How To Grow World Record Tomatoes

gpaintjrMay 1, 2009

Bought a book "How to Grow World Record Tomatoes" by Charles H. Wilber.

25' plus tall plants and 300 plus pounds per plant sounds like a bit much to me from a Better Boy VFN.

I did a search on this forum and only came up with one reference.

Does anyone know if this is bunk or is it for real?

Don't want that tall but better production and less work would be very good.

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I bought the same book. The results are contingent on using Kudzu as compost, and training the cordon (Indeterminate) plant. I finally got Kudzu seeds and grew it last year in a planter. I plan on doing this process ( in a limited way) this year.
I don't see why it wouldn't work.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 10:58AM
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I read this book five years ago when I first started growing. I think it has some excellent ideas most people could utilize to improve their crop. The most important for me were cages and mulch. I think his cage sizes are optimal, but instead of using three "tent stakes", I simply use one T-post. I even stacked some cages 2-high, mostly as a novelty with cherry tomatoes, and picked with a ladder. Visitors got a real kick out of that! Using straw works well, but I have found that for a long row of plants, black plastic is easier and better for me to control weeds and moisture. I don't bother with the drip irrigation. Even in a relatively dry year, I might only water once or twice.

I gave up on pruning after one season. It requires an absurd amount of time, and my yields weren't much higher. My only real problem is a bacterial or fungal spot that eventually kills my plants from the ground up later every season. Maybe it's because I fail to flame sterilize my cages each season, as he recommends! Others here have advised me it wouldn't be worth the trouble.

Enjoy the book and experiment.


    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 11:20AM
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wvtomatoman(z6 WV)


Well, visitors might get a kick out of it, but I didn't like it. You have to get the ladder out everytime you want to pick tomatoes. And after it rains the soil is soft and if you don't watch yourself you might fall off the ladder, at least that's what happened to me (3 times). So, I don't stack my cages 3 high anymore and I don't recommend it. And, for those cherry tomato plants after a while I get tired of picking them so I give people at work big zip loc bags and tell them "you want 'em you pick 'em". :) The point to that is I wouldn't want anyone falling off a ladder and getting hurt or suing me.


I've never read the book. I just give 'em good dirt and everything they need and then some, but not too much.

Duh, oh yeah check out the link below to see my example.

Good luck.


Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 11:44AM
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Thanks for the replies. I do not have any kudzu around either but I will experiment. WoW Randy, that picture is great. Thats what I want. I've grown tomatoes for 25 years and have never had any like that.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 9:03PM
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Mr Wilbur states you can use alfalfa meal as a replacement for kudzu. It's used for the nitrogen.
Kudzu is an evil invasive beast, be careful. It's probably illegal to have outside the south.

I suspect his granite dust is another key ingredient.
it is often labeled rock flour.

I religiously followed the compost making advice and it, and/or my 'start way to early' worked great for me.

I get many double CRW cage sized toms.
Some triples. I'm too lazy to double cage 'em now.
I just let them drape back down to the ground.

Double cages is a lot of work.
Besides the top half rarely has enough time to mature
except for smaller toms.

I don't like peat pots like he uses.
He is very anti starting to early.
That may be fine for ?Alabama? where he lives but not here.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 10:09PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Kudzu is an evil invasive beast, be careful. It's probably illegal to have outside the south.

Definitely! "Beast" is a good term for it!! Millions are spent annually trying to just control it. Down here you can get in serious trouble for even allowing it to exist on your property much less intentionally trying to grow it.

I read Wilbur's book eons ago but like others I found too many of his suggestions to be more work/trouble than the results justified. To each his own I guess.


    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 10:26PM
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Got Kudzu ? Get goats to keep kudzu under control, or forever lose your peace of mind.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 10:42PM
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earthworm73(WA z8)

I read his book to and I used alfalfa cuz ain't no kudzu in WA. After just one day my pile was smoking hot. I never had it that hot before. I would turn it and the steam/smoke stung my eyes. After I spread it on my bed this fall I will see if it makes a noticible difference.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2009 at 9:43AM
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My friend says kudzu grew 4.5 ft. A day (measure d) 1.5 Billion in tax payer $. A yr. To eradicate. It has use's. Including old leaves store food. Salads, tea, cooking etc. I use Rock Dust Yes! Worm compost. 8 lb . Record 4 Tomatoes? We'll see on first good year Beeefstk/ Big boy/ beter Boy with Basil & Complimentary plants.also some would say i water 2 much (ONLY RAIN WATER) And DE. (Diatomacious Earth)....IN.W-S N.C.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 1:48AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

As far as I know Big Zack produces the larges tomatoes. I have never grown anything bigger than Brandywine, a little over a pound.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 3:09AM
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OMG with the kudzu. I can't believe it's even legal to sell seeds. Lived in AL for a year and the whole landscape was one blanket of kudzu. And we had thousands of kudzu bugs trying to overwinter in our apt.

Now in Knoxville I and starting to see it more and more. One giant deluge of green vines sweeping over everything.

Growing kudzu to get better tomatoes sounds like a deal with the devil if I ever heard one. Maybe your tomatoes are super wicked awesome but you won't be able to find your house, car, spouse, children, sanity, because they will all be under the kudzu somewhere.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 11:09PM
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I cringed a little when I read "kudzu". The weed that ate the South. I'd advise to stay as far away from that "plant" as possible. When encountered, break out the gasoline and matches.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 11:26PM
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How WilberâÂÂs âÂÂ18 branchesâ technique worked for you ?

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 11:46AM
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Oh Daniel,

That was a good one. Thanks for the link! Ha ha!

I wouldn't want tomatoes that tall, or ones that produced THAT MUCH fruit (LOL).


    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 1:01PM
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