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

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Old June 15, 2018   #346
AlittleSalt
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Rajun, you brought up old memories. We lived close to Whitney back in 1987. I would have never thought to look there. It's only about 25 miles away. Anything being sold cheap there is an oddity. There is a large fishing/recreation lake there (Lake Whitney) which is a dam on the Brazos river. It is popular for locals and tourists. Just bring plenty of money and don't expect much. It is a good place to get away from the big cities. There's a realistic chance of seeing bald eagles there. Here I am promoting a place that makes many people wonder why they went there.

Yes, we do live out in the boonies. Our grandchildren think that bigfoot lives on our property.
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Old June 22, 2018   #347
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Well, there's a lot to learn. I only grew one large-to-me variety. Black Krim, and I'm thinking seeds only because I overwatered?
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Old June 22, 2018   #348
ginger2778
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Robert those are still going to taste good and grest in sauce/salsa.
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Old June 22, 2018   #349
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If they're tasty, just cut out the bad spots. If they're not, then try cooking them down; it brings out flavor. The one furthest back in the pic does look pretty far gone; maybe that's the one for seeds.


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Old June 23, 2018   #350
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Here are some results. It's kind of funny that I have compared growing in the 5 gallon buckets to growing in a party cup. The results look very similar. I had to pull three plants today. Two are Gargamel that did not produce correctly in size of the tomatoes. I don't think that variety is stable yet. The other plant was a Black Krim that has already produced 6 tomatoes and isn't going to produce any more in 100+F heat.

The first picture shows a pulled tomato plant as you would pull them out of the ground (grown in a bucket). The pictures after shows how many roots are left when we pull tomato plants in that way. The picture of the bucket not only shows the bucket, but also NC stands for Nature's Care and the name of the variety. I grew another Gargamel in Pro Mix and saw no difference in plant size or production.

As always, I would like to read your thoughts, comments, ideas, etc.
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Old June 24, 2018   #351
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Salt, do you prune your plants? This study was a long time ago, but I don't thinks tomato plants have changed much. I think this might be the study that changed my way of doing things. I grew up being taught that you had to remove suckers on tomato plants. Never questioned why. But then I read this. I do not prune my plants in containers, either. There are advantages to pruning, like larger fruit, and maybe faster ripening if you live in a short season area. I don't really care so much about those things, I want the most fruit in good condition and the healthiest plants I can. I wonder if maybe because plants store water in the leaves, the more leaves they have, the more they can adapt to overly wet or dry conditions before it effects the fruit. Anyway, next time you might try pruning half your plants and not pruning the other half and see what happens. I wish there were more actual univeristy studies on this, but this is the only one I know of. It always helps to see if results are reproducable from one study to the next.

http://horticulture.oregonstate.edu/...ng-method-1978
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Old June 24, 2018   #352
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Sue. that's some good reading. This planting, I intended to plant two rows of 5 plants each. However, I had two extra plants. Those two I let sprawl on the cypress mulch. The Black Krim was one of them, and Porter was the other. The Porter plant is still producing well. The other 10, I only pruned when I had to.

I still have two plants left - the Porter mentioned above and a Japanese Pink Cherry plant that is spread out over three cages. I have tomato seeds started for the fall crop and will be growing 8 plants. Two each of:

Big Beef F1
Japanese Pink Cherry
Juliet F1
Porter

We love the way Japanese Pink Cherry and Porter tastes and they both grow well here. Japanese Pink Cherry is sweet and was sold as a hybrid years ago. It is an OP variety now. Porter was developed locally back in the 1920s to grow in our weather - it has a more balanced taste.

Big Beef, I want to grow because I have read so many good reviews and replies about it. The Juliet F1 seeds are from 2013. I think they will germinate just fine but I don't have experience starting older hybrid seeds. I have had very good luck starting OP seeds over 10 years old. We have grown Juliet F1 once before, but that was in 2015 when it rained almost every day in March through mid-June. I don't think it had a fair chance that year, but it did produce a lot of tomatoes even through all the rain.
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Old June 24, 2018   #353
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Well, if you only pruned when you had to, that certainly didn't contribute to your problem with cracking. I do remember you saying how much you were watering, but I think it is going to be a trial and error thing with your heat and providing enough water but not too much.
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Old June 24, 2018   #354
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SueCT View Post
Well, if you only pruned when you had to, that certainly didn't contribute to your problem with cracking. I do remember you saying how much you were watering, but I think it is going to be a trial and error thing with your heat and providing enough water but not too much.
The consecutive 100+ degree days didn't help - that's for sure. I also had problems with BER on the Gargamel tomatoes, but only those two plants. Sungold split as usual which was another two plants. The downburst winds from a nearby thunderstorm broke the main stem of one of the plants. I already knew I needed better cages staked down.

Lots of trial and error, and a whole lot more learning.
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Old June 25, 2018   #355
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlittleSalt View Post
Here are some results. It's kind of funny that I have compared growing in the 5 gallon buckets to growing in a party cup. The results look very similar. I had to pull three plants today. Two are Gargamel that did not produce correctly in size of the tomatoes. I don't think that variety is stable yet. The other plant was a Black Krim that has already produced 6 tomatoes and isn't going to produce any more in 100+F heat.

The first picture shows a pulled tomato plant as you would pull them out of the ground (grown in a bucket). The pictures after shows how many roots are left when we pull tomato plants in that way. The picture of the bucket not only shows the bucket, but also NC stands for Nature's Care and the name of the variety. I grew another Gargamel in Pro Mix and saw no difference in plant size or production.

As always, I would like to read your thoughts, comments, ideas, etc.
Robert, how often did you fertilize the bucket plants? I grow about 30-35 of my plants in buckets on the blacktop driveway here. Your bottom-of-the-bucket roots look about right for growing in 5-gallon buckets. I'm still transplanting here and I reuse a portion of last year's rootball/Pro-Mix over again, I just cut off the top few inches that may have weeds or weed seeds and toss the remains into the cement mixer, and add a bag of M-G garden soil, compost or aged manure, new peat, a cup of dolomitic lime (Espoma Garden Lime), a cup of a custom mix of fertilizer I make, plus a bucket of half super coarse perlite and half super coarse vermiculite. This is enough for 3 or 4 containers. I mix it and pour it back into buckets. I sprinkle some Osmocote 14-14-14 into the transplant hole & sprinkle Azomite over it and plant.

I use Calcium Nitrate and Jack's Starter fertilizer, 9-45-15 thru drip irrigation. Was that you asking about calcium nitrate in this thread? I am trying a different brand this year, I got a 50lb bag of YaraLiva greenhouse/solution grade from Greenhouse Megastore, it was around $44 including delivery for 50lbs. I used Southern Ag in the past but found it never fully dissolved for me.

You should try using drip irrigation, especially if you're in TX and have high temps. I have a little kit here, I think it's made by Raindrip, they call it a Patio Kit, it has enough lines, fittings, and a battery operated controller/timer so you don't need electricity.

Keep in mind Pro-Mix or Nature's Care don't feed your plants, you need to fertilize regularly when you grow in containers.

Hope this helps!
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Old June 25, 2018   #356
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What's the cost of

a bag of M-G garden soil
compost or aged manure
new peat
dolomitic lime (Espoma Garden Lime)
custom mix of fertilizer
a bucket of half super coarse perlite and half super coarse vermiculite.
Osmocote 14-14-14
Azomite
Calcium Nitrate
Jack's Starter fertilizer, 9-45-15
drip irrigation?

I'm going bankrupt just reading about it.

Nan
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Old June 25, 2018   #357
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Nan, I need to add to your reply first. Cost does start adding up, and why I pulled some of the plants makes sense. To keep the Sungold alive took too much water, and you know that I water with much more than water. It was not worth keeping them growing in 100+F temperatures just to produce split tomatoes. The Medovaya Kaplya cross was not worth growing and neither were the Gargamel or Black Krim. It was cheaper to pull them and get ready for the next season.
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Old June 25, 2018   #358
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Korney 19, I use water with 4-18-38 / 15.5-0-0 Calcium Nitrate / Magnesium Sulfate mix every time I water the plants daily. AKmark told me about that. About the calcium nitrate, I did reply to that thread, but I don't use it.

Your reply does bring up thoughts that I was going to write about starting tomorrow. Tonight will work. This rest of this is a reply to the thread and its contributors as well as what you wrote above Korney 19. I know that's kind of different, but I'm kind of different.

Marsha brought up the subject of PH levels earlier in this thread, and I have been thinking about ever since. PH is very important. I'm not sure if my older PH gauge is still working correctly, but I have diverse soil conditions to check it with. If it's not working, I'll buy a new one. I may need to buy some products that will change the PH level to around 6.5.

I do have a concrete mixer, but the 50 year old old Wisconsin Robin hasn't been cranked in over 15 years. Instead, I'll be using a huge plastic tub that holds at least 100 gallons and an eye hoe (Also called a mortar hoe) to mix the pro mix with the MG and MG Nature's Care. Sort of a make your own pro mix type of thing. Sort of...

Worth, you may have noticed that I didn't include the MG gardening soil that you wrote about - that's because the okra is still growing in those buckets just fine. The plants are small, but I have just started introducing them to the 4-18-38 / 15.5-0-0 Calcium Nitrate / Magnesium Sulfate mix a couple of days ago. They need more sun and I need to get them moved today.

I have enough drip irrigation products to supply a 45' x 45' garden. I don't remember the brand name but Home Depot carries it.
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Old June 25, 2018   #359
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nan_PA_6b View Post
What's the cost of

a bag of M-G garden soil ($1.84)
compost or aged manure (n/c)
new peat ($0.99)
dolomitic lime (Espoma Garden Lime) ($0.17)
custom mix of fertilizer ($0.30)
a bucket of half super coarse perlite and half super coarse vermiculite.($0.79)
Osmocote 14-14-14 ($0.24)
Azomite ($0.31)
Calcium Nitrate ($0.14)
Jack's Starter fertilizer, 9-45-15 ($0.14)
drip irrigation?

I'm going bankrupt just reading about it.

Nan
Yep, container gardening does get expensive. You forgot the cost of the buckets...

Using above costs per plant, it comes out to $4.92 per plant... plus the bucket...
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Old June 25, 2018   #360
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So about $50 for 10 plants, plus the cost of irrigation system and buckets.
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