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

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Old May 23, 2017   #16
bower
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yeah dm, I have a few of those puffed rocks (not many though.... I resent them!)
Good point about the moisture, this is what they describe in making a hotbed, wetting and turning it for awhile to get it to the point.

I found a lone tomato seedling that didn't get potted up. Mini Moravsky. Maybe use that for the assay as Nematode suggested.
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Old May 23, 2017   #17
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I've been using horse manure in all stages off decomposition for years and never had any problems with burning or binding up a mix. I don't measure but guess the mix to be 1 part manure to 1 part leaf mold to 1 part compost to 1 part spent container mix from previous years. I've used it straight out of the horses ... in my gardens.
Horse manure is not hot like manure from many 4 legged animals. It is more of an amendment and conditioner than a fertilizer. The manure I get is from pastured horses that are on grasses and weeds.
The manure in your picture is what I call well rotted but not composted. Use it now or later, you will love it.
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Old May 23, 2017   #18
Nematode
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Assay instructions.
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.rod...aminants%3Famp

Hope it's clean that horse puckey is good stuff.
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Old May 23, 2017   #19
bower
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Bjbebs, great info thank you! I will try that ratio in some containers this year.
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Old May 23, 2017   #20
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And thanks too, Nematode! Tangy ...
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Old May 23, 2017   #21
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I use 10 yards of horse manure in my garden to amend my soil every year there is no order if you got red worms in it then it's good to go
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Old May 23, 2017   #22
ScottinAtlanta
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Crazy bad idea for containers. I did it this year with 6 month old manure, and lost several plants to stunting, yellowing, and withering. I think the manure was still too hot for the container and might have had microbes that were not beneficial. Keep it to raised beds and larger uses, but not containers.
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Old May 23, 2017   #23
bower
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Always interesting to hear how people fare with techniques in different climates. I'll keep that in mind and be watching - it does get very hot in the greenhouse too.

Also going to try that seedling assay, see how the tomato responds, just to make sure there's no herbicide residue.. The stuff I had last year for sure didn't cause a problem, but you never know.

Nice tip about the worms - that's always a good sign to me. I use raw kelp in my containers too, so I always like to see some worm action happening in the mix.
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Old May 23, 2017   #24
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Bower
These containers are just a few of many I have. All have copious amounts of horse manure. Most have been out for 3 plus weeks in the crappiest May weather I can remember. Generally wet and very cool. If there was a problem with the mix you would see it. These plants will explode with growth by the 2nd week of June.

I believe the problems associated with using horse manure in a mix is not the age of the manure but rather the other components of the mix. You should be able to put a strong stream of water on the mix with no pooling whatsoever. If you can't, your mix is too heavy.
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Old May 23, 2017   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bower View Post
This is much like the hotbed idea. I've never done it but it sounds... perfect for this fickle climate!! However it's for seedlings under glass, afaict, otherwise the heat just dissipates.
Wonder what would happen with a layer in the bottom of the container...
hotbeds are cool!
http://www.holon.se/garden/howto/hotbed_en.shtml
Cool?
Not at this price. They've been doing this a long time.
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Old May 23, 2017   #26
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That is a crazy pineapple plan! Extreme hotbedding.
Bjbebs your plants are looking great, and not a bit stressed by cold/wet conditions or by manure either. That is good advice about judging the mix, and I will pay attention. I got the wrong stuff last year - 'triple mix' I was told 1/3 compost 1/3 peat and 1/3 sand, but when they delivered it turned out 1/3 was topsoil instead of sand - and that means clay in this area. It was alright for garden but not for containers and I was stuck with it. Other materials arrived after plant out bit by bit... it was a real shambles trying to fix the stuff after the fact.
The peat and compost that I have are excellent quality, kelp helps to aerate a bit until it breaks down, so I'll see what the texture is like using 1/4 or maybe 1/3 cut of the manure.
I also thought about keeping 1/4 or less of last year's just to make up volume but may be better to cycle it all outdoors.
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Old May 23, 2017   #27
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I'd jab myself in the eye before putting manure or compost in a container. The nutritive value is soon exhausted and for decent production you'll need to fertilize regardless. So why bother with an amendment that has distinct potential to contain persistent herbicides, soilborne pathogens, and is prone to compaction.
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Old May 23, 2017   #28
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That sucks!!
Someone around here keeps saying to plant bean seeds and see what happens to them. If they die you know it's full of pesticide.
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Old May 24, 2017   #29
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Bower, it comes down to what the horses ate. I have researched so much about adding manures to any growing medium, and there are so many thoughts out there that it becomes confusing. Two of the most highly acclaimed manures are rabbit and chicken manure. A large amount of sites says that chicken manure needs to be hot composted. I personally don't want a hot compost of chicken manure going on near my home. Rabbit manure can be used without composting and is high in N and P with some K. Horse manure pales in comparison, but more is not always better.

I chose one site at random that has a comparison table http://www.plantea.com/manure.htm
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Old May 24, 2017   #30
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Yes... I found it very interesting in the hotbed link, that grain fed horse manure was specified for the purpose of a winter hotbed.
We are not in a grain producing area here, and everything imported to the island is expensive. The normal practice here in Conception Bay is that a household with one or two horses has pasture for them, although some grain may be fed to supplement the diet in winter. These households also use the manure in their own garden. In this case, the owner was giving away what he didn't need, so my only cost is the delivery.
There is some hay made here on the Avalon, but where I have seen it, it appears to be on very old stands of grass. These are not fields in rotation that would need herbicide applications every year if ever - it's not easy for any weed to invade that perennial sod afaik!. The more likely source of herbicide if any would be grains that are imported and fed to the animals as a small portion of their diet.
There are a few commercial stables in the area and I used to buy manure in the past from a racehorse stable in the Goulds. These animals were probably grain fed, so the sales pitch may have been true, that it made everything grow faster. The manure was always very well rotted and older than what I have here this spring. Also full of horseshoes - there are dozens around my property from back when, and syringes, which is not so nice. I never had any problem with the stuff other than the inevitable weeds, but it may have been pre-herbicide days.
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