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2005 - Volume #29, Issue #2, Page #30
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Raised Heated Tomato Bed

When "Tomato Man Joe" of Williamsburg, Ohio û also known as Joe Leihgeber - plants his tomato plants, he gets started early. "I start my seeds in the greenhouse March 15th and by April 15th, the plants are ready to transplant," he says.

He then moves the plants into a homemade heated tomato bed he set up on top of a pea gravel base.

The bed frame consists of a 3 by 16-ft. base made from 2 by 8's, with 2 by 4 cross pieces underneath to keep it from sinking downward.

There are 6-ft. long 2 by 4 uprights at either end and at the middle with boards on top to hold everything together.

Inside the base frame, Leihgeber laid down 2 pieces of 3 in. dia. plastic pipe that run the length of the bed and are joined by elbows at the end, forming a big loop. Then he put an upright fill pipe at one end and a drain hole at the other. "Every night I pour hot water in the pipes and leave it in all night. Then, the next morning, I drain the water out and refill it with hot water again. I do this till the weather warms up. This helps them get off to a healthy start," he says.

The bed is filled with a mix of compost and dirt and wood crossbars are attached around the outside for the tomatoes to grow on.
He wraps the whole bed with plastic if the weather gets bad.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Joe Leihgeber, 1815 Bardwell West, Williamsburg, Ohio 45176 (ph 937 444-4835; email: Josephql2@aol.com).
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2005 - Volume #29, Issue #2