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Old March 31, 2018   #1
MSchep
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Default Is my Earthtainer medium still usable?

Hi All,
I'm pulling out my Earthtainers from winter storage this weekend, getting ready to plant out. There appears to be some fungal growth on the grow medium is each of the boxes. Anyone know what this is, and if this is going to be a problem for my tomatoes? I hope I don't have to start over with entirely fresh mix...

The Earthtainers were stored outside (mild CA weather), under a lightweight tarp.

Thanks in advance for the help!
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Old March 31, 2018   #2
rnewste
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What I do each Spring is to mix in 1 cu. ft of new Mix each year to the medium from the previous year. After 3 years of reusing the old blend, I empty the 'Tainer completely and replenish with a new virgin batch of the "3-2-1" combo Mix.

Raybo
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Old March 31, 2018   #3
MSchep
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Thanks Ray, yep, I’ve been able to do that in past years as well, but this is my first year with this growth when I pull the tarp off. My concern is if this likely fungus is going to harm my tomatoes. Have you ever had something similar?
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Old March 31, 2018   #4
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I have not seen that type of growth (and I probably live less than 2 miles from you). I would scrape the top 3 inches away and dispose of it. Then mix in new material. You may want to empty the EarthTainer and blend in the new Cubic foot of Mix to refill.

Raybo
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Old March 31, 2018   #5
maxjohnson
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Fungi is just part of the decomposition process. I don't think it should harm the plants.
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Old March 31, 2018   #6
zipcode
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Not sure from your pictures but I don't think that's anything fungal. Looks like salt 'crust' so to say. Happens when the mix gets totally dry, it rises at the surface for some reason. It's not literal salt but rather various salts, from fertilizer to calcium carbonate from the water. I would just scrape that top layer and you're set. I don't have self watering but reuse my mix since many years and it's still fine. A good washing with preferably rain water or the likes would be beneficial to rebalance a possible pH gone out of range.
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Old March 31, 2018   #7
MSchep
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Thanks all, very helpful!

Ray, While I have your attention, do you have any suggestions on alternatives to the Lowe's Rugged Tote for the Earthtainer? I have a little extra room this year, and was planning to build another one, but it seems that Lowe's doesn't carry those anymore!!
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Old March 31, 2018   #8
rnewste
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You might want to email Centrex Plastics to see where to now purchase their 31 gallon tote:

http://centrexplastics.com/products/r7.

This is the only brand that withstood outdoor use conditions year after year - the Rubbermaid brand were fractured by uV after 3 years of use.

Raybo
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Old April 1, 2018   #9
rdback
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rnewste View Post
...This is the only brand that withstood outdoor use conditions year after year - the Rubbermaid brand were fractured by uV after 3 years of use.

Raybo
Now there's a great little piece of info. Thanks Ray!
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Old April 3, 2018   #10
MSchep
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As an FYI, I was able to find the 31-gal Centrex Rugged Totes at Lowes (in Sunnyvale), but apparently, they only make it in blue now (and without the latches on the handles). I'm going to build with that, and keep an eye on the temp relative to my existing tan 'tainers as the weather heats up.
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Old April 3, 2018   #11
rnewste
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I would recommend you wrap the blue EarthTainer in 20" wide bamboo curtain material, to protect the exposed side from the Sun's uV. Also, on your other ones you should do the "Tainer-Tango" each Season to spin the shaddy side with the side that gets direct Sun. This will double container life of the outer shell.

Raybo
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