

Hope that helps!  I need to get my walls out and get them cleaned because my WOW tomatoes get to go out in just a week and a half!  Woo!

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Re: Wall-o-Waters

Post  has55 on 4/19/2016, 5:21 pm

@ralitaco wrote:Those are very cool. Thanks for the lesson

I found this while looking them up on the inter-webs...
DIY Wall-o-Water She did mention that they are rather inexpensive to purchase so making your own may not be cost effective, but then again if you have 6mil plastic lying around...

she also had a DIY Water Blob. Not really sure how that would help in the garden, but still interesting.
those are fun articles. Thank you.

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Re: Wall-o-Waters

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 4/19/2016, 6:24 pm

Thanks for the quick reply, I'm stoked! bounce I've gone and put one out, seven to go -- but they'll need to wait until tomorrow. I think I'll be out of light too soon to finish, and I have pre-soaked mustard and radish seeds to sow before dark. My tomatoes are centered on a 2x2 block of space - they don't get all of it, closer to 18" - and basil plants go in between them.

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Re: Wall-o-Waters

Post  Turan on 4/19/2016, 6:55 pm

The basil loves growing in the WOW as well. Wink

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Re: Wall-o-Waters

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