Tomatoville® Gardening Forums


Notices

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

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old August 3, 2016   #1
nniemiec
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: chicago
Posts: 48
Default Growing toms in 5 Gal Construction Buckets

For those of you that optimize your self-watering gutter systems with aerated buckets & properly amended soil-less mixture - how tall are you able to grow indeterminates? I assume most astute growers prune to a single stem as well to encourage centered-growth.
nniemiec is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 3, 2016   #2
encore
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: wisconsin
Posts: 430
Default

mine got to 6 feet then i cut the tops, didn't prune the stems, just let them go, i was gone for 5 days ealier and they kinda got out of control, and are sagging down, tried to get them tied up but kept damaging the branches so i'm just letting them go. lol
encore is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 3, 2016   #3
luigiwu
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: ny
Posts: 1,202
Default

They can grow as tall as your structure allows you to support them. I try and prune to only 2 to 3 stems at the beginning of the season but I don't have the time to be on top of the pruning everyday/week so I pretty much let them go wild after the 4th of july...
http://tomatoville.com/showthread.ph...ighlight=urban
__________________
Subirrigated Container gardening (RGGS) in NY, Zone 7!

Last edited by luigiwu; August 3, 2016 at 12:43 PM.
luigiwu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 3, 2016   #4
nniemiec
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: chicago
Posts: 48
Default

you have a great set-up Luigi - would you mind sharing w. me how you feed your toms? I'm leaning toward downsizing to 5 gal buckets next year since the larger (18 gal)containers are just more work vs. & not much more yield...vs. smaller containers.
nniemiec is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 3, 2016   #5
luigiwu
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: ny
Posts: 1,202
Default

Thanks! The magic of the system imo is the float and the bottom gutter. I am using 5 gallon HD buckets and 10gallon root pouches (I plant 2 in the root pouches.)
I put a cup of 10-10-10 as a ring at the top at the beginning of the season. I supplement a little bit with calcium nitrate to battle BER when they are flowering heavily.
Everything is ripening now so I expect there to be another bout of flowering where I will supplement with Masterblend fertilizer (and Epsom salt + Calcium Nitrate) to take it through to November I expect.
One of these seasons, I want to try amending using natural products like Alfafa pellets, oyster shells etc like someone else on here ( I think Fonseca) does...
But right now for busy me, this gives me great results for the amount of time/effort I can allot to it...
I'll try and take some pics this weekend to update that thread...
__________________
Subirrigated Container gardening (RGGS) in NY, Zone 7!

Last edited by luigiwu; August 3, 2016 at 12:50 PM.
luigiwu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 3, 2016   #6
nniemiec
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: chicago
Posts: 48
Default

i noticed you only aerate your buckets towards the bottom of them? if i'm seeing that correctly, why only at the bottom vs. all over the bucket? thanks!
nniemiec is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 3, 2016   #7
luigiwu
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: ny
Posts: 1,202
Default

I personally am not all that convinced that the holes in the buckets do anything. Assuming most of the root is at the bottom (seeking water) I like to think the aeration at the bottom at least helps with root pruning, if nothing else. Since sometimes I don't get around to covering the tops like this year, the holes at the bottom will help with drainage if there is a big storm.
__________________
Subirrigated Container gardening (RGGS) in NY, Zone 7!
luigiwu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 3, 2016   #8
Gerardo
Tomatovillian™
 
Gerardo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: San Diego-Tijuana
Posts: 2,525
Default

I recently culled a multi stemmed plant and it was 15 ft +. I have a couple of Cowlick's Bwine that have gone up, down, and are going up again loaded with fruit. So they should be at the 15 ft range also.

I followed AKMark's advice to prune all the way and it promotes flowering/new growth. I'd like to say I'm diligent on all my pruning duties, yes I'd like to say that.

Container size: with constant hydration the volume requirements go down significantly; mine are reusable shopping bags inside dollar store baskets with holes. I'd guesstimate they hold 4 gallons of mix, with about 3 inches of mulch.

Your 5 gal buckets will provide enough volume to produce some tall beasts.

Fertilizer strip, periodic liquid nutes + Ca, and compost tea as a drench completes the combo. Eventually I'll fertigate, just not right now.
Gerardo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 4, 2016   #9
BajaMitch
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: California
Posts: 84
Default

luigiwu and Gerardo, what potting mix exactly do you fill your 5 gallon buckets with? That is, by volume what is your potting mix recipe (brands used would help as well).

Thank you, in advance.
BajaMitch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 5, 2016   #10
Gerardo
Tomatovillian™
 
Gerardo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: San Diego-Tijuana
Posts: 2,525
Default

Hard to give you exact percentages, since I recycle a fair amount of the mix, and it has various brands in it.

Guesstimate, by volume:

20 % perlite (big bag of Aztec perlite, cheap at the hydro store, especially if it's an open bag)
10 % coco coir (blocks purchased in previous seasons, still lingers)
30 % Peat moss (at Home Depot, 14 USD or so for the bale, label used to be white, now it's black)
25 % veg compost-worm castings-sheep manure (my own, and other sources)
The rest fine bark-small wood chips (many sources)

Amendments Alfalfa Meal, Crab Meal, granulated fertilizer strip, dol lime, drench w favorable microbiology. Guanos make it in there too sometimes

Last edited by Gerardo; August 6, 2016 at 10:50 AM.
Gerardo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 6, 2016   #11
My Foot Smells
Tomatovillian™
 
My Foot Smells's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Pulaski County, Arkansas
Posts: 1,240
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerardo View Post
Hard to give you exact percentages, since I recycle a fair amount of the mix, and it has various brands in it.

Guesstimate, by volume:

20 % perlite (big bag of Aztec perlite, cheap at the hydro store, especially if its an open bag)
10 % coco coir (blocks purchased in previous seasons, still lingers)
30 % Peat moss (at Home Depot, 14 USD or so for the bale, label used to be white, now it's black)
25 % veg compost-worm castings-sheep manure (my own, and other sources)
The rest fine bark-small wood chips (many sources)

Amendments Alfalfa Meal, Crab Meal, granulated fertilizer strip, dol lime, drench w favorable microbiology. Guanos make it in there too sometimes
Nice mixology.

Q: I've got a free source of perlite minus bag (pic), but it is the small granule. This guy works for chem company that ships liquids and they use the coarse perlite for packing. He gets the rubble, and has a mountain (literally) of the stuff over a 20 yr. span. I can bring my trailer and load up.

Is the small granule stuff even worth the effort? I've tossed a few wheelbarrow loads here and there. But getting interesting in mixing my own batch for buckets and pots, as the aftermarket bag of potting mix is $$$.

perlite.jpg
My Foot Smells is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 6, 2016   #12
PhilaGardener
Tomatovillian™
 
PhilaGardener's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Near Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 1,602
Default

Wow, that is a great source of perlite! I wonder how to find that sort of operation discarding "fines" in my area . . . Has anyone else has luck locating sources like that?
PhilaGardener is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 6, 2016   #13
My Foot Smells
Tomatovillian™
 
My Foot Smells's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Pulaski County, Arkansas
Posts: 1,240
Default

philly, wish i had another picture. his pile looks like ski slope in tahoe early march. it's massive. but sandlike........

my neighbor across the holler, does saddle bred horses, which as you can imagine, get fed filet mignon (figurativeally speaking of course). i've gotten a few loads, but the ants go nuts on the stuff.

maybe it would be in my interest to get one of those cheap concrete mixers (electric) and work on a mix. man, i'm just too tired to chop it up by hand. but come fall, may be in different frame of mind.
My Foot Smells is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 6, 2016   #14
luigiwu
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: ny
Posts: 1,202
Default

I use the Larry Hall DIY potting mix - I am sure its covered in one of his youtubes somewhere. How big are you planning your RGGS garden to be? A bag of Perlite from Home Depot runs around $16 and goes a ways. I think maybe only two bags max was needed to do all the containers you see (with leftover.)

Larry Hall DIY Potting MIX (SWC medium must be peat based ie. soil-less.):
2 (5-gallon) bucket of peat moss (dry)
1 (5-gallon) bucket of well-rotted manure or compos
1 3-quarts coarse Perlite
1.5 cups Garden lime
½ c Epsom Salt

Mix Well.
To use/plant in 5-gallon container, mix in the top ⅓ of container potting mix with extra

1 cup of lime
handful of epsom salt.
__________________
Subirrigated Container gardening (RGGS) in NY, Zone 7!

Last edited by luigiwu; August 6, 2016 at 10:29 AM.
luigiwu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 6, 2016   #15
Nematode
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: massachusetts
Posts: 1,542
Default

Is it like dust or is it small granules?
Seems like you could adjust up the perlite fraction of a mix if its fine granules compared to coarse and achieve a similar result.

Also of interest is how some larger particles are important for aeration.

It seems any grow media is a balancing act of air filled porosity and water holding capacity.


Figure 1 is interesting.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sour...H-4VzLUqM_3cjA
Nematode is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 09:42 PM.


★ Tomatoville® is a registered trademark of Commerce Holdings, LLC ★ All Content ©2017 Commerce Holdings, LLC ★