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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 12, 2017   #1
VC Scott
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Default EarthBox Issue

This is my first year growing in containers. The plants I have in containers are doing great and tasting great. However the two plants I have in an EarthBox, Cherokee Purple and Momotaro, are very bland and the texture is mushy, especially at the bottom. The Cherokee Purple has many fruit with concentric cracks and there is also some split fruit like you would expect from over-watering. Fruit on the Momotaro looks beautiful, but the flavor isn't there.

The size of the fruit is in the normal range. 8-12 oz for Cherokee Purple, 4-8 oz for Momotaro. There is a purplish cast on new growth on the Cherokee Purple, but it doesn't take long to correct itself. The plants are trained to three stems.

I followed the instructions on the Earth-Box with great care. I would appreciate any advice. Maybe its just the cloudy, humid weather we have had?

I have grown both of these varieties in the ground and never had a problem.
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Old June 12, 2017   #2
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Mine are too, for the first few fruit. Usually the taste gets much better mid season when the plant is more mature, but those first fruit can be watery. Depends on the variety to some extent too.
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Old June 13, 2017   #3
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I'm guessing the medium used is too water absorbing. Or the fertilizer isn't decomposing as it should (organic?). First fruits should not be watery. And cracking does suggest some problem with watering (although the Cherokee will have some stem cracking no matter what).
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Old June 13, 2017   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zipcode View Post
I'm guessing the medium used is too water absorbing. Or the fertilizer isn't decomposing as it should (organic?). First fruits should not be watery. And cracking does suggest some problem with watering (although the Cherokee will have some stem cracking no matter what).
I use promix BX.
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Old June 13, 2017   #5
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I haven't seen any personally, but on paper sounds to be mostly peat which could be a bit 'watery' for a SIP.
If too watery, add more fertilizer, this will inhibit too much absorption from the plant. Maybe the roots of the plant aren't grown enough to reach the fertilizer until it's bigger (the taste of the fruit is decided during it's growth not only the final stage).
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Old June 13, 2017   #6
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Peat is needed for the SWC. It uses a wicking mechanism to work. Cant be done without.
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Old June 13, 2017   #7
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Quote:
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Peat is needed for the SWC. It uses a wicking mechanism to work. Cant be done without.
Indeed! I've grown successfully in straight peat before. Although better to add perlite and maybe some bark chips, as I eventually learned.
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Old June 13, 2017   #8
VC Scott
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Thanks everyone. I did used ProMix BX, which I believe is what Raybo recommends.

I did notice that the container, which sits on gravel, was not quite level. The side with the filler tube was about 5 degrees higher than the opposite side. Maybe this caused extra water to flow to the side that wicks up the water?

The leaves did show some signs of a nutrient deficiency, so I top dressed with some Tomato Tone and the new growth looks much better, at least on the Momotaro side.

I will give it another month and see if texture and flavor improves with the heat.

It is a shame because the Momotaro tomatoes are perfectly round and unblemished. They could be photographed for a seed website, they just don't taste so good.
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Old June 22, 2017   #9
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Aloha all,
I have had many ups & downs with my sip's. I'm getting better at it ,but here in Hawaii the humidity and lack of bees is causing some issues. Not to mention that potting soiI is not my friend. I am now going to scrap all my medium and go soilless. I've read a ton of ideas and think perlite and moss might be my direction. I have a 4 - 30gallon tote setup with auto watering and recovery. Between ants and termites the soil isn't working for me. Any idea's ?
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Old June 25, 2017   #10
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Aloha all,
I have had many ups & downs with my sip's. I'm getting better at it ,but here in Hawaii the humidity and lack of bees is causing some issues. Not to mention that potting soiI is not my friend. I am now going to scrap all my medium and go soilless. I've read a ton of ideas and think perlite and moss might be my direction. I have a 4 - 30gallon tote setup with auto watering and recovery. Between ants and termites the soil isn't working for me. Any idea's ?
Hi Tom. Please what exactly do you have in there now? I ask so I can guide you on what you need. Also when you say moss, do you mean peat? Sun City Linda and I probably have the most experience with Earthboxes.
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Old June 25, 2017   #11
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I like that quote.
I am now growing Cherokee purple ,Japanese cucumbers and some Cherry. All seeds came from Rare seeds, which all are heritage. My edamame were great. So my frustration is when everything started flowering the ants came and things went downhill from there. I started with miracle grow garden mix. Then decided to add some commercial compost ( hawaiian company ). More ants and mushrooms and leaf mold. So that is why I'm making the switch. I want to use my totes as S.I.P. with no dirt , no top watering (if possible) and no flipping ants. I understand the insects are a seperate matter, but maybe without soil they will chose my neighbors orchids.
Thanks for your reply,
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Old June 26, 2017   #12
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Thanks,
I went and took a look at some options at the local hydroponic store. Now I am thinking my best option is Hydroton and perlite mixed together. I read a ton of stuff and now my head is spinning. But if those will wick and keep my plants watered, I'm happy. Now the fertilizer issue. I hope to connect all the reserviors together, with a pump to another water supply tote to keep the water refreshed and be able to use liquid something as fertilizer. Anyway, thats what I'm imagining as a plan.
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Old June 26, 2017   #13
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This is the first time I've grown Momotaro in both an EB & in-ground. For what it's worth, my family tasted them both today side by side and we all liked the in-ground one better. There wasn't a huge difference, but it was noticeable. The EB one had a weaker taste.
Disclaimer: This was not a scientific study . Also, the Momotaros I grew last year in-ground were waaaaay better than the ones this year.
I will continue to grow tomatoes in EBs anyways because I believe they produce more and they serve a purpose esp in areas where there are soil-borne diseases and for people who do not have a garden.
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Old June 27, 2017   #14
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would a foliar regimen with ample micronutrients improve flavor? Say like a Haifa Micro Comb or one of the many sea based products?
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Old June 27, 2017   #15
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It could help. But if the flavour is good, but kinda watered down, micros shouldn't probably help that much. One can add maybe some chemical fertilizer in there to raise that EC in the mix, to lower that water absorption a bit. I always wondered if adding more organic fertilizer will have the same effect or not.
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