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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 21, 2013   #16
Balr14
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Thanks for sharing all if your building tips and knowledge

This topic should be sticky.
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Old June 24, 2013   #17
Balr14
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I have a question. Do you just let the wicks lay on the bottom, or do you hold them up and put dirt around them?
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Old June 25, 2013   #18
SIP Gro-Tubs
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Default A 14" deep bucket needs only One 10-12" wick

Quote:
Originally Posted by Balr14 View Post
I have a question. Do you just let the wicks lay on the bottom, or do you hold them up and put dirt around them?
The wicks go from the bottom of the reservoir, to within 3-4" from the top of the media. This is were the plants need the moisture to start growing the fastest.

The wick is secured to the underside of the coroplast reservoir top with a 2" stainless steel screw, threaded thru the wick, and screwed into the flutes of the coroplast.

Fill the continer with 6" of media, reach down and pull up the wick. Repeat till the wick is at the proper height, don't worry about pulling the wick out since its secured with the screw.

A 5/8" diam. wick will keep it nice and moist for an area 12" in diameter. So figure 1 wick per sq/ft. Also when filling you need to wet the media to get proper wicking started.

Terry

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Old July 3, 2013   #19
Balr14
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Thanks. I set up two 5 gal buckets as self-watering. In one I used 4 1/2" polyester wicks. I had to go back and rearrange the wicks after getting your clarification about how to place them. I filled the container with a new potting soil mix from the garden center.

In another, I drilled several 1" holes in the 3 PVC pipes that hold up the floor of the container and cut a 3 1/2" hole in the floor over each PVC pipe. I filled the container with the same potting soil mixture, letting it fill the PVC pipes as well and packed it down pretty good. No wicks, just dirt. This is the method that earthbox uses, so I thought I would give it a try. It wicks a lot more than polyester rope does, but there is some minor dirt leakage.

Just thought I'd share. I was curious.
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Old July 12, 2013   #20
framer
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I am in the process of building the 5 gal bucket swc's & I see that you have DAP caulk listed in the parts breakdown.
Where is the DAP used in the final assm?
repairman
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Old March 23, 2014   #21
suncat33770
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Hi,
I love the thread!! and al the info....
If it is not a trade secret what media are you using for you tomato buckets???
Thx
Randy
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Old October 30, 2015   #22
MuddyBuckets
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Default Great Single Bucket SWC

Will be building a few of these over the winter.

Question: I know there are 3 overflow holes on the water resevoir below the platform but what happens in heavy rains when the bucket is top watered? Does the planting media get into the water chamber due to the media saturation? Is the shelf tight fitting in the bucket to prevent media from getting into water chamber?

Again, great tutorial!
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Old November 3, 2015   #23
Ganado
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Nice post Terry!

Its an election year the campaign signs are free very soon and are perfect source for coroplast. Just saying, cheap is good, reused is better
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Old November 3, 2015   #24
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Spike2 read this thread and added it to my list of "honey dos." Got to round up some campaign signs.
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Old November 16, 2015   #25
MuddyBuckets
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Balr14,

The solution to the dirt leaking into the water chamber as you described is to wrap the PVC pipes with nylon panty hose, toe end on the bottom and open at the top, or you can just tie a knot in the hose for the bottom, either way works great. On the top of the PVC just put a couple of dabs of glue on the inside rim and press the hose into it to prevent slippage.
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Old December 19, 2015   #26
Greatgardens
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Read through this thread briefly... How do you cut the coroplast? Do you have to use a saw or can you cut it with tin snips? Have you changed anything significantly since the original write-up?
-GG
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Old December 19, 2015   #27
MuddyBuckets
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Greatgardens

I usually use a box cutter or very sharp carpet knife and a steel straight edge clamped to the coroplast for the straight cuts. I use a sabersaw with a fine blade for the circular cuts. A Dremel tool or similar would be an ideal tool for cutting the coroplast. Hope this helps.
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Old December 19, 2015   #28
BajaMitch
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What soilless grow media do you use for this SIP bucket?
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Old December 19, 2015   #29
MuddyBuckets
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BajaMitch

For the growing mix I have used several mixes, all of which have worked fine. This is enough for 2-3 SIP 5-gallon buckets with 4" to 5" resoviors filled to within 1" of the top. Be sure to make the mix without the Osmocote, thoroughly wet the mix until very damp, then mix in the Osmocote before using. If mix is not wetted first it will not wick properly. If your climate is extremely hot and dry you may need to up the peat or coco coir to increase the wicking and moisture retention. Okra, tomatoes and peppers have done well in this mix.

Mix #1
3 gallons fine bark chips, not sifted
2 gallons peat
1 gallon large horticultural perlite (sifted through a strainer to get the "dust" out)
1/4 cup lime
1/4 cup Osmocote (SRF)

Mix #2
3 gallons fine bark chips, not sifted
2 gallons coco coir
1 gallon large horticultural perlite (sifted through a strainer to get the "dust" out)
1/4 cup lime
1/4 cup Osmocote (SRF)
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Old December 19, 2015   #30
BajaMitch
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Thanks, Muddy. Very helpful. I like the fact that you are not putting in so much fertilizer. I think that may be an important factor to decent growth and yield. I get the distinct feeling that many use too much fert.

I did an experiment on July 1st, 2015. After having a terrible growth experience from putting too much fertilizer in the planter box and in the ground grown tomato plants where I got nothing but giant leaves and no fruit, I pulled all the plants but one (left one in the planter) and set up 4 plants in four 5 gallon SWCs purchased from Walmart on July 1st, 2015.

Long story short, I used too much sand in 3 of the 4 containers and, in those containers I put a good amount of balanced fertilizer. In the 4th container, my control, I used only Kellogg Premium Potting Mix and 3/4 Tbs of Epsom Salt + 3 Tbs bone meal + 1 Tbs Sul Po Mag in the hole where I put the seedling.

Resluts: 4th Container thriving compared to the other 3 containers by the end of August 2015.

July 1st was a late time to plant in Southern California for tomatoes. The maturation of the plants is taking about 3 to 4 times longer than if they had they been planted in late April, but they are all surviving. It is surprising to see that two of the containers are actually fruiting quite well (determinates: Better Bush), especially since it has been really cold lately (60 to 70 F during the day and down to 37 F at night). In August, I started feeding the control container gradually until I brought up the total fert equal to the other 3 containers by Dec 1st, 2015.

I think a good technique, if you can do it, is to just feed the plants no more than the amount that they use.

I have 19 tomatoes started on the Control Container and 10 on one of the other 3 containers. We shall see how they survive going forward. But the real lesson I learned here is:
1. NO sand in SWCs.
2. Better Bush Tomato plant can take pretty cool weather and seem to defy the standard temp of over night lows no lower than 55 F.
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