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

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Old January 11, 2019   #1
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Default Potting Mix Trials

Testing a new potting mix for my indoor garden. The Bio-char is being added for water retention and nutrient retention and to reduces soil acidity decreasing liming needs.
If this works out, next fall I will be adding my city compost from the recycle center.

Used this mix for the 1 gallon pots and one grow bag, marked w/red tape
  • 2 bucket (3 gallons) peat moss
  • 1 bucket (2 gallons) Perlite
  • 1 bucket (2 gallons) Black Kow composted cow manure
  • 1 bucket (2 gallons) Coffee grounds
  • 1 bucket (2 gallons) Bio-char
  • 1 cup pelleted time-release fertilizer (osmocote plus) (6 scoops)
  • 1/4 cup of Blood Meal
  • 1 cup lime (to counter the acid of peat and keep the pH level near neutral
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Old January 11, 2019   #2
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Do you have a local price source for Biochar SQUIBB? The online sellers are charging $40/bag Not a big deal for a small quantity to be used in pots , but otherwise I hope it is worth the cost for larger usage.


- Lisa
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Old January 11, 2019   #3
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I make my own Bio char.
I was hoping to get a better yield out of my Potting mix using some of my own ingredients.
Hoping for better nutrient and water retention for my indoor grow.
Also figured that coffee grounds would add some ferts, at least nitrogen.
Hoping to do away with black cow and using compost from our recycle center, and hoping the coarse biochar reduces the need for lime and perlite.

After the indoor grow, potting mix will be used in the pond for my aquaponic peppers, then at the end of the season they'll be dumped in the hugelkultur beds. Figured I could add a bit more biochar to help filter the pond.
Well that's the plan anyway
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Old January 11, 2019   #4
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i may be wrong about this, but over the years I have been told by nursery experts that organic manures should not be used in containers- I don't recall the reason behind it, but I usually use a slow release fertilizer along with water solubles.
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Old January 12, 2019   #5
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Jo, I've read something along the same line about the cow manure, and I don't remember what it was why not to use it either. I do remember reading it though.

Sqwibb, I understand using what you have. The potting mix I'm going to start with this year is going to have chunky perlite and 10-10-10 fertilizer in it because those are what I have plenty of. I will use the 10-10-10 sparingly.
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Old January 12, 2019   #6
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Manure has the possibility of burning tender roots, and is slow to breakdown and need bacteria present to help break it down. Black Kow does have bacteria present.
Manure based products can have pathogens if not composted properly. I'm not worried about any of this with Black Kow.
Black kow appears to have a bit of sand In it. So far so good.
Adding manure to pots could make drainage a bit more problematic, I have not had this problem yet.

Last edited by SQWIBB; January 12, 2019 at 08:18 AM.
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Old January 12, 2019   #7
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Default manure in contqiners

I haunt my Lowe's garden shop for broken bags of growing media- they sell them for 50% off. For years I have used mixtures for both my in ground and containers with great results. Also add ground leaves every fall, and sometimes coffee grounds from my local Starbuck's.
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Old January 14, 2019   #8
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My new potting mix hasn't killed anything yet.



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Old January 15, 2019   #9
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Interesting. I'd never heard of BioChar. It is particularly interesting to me as a carbon sequestration vehicle. I had heard of adding charcoal to planting mixes -- maybe for African Violets? So evidently about the same idea.
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Old January 15, 2019   #10
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Regarding the high price of bio-char why not just buy a bag of BBQ charcoal the wood stuff not the briquets.
This stuff is 100% wood charcoal.
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Old January 16, 2019   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Worth1 View Post
Regarding the high price of bio-char why not just buy a bag of BBQ charcoal the wood stuff not the briquets.
This stuff is 100% wood charcoal.

Yes, it's called Lump Charcoal.


I make my own Bio-char, but folks that dont have that option could try the lump, actually if anyone uses a charcoal grill or smoker, try the lump out for cooking as well, far superior than charcoal unless you are trying to do something like the minion and snake methods for smoking.
I use hardwood for smoking on my gasser and if done the way I like, I end up with a hunk of "Lump" charcoal that can be used for cooking or char.


  • 2 pieces of cherry just about done smoking.






  • Finished





  • The piece to the left is not quite finished



  • A lot of folks think that they need to have ashes for the wood to be done, I pull it before it ashes over because once it gets to that point, the smoke becomes much heavier, I am just looking for a wisp of smoke.



  • I have made it in a retort



  • Made it in a regular fire using pallets as a fuel









  • This stuff burns hot, I done some trials using as fuel for my stickburner and adding splits for a bit of smoke, it was just too labor intensive.





  • The reason I started this project was because me and a buddy cut a few cords of wood infested with Wasp beetles.







Sorry to get off track
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Old January 16, 2019   #12
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I used to haul truck loads of hard wood we cut to the charcoal plant to turn into charcoal to then get hauled to the Kingsford plant in Arkansas to make the briqets.
Those trucks used to fly by the house headed to Arkansas smoke still wafting from them.
Hard work to say the least.
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Old January 16, 2019   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Worth1 View Post
I used to haul truck loads of hard wood we cut to the charcoal plant to turn into charcoal to then get hauled to the Kingsford plant in Arkansas to make the briqets.
Those trucks used to fly by the house headed to Arkansas smoke still wafting from them.
Hard work to say the least.



Interesting, but I bet it smelled awesome.


I only use Briquettes when cooking on my Dutch Oven, and I prefer to cook over wood, so there's always plenty of Ash and Bio-char to be had.












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Old January 18, 2019   #14
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January 15th, 2019


The new potting mix seems to be fine so far.







January 17th, 2019


Potting mix seems OK, hasn't killed anything yet

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Old February 3, 2019   #15
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Default Using manure in containers

You would not want to use fresh manure in containers (well, you could maybe add a cup to 5 gallons). Adding a little aged manure is fine. Adding Black Cow Manure is okay since it is aged. But consider it an amendment not as the soil.
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