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

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Old March 28, 2019   #16
FarmerShawn
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I had a successful experiment last year with a five gallon bucket design. I drilled a large hole about 2.5" up from the bottom, then drilled smaller 1/2" holes around the rest of the bucket for aeration. I got a cheap plastic colander from the dollar store. I had to snip off the handle to make it fit into the bucket, but it fit nice and snug. So now I've got an easy to fill self watering container. Just run the hose into the large side hole until it runs back out. I grew peppers in it, but I have no doubt it would work for almost anything.
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Old March 28, 2019   #17
Scooty
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MuddyBuckets View Post
Has anyone grown cantaloupe or other melon successfully in a 5 gallon bucket? If so, was it a self watering bucket? What growing medium did you use? Fertilization? Watering frequency in the summer heat with full sun? Look forward to ideas and suggestions since I have no garden space to let the plants sprawl.




I've seen watermelons grow pretty on rooftops in 5 gallon buckets.
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Old March 28, 2019   #18
MdTNGrdner
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greatgardens View Post
Thanks for the idea & pix! I like your idea, and think I'll try a milk jug in my 10-gallon gro-bags.

The gallon jug only has holes at the shoulder (none at the bottom)? So in order for the jug to provide moisture between waterings, the plants roots must grow into the holes?

If possible, could you post a pic of the jug with its holes? (Trying to get an idea of how large/how many).



You're welcome! I can't take credit for the idea but I hope it helps some gardeners out there - for us they're simple and we already had most of the materials on hand. Nice pics SQUIBB and Scooty by the way!


Some roots will grow into the milk jug but others spread out in the bucket. Just plant somewhere over the "holes" area so they can reach it soonest. I've read container info over the years that make it seem that the roots in the water would drown, rot, and make the plants ill but I've not seen that happen in three seasons so .... ?? YMMV When you're pulling the plant you'll see roots going everywhere, it's pretty cool. Maybe it would be a problem if it was more long-term? I don't know.



It seems that grow bags would work similarly, and I think the extra volume would be even better for the plants and might allow extra yield.


The pictures below show the milk jug uncovered and then I pulled the PVC out to show that part. Really simple.
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Old March 28, 2019   #19
Scooty
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The alternative build is to double bucket.




Source.
The jug method is simpler, but you also have less soil mass, which may or may not be good depending on what you plan to grow. The double bucket alloys you to design a bigger reservoir, though.

Last edited by Scooty; March 28, 2019 at 07:16 PM. Reason: adding link
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Old March 28, 2019   #20
JRinPA
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I did brussels sprouts last year bucket in bucket. like scooty's pic...4 gal white deli food buckets. They did so well right up until late august when they got mobbed by harlequin bugs. I use dairy pint cups (sour cream etc) for the wick. I've used a raingutter system for a few years now as well that works the same way, but a communal reservoir. The original mix I use is compost/aged horsemanure/peat/perlite. After the season I cut off the plant, cover top with leaf mulch, and leave the bucket intact until spring. When replanting in Spring, I dump the bucket into a wheelbarrow, remove roots, add compost and a couple TBSP of 10-10-10, and reset wick with peat and perlite. It has worked really well for peas, lettuce, beets, among others. I tried summer squash and got SVB just like on the ground. Cucumbers still got cucumber beetles and wilted up before really producing.

If you grow melons onto a trellis I don't see why it wouldn't produce, but the pests still get on it. I am considering doing cantaloupe myself this year on the rain gutter. When I do them on the ground I always lose half to splits from heavy rains and hidden fruit.

Last year I did peppers in the rain gutter and modified my regimen with a large amount of 10-10-10, something like 3/4 cup in a ring around the top edge - an idea from here on tomatoville...the production from that was quite astounding. They put out until November, but I haven't dumped them yet to see what the medium looks like now.
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Old March 29, 2019   #21
Greatgardens
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Thanks for the added pic of the jug w/holes. I think that it will work great in my 10 gal grow bags. IIRC, they are 15" wide, so there should be plenty of room. I really like the simplicity.
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