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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 19, 2016   #1
Banadoura
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Default Optimal Grow Bag Size

Hi All,

Based on your experience in container growing, what is the optimal size of grow bags?
10-15-20 gallon bags?

I have Cosmonaut Volkov, Silver Fir tree and Bulgarian Triumph in mind.

Thanks in advance,
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Old December 19, 2016   #2
Worth1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Banadoura View Post
Hi All,

Based on your experience in container growing, what is the optimal size of grow bags?
10-15-20 gallon bags?

I have Cosmonaut Volkov, Silver Fir tree and Bulgarian Triumph in mind.

Thanks in advance,
Nothing less than 10 gallon
Silver fir tree a waste with anything more than 10 gallon.
15 to 20 would be better for the rest if they are full sized plants.
Me thinking of Texas heat too so better opinions should be coming to you soon.'

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Old December 19, 2016   #3
Gerardo
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Are you doing drip irrigation, watering from below, or hand watering? It'll make a difference in terms of volume req.

You've chosen excellent container varieties.

I've grown C Volkov successfully in 5 gals, 7 gals is plenty for a couple of stems. It tends to be a compact plant.

Silvery FT is a compact plant also, so you could get away with 5 gals easily.

B Triumph I have not grown, but understand it is compact also.

I'm down to about 4 gals for each with pretty decent production.

Don't forget a cal-mag source. Best of luck!
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Old December 19, 2016   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerardo View Post
Are you doing drip irrigation, watering from below, or hand watering? It'll make a difference in terms of volume req.

You've chosen excellent container varieties.

I've grown C Volkov successfully in 5 gals, 7 gals is plenty for a couple of stems. It tends to be a compact plant.

Silvery FT is a compact plant also, so you could get away with 5 gals easily.

B Triumph I have not grown, but understand it is compact also.

I'm down to about 4 gals for each with pretty decent production.

Don't forget a cal-mag source. Best of luck!

There you have it a real expert on the subject.

I was thinking about the same thing on the fir tree but had no idea on the others.

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Old December 19, 2016   #5
Banadoura
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awesome Thanks Worth!

@Gerardo, as a noob, I can only think of hand watering. How do you water grow bags from below? You stick a PVC halfway through and water via the pipe?

For the cal-mag source, is this included in Tomato Tone? if not, what's your preferred product/src?

Sorry for the newbie questions
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Old December 19, 2016   #6
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All questions welcome, especially noob ones.

There's a whole class of sub-irrigated planters you can explore, but if you're going for plastic grow bags, it's probably easiest to hand water. If you splurge a bit and get some root bags, they are easily watered from below by allowing to sit in an inch or two of water, via kiddie pool, plastic tote, etc. Gnatrol or mosquito dunks will keep your friends at bay. Consistent water will help combat BER, although Cosmonaut Volkov is very forgiving on that front.

TomatoTone has some cal-mag in it, just not enough to get your plants past that 4th 5th cluster.

The easiest is the espoma garden lime available pretty much everywhere, and that takes care of both calcium and magnesium.

Another option is a liquid product, any hydro store will have it, although it can get $$$ quick.

A third option is epsom salts and cal nitrate, the 1st one being easy to procure. Cal nitrate you can get online or at your local nursery or professional gardening supply place for pretty cheap, although you will have to buy a relatively large quantity. A couple of kilos will last you a while for those few plants. Make sure it is sealed up otherwise it turns into Playdoh.
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Old December 20, 2016   #7
Ricky Shaw
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My two Cosmonaut Volkov grew tall and broad, 4-stemmed in 15gal fabric pots. Be ready for that, there is a lot of variety to this variety. I think Territorial lists theirs as a determinate, the Daves Garden guy commented he wouldn't share seed, becasue it grew out differently three years in a row.

No matter in the long run though, you can grow the burliest of toms in a 5 gal container by reducing the number of stems. It's noteworthy that keeping the plants hydrated is easier as you go up in pot size if you're hand-watering.

Last edited by Ricky Shaw; December 20, 2016 at 10:00 AM.
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Old December 20, 2016   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerardo View Post
All questions welcome, especially noob ones.

There's a whole class of sub-irrigated planters you can explore, but if you're going for plastic grow bags, it's probably easiest to hand water. If you splurge a bit and get some root bags, they are easily watered from below by allowing to sit in an inch or two of water, via kiddie pool, plastic tote, etc. Gnatrol or mosquito dunks will keep your friends at bay. Consistent water will help combat BER, although Cosmonaut Volkov is very forgiving on that front.

TomatoTone has some cal-mag in it, just not enough to get your plants past that 4th 5th cluster.

The easiest is the espoma garden lime available pretty much everywhere, and that takes care of both calcium and magnesium.

Another option is a liquid product, any hydro store will have it, although it can get $$$ quick.

A third option is epsom salts and cal nitrate, the 1st one being easy to procure. Cal nitrate you can get online or at your local nursery or professional gardening supply place for pretty cheap, although you will have to buy a relatively large quantity. A couple of kilos will last you a while for those few plants. Make sure it is sealed up otherwise it turns into Playdoh.
thanks for taking the time to answer Gerardo

I will be going with fabric grow bags (looks like 8 gallons will do the job, liked a set of 3 GardenMate felt bags on amazon)

The sub-irrigated planters is an eye opener but since this is still a new hobby, I'd rather dip my toes in the kiddy's pool first. For a start, hand watering will do the job with no worries about insects and I will be able to share a a bag with the family for the balcony.

The espoma garden lime sounds good and is not costly, will go this route.

I've enjoyed reading your thread from beginning to end when I first joined. Correct me if I'm wrong plz, is it possible to grow tomatoes at any time during the year providing you control the temp/light?
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Old December 20, 2016   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ricky Shaw View Post
My two Cosmonaut Volkov grew tall and broad, 4-stemmed in 15gal fabric pots. Be ready for that, there is a lot of variety to this variety. I think Territorial lists theirs as a determinate, the Daves Garden guy commented he wouldn't share seed, becasue it grew out differently three years in a row.

No matter in the long run though, you can grow the burliest of toms in a 5 gal container by reducing the number of stems. It's noteworthy that keeping the plants hydrated is easier as you go up in pot size if you're hand-watering.
Thanks for the tips Ricky, I have no idea how my Cosmonaut Volkov will look like. I bought the seeds from Solana and 2017 will be the first year I grow this variety. I will be planting it in my raised bed and in one grow bag to share. What would you suggest for a 'forgiving' compact tomato in a grow bag?
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Old December 20, 2016   #10
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Check out the Dwarf Project section of the site.

Also most of the released dwarf project tomatoes are available at Victory Seeds:
http://www.victoryseeds.com/dwarf-tomato-project.html

Dwarf tomatoes (smaller plants with a wide variety of fruit sizes, colors, etc) do wonderful in 5 gallon buckets for me.
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Old December 20, 2016   #11
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You can grow any time of the year, although controlling those two things can be tricky. And winter tomatoes tend to suffer on the flavor front. Glad you enjoyed the thread.

I'll second jmsieglaff's suggestion, dwarfs are awesome and reflect the efforts of many tomatovillians. Rosella Purple and Tasm Choc have done well for me. I like Pit Viper too.

There are micro-dwarfs for small containers (1-2 gallon), Mohamed is a solid one.
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Old December 20, 2016   #12
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@jm @gerardo Thank you for the suggestions. Now I have to order more seeds

I'll play it safe with either Rosella Purple or Tasm Choc. I'll pass on Mohamed, last week my payment got withheld because the order description had the word ISIS, I had ordered ISIS Candy seeds!

These scum even ruined the Egyptian goddess' name
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Old December 20, 2016   #13
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I haven't grown Tasm Choc yet myself, but really love Rosella Purple. It pumped out lots of medium sized tomatoes that were delicious.
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Old December 20, 2016   #14
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I haven't grown Tasm Choc yet myself, but really love Rosella Purple. It pumped out lots of medium sized tomatoes that were delicious.
Perfect, just ordered Rosella Purple seeds!

Thanks again for your input
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Old December 21, 2016   #15
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I grow in pro mix, and have used everything from 20 gallon down to 5 gallon, if you can keep them watered you can grow anything in a 5 gallon, maybe smaller. This year I am doing two plants in 5 gallon grow bags, about 2000 of them. The trick is keeping them fed and watered. I have a friend up the road that grows in tiny rock wool cubes, maybe a gallon or so, and he produces massive amounts of market quality tomatoes.
Maybe start with larger containers until you get a feel for growing in them, but I think when you see how much media they eat up you will down size in time.
Good luck
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