Using Veseys Revolutionary Tomato Planter
HOW TO ASSEMBLE THE PLANTER
Decide Where to Hang it. The distance from the ground to the bottom of the planter when it’s hanging should be no less than 4 feet. In most cases, this will provide enough room for the plant to grow to full size without touching the ground. We recommend hanging the Revolution Planter from a wall bracket, heavy-duty eye hook, planter stand or post hanger. Be sure the plant will be in a location where it receives at least six hours of bright sun each day. When your tomato plant reaches maturity, the Revolution Planter may weigh as much as 50 lbs. The mounting hardware and mounting surface must be able to bear a 50-lb load. Check with a local hardware store to ensure you select the appropriate hardware. If using a stand, it should be located outdoors on a solid, level surface such as a patio, deck or balcony.
Insert the Liner in the Planter Cage. Match up the button holes in the upper rim of the liner with the bar braces on the cage.
Attach Hanging Chain to Planter Cage. Connect two Hanging Chains to the Planter Cage by passing the Chain hook through the Liner and the bar braces of the cage as shown. Leave the third Chain unattached until your tomato has been planted.
HOW TO PLANT
Prepare Planting Mix. The Planter holds approximately 17 quarts of planting mix. We recommend a high quality soilless potting mix. Do not use ordinary garden soil, sand or large amounts of compost. In a separate container, pre-moisten the mix thoroughly before filling the planter. The mix should be as moist as a well-wrung sponge.
Add Fertilizer to the Mix. We recommend adding a slow release, granular fertilizer to the pre-moistened planting mix. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the proper application rate. If using our organic Tomato or All-Purpose Fertilizer, use 1 cup, mixing it thoroughly into the soil. Set the soil mix aside. Important : Do not use water-soluble fertilizers with the Revolution Planter as they will clog the Capillary Strip.
Planting. Select one sturdy seedling. For tomatoes, we recommend using a determinate (bush) variety. Lay the Planter Cage on its side. Fill one side of the planter with pre-moistened soil until the soil is level with the opening in the bottom of the planter. Gently loosen some of the soil from around the seedling’s root ball. Reach inside the planter and feed the seedling (leaves first) out through the slit at the bottom. Protect the leaves with your fingers so they don’t tear. Keep the root ball and most of the stem inside, laying them on top of the planting mix. Tomato plants develop roots along their entire stem, so burying some of the stem in the planting mix will help the plant develop a stronger root system. Continue to fill the planter with the soil mix, gently pressing it into all the corners and around the roots to ensure there are no air pockets. When inverted, there should be approximately 4½ inches between the soil surface and the top rim of the Planter Cage.
Water Reservoir and Capillary Strip Hang the Planter by the two Hanging Chains that are already attached to the Cage. It should be hung low enough for you to see inside the planter. You may need a second person to help lift and keep it steady. Immerse one of the Capillary Strips in water until it is fully hydrated. Lay the Strip down on top of the soil, centering it. Place the Water Reservoir on top. The top of the Reservoir should be level with the top of the planter. If it is not level, remove the Reservoir and Capillary Strip and add (or remove) soil. Replace the Strip and Reservoir. Press the Reservoir down to ensure there is good contact between the Capillary Strip and the planting mix. Wrap the ends of the Capillary Strip up, over and down the inner sides of the Reservoir. NOTE: The ends of the Capillary Strip must stay inside the reservoir. If necessary, you can use a paper clip to keep the ends in place.
Hang the Planter. Attach the third Hanging Chain to the Planter Cage and hang the planter in its permanent location
TROUBLESHOOTING AND MAINTENANCE
- Water fails to migrate from the Water Reservoir to the soil within a 24-hour period. Solution: The Capillary Strip must be wet before it can absorb water from the Reservoir and transfer it to the soil. Saturate the Strip and repeat Step 4 under “How to Plant,” making sure the Strip is in good contact with the soil below the Water Reservoir. Fill the Reservoir. If this does not work, then replace the Capillary Strip.
- The Water Reservoir does not empty, or only empties part way. Solution: If the Water Reservoir does not empty, follow the solution to #1 above. If the Water Reservoir only empties part way, your Capillary Strip may be tired and should be replaced. Over time, the Capillary Strip’s capacity to absorb and move water from reservoir to the soil is greatly reduced. This is why we recommend replacing the Strip every four weeks.
- There is water dripping out of the bottom of the Planter Liner. Solution: The planter is receiving too much water. The Capillary Strip will transfer water from the Reservoir to the soil until there is no more water remaining in the Reservoir. If the Water Reservoir is re-filled every time it is empty, or if it rains frequently, the Revolution Planter can receive too much water. Use the Moisture Indicator to gauge how moist the soil is. You can also feel the soil. It should be moist, but not saturated with water. If you are experiencing a lot of rain, you can simply lift the ends of the Capillary Strip out of reservoir until the soil dries out and the Moisture Indicator turns to a mottled green and white. Once the soil has returned to a proper moisture level, you can add water to the Reservoir (if needed) and replace the ends of the Capillary Strip in the Reservoir.
- My tomato plant is wilted! Solution: A plant can wilt due to under watering, over watering, or environmental shock. Start by checking for dryness in the soil. Is the Moisture Indicator mostly white, showing that the soil is dry? If so, fill the Water Reservoir. If the Water Reservoir is empty, add water. If the Reservoir is full already, then follow the troubleshooting instructions: “The Water Reservoir does not empty, or only empties part way.” Plants can also wilt if they are receiving too much water. If the Moisture Indicator is green and the soil seems overly moist, follow the instructions above for over watering: “There is water dripping out of the bottom of the Planter Liner.” If you have recently planted, your seedling may wilt due to transplant shock. Give it a few days out of direct sunlight and away from wind. In most cases they will perk up pretty quickly.
- It has been raining for a long time and my plant is drowning! Solution: The Capillary Strip will continually move water from the Reservoir to the soil in the planter until there is no more water remaining in the Reservoir. During an extended period of rain, the Revolution Planter can receive too much water. Use the Moisture Indicator to gauge how moist the soil is. You can also feel the soil. It should be moist, but not saturated. Lift the ends of the Capillary Strip out of the Reservoir until the soil begins to dry out and one-half of the Moisture Indicator turns to a mottled green and white. Once the rain stops and the soil has returned to a proper moisture level, you can add water to the Reservoir (if needed) and replace the ends of the Capillary Strip in the Reservoir.
- What if there is algae growing in the Water Reservoir? Solution: Algae growing in the Water Reservoir will not harm your plant, but it may clog the Capillary Strip and reduce or stop the water flow. If you do notice algae in the Reservoir, detach one of the Hanging Chains and lift out the Reservoir. Wash the Reservoir with soap and water. Rinse the algae from the Capillary Strip. You may need to replace the Strip at this point. Follow Step 4 under “How To Plant” to replace the Strip. Make sure to re-establish good contact between the Capillary Strip and the soil.
- What are the round black, sunken areas on the bottom of my tomatoes and how can I prevent this? Solution: Blossom end rot is a common problem for tomatoes and is a calcium deficiency. The disorder often occurs when there are extreme fluctuations in soil moisture between wet and dry. This interferes with the plant’s ability to absorb calcium from the soil. To prevent blossom end rot, try to keep the moisture level steady (see “Checking the Soil’s Moisture Level”). Be sure to fertilize at planting time and again 4 and 8 weeks after planting.
- The planter is overly dry. Solution: It is best to remove the Water Reservoir and water the planter thoroughly with a hose or watering can. Completely saturate all the soil in the planter. Dry soil will resist absorbing water. Watering the soil directly is the easiest and best way to get the moisture level back to where it should be. Saturate the Capillary Strip and follow Step 4 under “How to Plant” to re-establish good contact between the Capillary Strip and the soil
HOW TO WATER AND FERTILIZE
Do not fill the water reservoir immediately after planting. Since you have already added approximately 1 gallon of water to moisten the planting mix, your plant will not need any additional water for a day or two.
When the Moisture Indicator begins changing from solid green to mottled white and green, you can then add water to the Reservoir. It is always best to fill the Reservoir to the top (about one gallon of water) and even to let some water run over the rim to help re-wet the Capillary Strip. (You may place a bucket underneath the planter to protect your deck or porch from water overflow.) It usually takes less than 12 hours for the gallon of water to slowly be delivered to the soil and the Reservoir to be emptied.
Important : If most of the water fails to migrate into the soil within a 24-hour period, this may indicate that the Capillary Strip has become dry or clogged. Should this occur, remove the Reservoir and moisten the soil directly with a quart of water. Saturate the Capillary Strip with water and replace it, making sure it’s in good contact with the soil surface. Gently press the Reservoir into place and direct the ends of the Capillary Strip into the Reservoir. Fill the Reservoir to the top. If water fails to transfer to the planter in 24 hours, replace the Capillary Strip with a new one.
Watering Through the Season. During the growing season, you need to monitor the soil in your planter to make sure it’s not receiving too much or too little water. Your watering regimen should be determined by your climate and the maturity of your plant. In our product testing, we found that early in the growing season, when plants are small and the weather is cooler, the planters require less frequent watering.
During the hottest days of summer, the Reservoir will require more frequent filling—sometimes as often as every day. If you’re growing tomatoes, be aware that a full grown, mature plant typically requires at least one gallon of water every day. Check the planting mix periodically to make sure the entire root zone stays moist.
Reminder: Any time you add water to the reservoir, it is best to fill it completely.
How to Water and Fertilize Checking the Soil’s Moisture Level - Ideally, the planting mix inside your planter should be kept as moist as a well-wrung sponge. In this condition, the soil will contain about one gallon of water. If the planter gets too much water, the excess will begin dripping out the bottom of the planter. This “over-wet” condition is not healthy for the plant. For best results, we encourage you to use the following two techniques to decide when the Reservoir should be refilled: 1. Moisture Indicator: Make sure the Indicator remains in good contact with the soil. When the soil is completely saturated, the Indicator should be completely green. As the soil dries, the Indicator will slowly turn white. We recommend watering when half of the Indicator is white, and the other half is spotted (mottled) green and white. 2. Soil Check: Place a finger into the bottom opening of the planter beside the plant stem. If the soil feels very wet, hold off watering until the soil returns to a proper moisture level. If the soil is only slightly moist or dry, fill the Reservoir.
Add Fertilizer 4 and 8 Weeks after Planting Tomatoes need lots of nutrients to produce a bumper crop of fruit. We recommend adding ½ cup of fertilizer to the planting mix 4 weeks and again 8 weeks after planting.To add the fertilizer, unhook one of the Hanging Chains from the planter and remove the Water Reservoir. Add ½ cup of All-Purpose fertilizer to the planting mix. Work the fertilizer into the soil as much as possible without damaging the roots. Level the soil and repack it lightly. Replace the old Capillary Strip with a new Strip (fully saturated) and then replace the Water Reservoir, making sure the Capillary Strip is in full contact with the soil below. Press down on the soil when replacing the Reservoir. Repeat this process in 4 weeks.
Cleaning and Storage At the end of the season, remove the planting mix and clean out the Planter Liner with a hose and a cleaning brush or sponge. Hang the planter to dry completely before storing. The rinsed Liner can be washed in a washing machine with warm water. Do not wash the Liner along with clothing. Hang dry only.