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General discussion regarding the techniques and methods used to successfully grow tomato plants in containers.

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Old December 3, 2017   #121
murihikukid
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Hi..I was right ..it is raining but nothing going in my drums from either the house roof or the greenhouse roof???Seems I cannot do anything right...The rain is not heavy in fact its really "tropical" here but I would have thought that there would be something going in my drums apart from the small amount of direct rain.....I am actually enjoying "Raindrops on My Head".....Cheers Ron
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Old December 3, 2017   #122
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Hi..I am sure Patti has an opinion on this .....Plant Spacing ....Yes I know the greenhouse needs a cleanup but I need to get my plant spacing right... With the spacing on the right of the photo I could actually get 9 in a row (3 wide to the right of a walkway and 2 wide to the left ) However I planned for round 40 plants and 8 x 5 = 40 ....So I think I can work with 8 in a row which means the drums on the right can be spread apart more plus a centre walkway does not have to be wide .....and go from there.....I think I can double up with my Dwarf Sweet Scarlet and perhaps Paul Robeson ...which would give me more room ....i have Tasty Toms from seeds...and am transferring them into drums ...they keep looking better????
Being easy to push round the drums can be condensed or spread apart to do the work required...If you get what I mean...
I am planning to give them all Miracle gro this coming weekend....Regards Ron
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Old December 4, 2017   #123
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As you know, I surely do have an opinion on this. And as I know, you will not follow it. I think that 40 plants is far too many for the space that you have. You want a Rapunzel plant like the one in your photo. Well... if you look at the bright light and space that they gave that plant then you can see why it reached it's maximum potential. If you crowd it, nope, won't look anything like the photo.

You need to have more space between each row so that you can walk between the rows to tend the plants. It does not appear to me that you can walk between the drums in the back row and after the plants become mature, it will be very very dense. How else can you prune or check them for disease? No it will not be easy to pull them out to check on them daily. Also you need to have the space for the "critical" air flow that I rant about. So... I say, not suggest, 3 feet between each row. End of subject.

As to the plants spacing between the plants in the row, you already know that I also want 2.5-3 feet between the plants. Air flow, ventilation, air circulation is mandatory! If your plants are touching each other, they are too close! Air can not get through and disease will occur.

I would not crowd your dwarf's or Paul Robeson. Both are known to be plants that are susceptible to disease.

As I firmly believe, cut your plants down to 20 and 12 would be even better. Start with less and then once you master that try increasing the number. 12 plants will give you hundreds of pounds of tomatoes. Plenty for a family and certainly more than enough for you and your friends.

So... Thanks for allowing me to rant and rave. You already knew what I would say. When disease strikes, don't be looking for a cure all because the cure is the prevention in the first place. It's kinda like birth control. Use the condemn before intercourse, rather than looking to see what to do about it once she is pregnant. Much easier to do the prevention...
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Old December 4, 2017   #124
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I thought they were close together, too, but I have no idea how big the plants are going to end up getting.

Maybe I just have flood and drain on my mind lately, but those washing machine bins look like they would be great for that. It's the same idea as your sub-irrigated container, but you don't need a wick. The media is the wick. You just build a shallow bin that will hold water and put the bins in it.

Mine was originally a hydroponic machine I built for greenhouse lettuce, but it killed my back to tend it, so now I just use the bin to water plants. The picture below is of small plants, but I have grown buckets in a kiddie pool this way before. When the plant needs water, pour a little in the bin and let it wick up into the plant. If you want to be fancy, you can include a drain, but after you get better at it, you will learn the amount to put in so that the plants wick up all of it. You can also mix in a light fertilizer and thus "fertigate" if you choose. I water all of my flowers by soaking them, and I am convinced that is a superior method of watering, especially as the plant becomes larger and the root ball more dense.
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Old December 4, 2017   #125
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"If you want to be fancy, you can include a drain, but after you get better at it, you will learn the amount to put in so that the plants wick up all of it."

If there is water left over it can also be wicked out. That's what I do when my pots are wet and too heavy to lift out of their saucers. I use a bit of cloth as a wick. Works well. As well as being too much water for plants it breeds mosquitoes here.
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Old December 5, 2017   #126
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I would cut down the tomato numbers by half, and even then in that space I would only grow them single stem.
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Old December 6, 2017   #127
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxjohnson View Post
I would cut down the tomato numbers by half, and even then in that space I would only grow them single stem.
Hi..I will have to have a think about that one....I could be eating Tasty Toms by the weekend so i must be doing something right..? I have spent the day wick testing...Some interesting results ...It s a good job I did these tests ...Only one material has passed the test of passing water from one soda bottle into another ...The ropes I tested are a waste of money .....The Material transferring is what I used as capiilary cloth ...a cheap polyester absorbant wipe cloth ..... So I have now threaded it through a piece of tubing and will see what happens overnight...Cheers Ron
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Old December 6, 2017   #128
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxjohnson View Post
I would cut down the tomato numbers by half, and even then in that space I would only grow them single stem.
The thought of growing your plants on a single stem was suggested to you last year. Your Tasty Toms were bred for this! They would work great being supported by your ropes. Hang the ropes straight down from your ceiling and then wrap the plants around the ropes as they grow. Some people here use a pulley system to lower the plants as they grow taller. Such as I showed you last year in AKMark's greenhouse.
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Old December 6, 2017   #129
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Quote:
Originally Posted by murihikukid View Post
Hi..I will have to have a think about that one....I could be eating Tasty Toms by the weekend so i must be doing something right..? I have spent the day wick testing...Some interesting results ...It s a good job I did these tests ...Only one material has passed the test of passing water from one soda bottle into another ...The ropes I tested are a waste of money .....The Material transferring is what I used as capiilary cloth ...a cheap polyester absorbant wipe cloth ..... So I have now threaded it through a piece of tubing and will see what happens overnight...Cheers Ron
Good experimentation! I have not been against your watering method, just skeptical that the setup would work. It will be very interesting to see if the capillary cloth works. Will you be doing the same routing - up over the side?
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Old December 7, 2017   #130
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Hi ...Yes my tests are for up and then over the side....so going by the test I should be able to get it with the wiper cloth..Here it is...a true test but it was very hot yesterday when I tried it on my tomatoes....I took 2 polypropylene ropes out and put in their place a piece of the wiper cloth that I had cut about 2 1/2 inches wide ...This morning when I checked ...the cloth was dry so the reservoir had either run out or the water was simply evaporating on the cloth ..which must be the problem .I now intend to try a wick about 5 inches wide ..roll it up and use a holesaw to make a bigger hole in the plastic of the drum so the wick will get to the water with no bottle neck...As you can see by my photo the transfer was excellent ..If one waited long enough one could see a small drip from the wick ....I would think that would be excellent for wicking soil at the rate it was transferring....

The Bottle on the left is the one feeding....
Cheers Ron
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Old December 8, 2017   #131
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Hi ..My seven Mature plants have been delivered ...The outstanding difference is the leaf colour ...The leaves are bright green while on my plants they clearly are not.... which seems to tell me that mine had a lack of Nitrogen although the lady that delivered them said it could be lack of light....Never mind I am used to such remarks...Common sense tells me its an imbalance in the soil or fertilizer and what about the seedlings I saw the other day ...They looked terrible with hardly green only yellow leaves....and they were in the next door yard to where my Mature plants were growing......As Patti said my seeds never looked right this season and I would agree with her...maybe they needed a spray of milk...but I will look after them best I can and I am sure they will come right...at least to get a taste ...

Hopefully I can get all seven transplanted tonight...and I can relax for a while and plan a green house extension or mezzanine floor for my Rapunzel...I note that the plants differ to what I paid for with 5 Tasty Toms...1 Black Krim (not two) and a Popentate but thats OK with me ....I wanted a Popentate....

I think I should now copper spray everything just in case ....
Its rained today and I should have some water to keep me going...so I am going to get some Fish and chips for tea... Cheers Ron..
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Old December 8, 2017   #132
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Hi..I may have another problem....I cannot believe how dry the soil is in the bags of these plants ...They look like they have never been watered ....I now find there are eight plants and I managed to get 4 transplanted but i am worried....These are so dry will the roots actually spread out from the original soil round them...I put some water with MGro on the soil in the drum then applied Mycorhizae and sat the bag on it and then split the bag open with a box knife to remove it and then filled round the outside and applied 2 litres of MGro to water it in....the soil looked like it had been put in the bag with a sledgehammer it was that tight and of couse it breaks just like a blob of dust .....I wonder if I am worrying unduly here ...I will take photos tomorrow as I transplant #5 in the meantime I would welcome any help in if I have to apply anything special here...
Unbelievable

Cheers Ron
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Old December 8, 2017   #133
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Well first I hope it's potting mix, not soil. Because you don't want to use soil in containers, but usually soil causes too wet due to compactness, not too dry.

If a potting mix is too loose and light then the water is gonna drain out faster along with the nutrients. There is this thing going on in the other garden forum called 5-1-1 mix which is a very high drainage mix, comprises of 5 parts fine pine bark, 1 part peat moss, and 1 perlite. But you need to use more water-based fertilizer and water often, but it's suppose to be better for roots growth. I see it as hydroponic in disguise and I'm not a fan of the idea.

Personally I'm not a fan of a peat dominant potting mix which I think works better with water based fertilizing where as I tend to use slow release granular fertilizers. I like the potting mix from 'Ecoscraps' because they have a good mix of everything including adequately aged coconut coir, fine pine bark, some peat moss, perlites and other aged materials. I try to look for potting mix with fine pine bark as they give it good consistency. I also like using fabric grow bags lately because they allow very good drainage and it give me excuse to add more compost to the potting mix. It looks like the metal containers you have is using similar concept.

For a more professional mix you can look at 'ProMix', but it's too expensive in for my blood. Some people swear by it.

I fell for the coconut coir 'scam' a while back when I realized pretty much all the ones being sold are not aged so it basically rob all of the nutrients in the mix from the plant.

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Old December 8, 2017   #134
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You'll want to wet any media that comes out of the bag so dry. The biggest reason is so that you don't breathe the dust it puts off. It also makes it easier to work with.
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Old December 8, 2017   #135
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Hi...The Place I bought the plants from is a complete growing company IE They make up all their own soils and mixes so they are completely different to what i call garden centres ...The Plants have been raised in their own tomato mix and have had no fertilizers applied so I was told...of course I do not know what their Tomato Mix had in it initially...THey are an old established family company that has a big reputation and along with that they have their own set ideas ....And one can soon tell this talking to them ....When I asked about Yara mili Complex the Norwegian Fertilizer that was highly recommended to me by an Agriculture company it was instantly dismissed "they did not know it and were not interested in it" and I find this attitude in all the garden places in my area.... One company sells a super Tom Grow liquid ..the swear by it and try to push one into buying it all the time...Early on I asked Patti about this and provided analysis etc and there was one important ingredient missing...The last time I was in the shop they tryed to sell it to me and when i mentioned this they were extremely upset ...Now in the last few years I have actually met people involved in the soil mix business and what they tell you is hair raising yet they provide the mixes that are then marketed in garden centres under various brand names...Its getting to know these people which helps in buying the right soil etc...

Promix and other products like it are unfortunately simply not obtainable here ...probably banned from entering the country ....Thats why I like the idea of Amazon coming here cause they will bring many garden products with them and have the claut to get licencing etc giving people like me the opportunity to try out these products .....

Regards Ron
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