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

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Old April 20, 2019   #46
seaeagle
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Originally Posted by Barb_FL View Post
What do you use in your homemade compost?

I've been using more coir this year also. I buy the brick and rinse it over time until the water run clears. It gets rain, or the hot water from the hose so I'm not wasting any water getting rid of the salts. Some brands I like much better than others.

WonderSoil, then for the cheaper ones: General Hydroponics CocoTek, then Root Organic are my favorites.

The Canna one was loose coir, and really good, but it is a different class and price point.

There were a bunch I didn't like - I will list if anyone is interested.

What are your favorites?

The only coir I have ever used is this


https://www.walmart.com/ip/Expert-Ga...lock/926142788


This is made by PlantBest in Canada and rebranded with the Walmart brand. It is pre-rinsed using no chemicals.


https://plantbest.com/


Someone did an analysis on it and it had less salt than tap water. I did not rinse mine. One less step



Expert Gardener Coco Coir is selling at my local Walmart. Brought it home for testing against 2 other highly rated coco coirs from Amazon. Sourced near the oceans, coco coir has salts that often need to be washed out prior to use. After pouring reverse osmosis water through, Expert Gardener measured with the least dissolved solids: Triumph Plant Coco Coir Bricks $16.95 for 6.26 lbs: 939 ppm (Poor, needs lots of washing) Coco Bliss Premium Coconut Coir $19.89 for 10lbs: 594 ppm (Ok, needs more washing) Expert Gardener $7.97 for 8.25lbs: 119 ppm (Very Good) Keep in mind, tap water is typically 200+ ppm so if you're not using reverse osmosis water, this is perfect out of the package.


As for what I use in compost. Long list. Almost anything.


Grass, weeds, eggshells, plants that are finished in the garden like okra, collards and kale etc, coffee grinds, food waste, wood bark from old firewood, newspaper, cardboard boxes.



And I have one special compost drum that just old rotten tomatoes and cantaloupe go in and soldier fly maggots compost that. Composting is fun for me.
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Old April 20, 2019   #47
Barb_FL
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Thanks - That is a great price from Walmart - 2.25 CU Ft when most are 2.5, but it is about half as much $. I ordered 3 - and of course it is ready.

I have a composter, but it takes forever. Finally after a year, I pulled out some compost and I had layered with straw/hay early on and it wasn't broken down.

I had composting worms which were relatively fast, but left for a month with my neighbor taking care of them.....I will say no more.

Now that I don't have my worms, I'm more faithful using the composter, but haven't taken anything out since the first time. Full sun, it's a good one, easy to open, etc. Maybe it is too dry.

How long does yours take?
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Old April 20, 2019   #48
Nan_PA_6b
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I have a hard time remembering to tumble the composters every day.
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Old April 20, 2019   #49
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Lol, I can’t remember to tumble mine every day either, si I do it when I have to empty the waste crock in the kitchen.
I use mine to take the edge off the raw kitchen scraps for about a month then I layer it onto the worm bins. (These are just smart pots that are too beat up for tomato growing.)
My composter has 2 chambers which lets me alternate with kitchen scraps.
Eventually the worm bins get dumped onto the fruit trees and I cycle through again.
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Old April 20, 2019   #50
seaeagle
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Thanks - That is a great price from Walmart - 2.25 CU Ft when most are 2.5, but it is about half as much $. I ordered 3 - and of course it is ready.

I have a composter, but it takes forever. Finally after a year, I pulled out some compost and I had layered with straw/hay early on and it wasn't broken down.

I had composting worms which were relatively fast, but left for a month with my neighbor taking care of them.....I will say no more.

Now that I don't have my worms, I'm more faithful using the composter, but haven't taken anything out since the first time. Full sun, it's a good one, easy to open, etc. Maybe it is too dry.

How long does yours take?

I cannot remember how long it took to make it the first time. I am thinking close to a year. You can make in much shorter time if you go by the book, but I just throw everything in the barrels and it works out. I have five 55 gallons drums and 4 of them they stay full all the time. The other barrel is for ready compost until I can get it bagged up



Here is a good Youtube video on composting


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4JssQPTYF8


https://www.youtube.com/results?sear...making+compost

Last edited by seaeagle; April 20, 2019 at 09:51 PM.
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Old May 1, 2019   #51
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Aloha all,
As I have posted before. I had a hard time when I started using coco. But it finally paid off this winter. After using the same mix (coco coir, perlite & hydroton) for 2yrs or 3 Hawaii seasons. I came to understand that plain water flushing was not working. I bought Gen Hydro liquid flush. Repeated twice and plain water twice also. The results really helped and I finally grew some great tomatoes. The 2nd part which came to me this year was the fact that I also use a liquid cal-mag additive. For tomatoes it's a must, but after reading more about coco. The flush clears any salts and the cal-mag unlocks the coco so it can accept and distribute nutrients, micros and macros to the root systems and overall health of plants.
I did add a new brick of coco this season, following the same regiment with a new set of nutrients. So now it's wait and see if it works. So far, my 1 Big Cheef and the 5 everglades are loving it. Cauliflower and lettuce still growing strong.
Aloha,
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Old May 4, 2019   #52
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Seaeagle - I bought that coir from Walmart. It expanded really fast; I was comparing it to another brand (one I really don't like - PlantIt or GrowIt) and the difference was huge although the 11 lb ones do make significant more coir.

I could tell it was expanding so fast I let it do so in an Earthbox with a screen over the EB screen so not to loose the coir when washing. It filled an EB expanded so maybe the 2.25 CU feet is when it is fluffed.

Huge difference between expansion, color.

I'm still washing it before using it though.

----
On another note, I was transplanted some pepper seedlings and decided to use my compost from my compost bin. It is the one that has the little doors on the bottom that slide up. When I did that and was scooping out the compost it was full of palmetto bugs / roaches. It wasn't compost either; very dry. It was so gross; The roaches were scurrying ever which way. I then dumped the 'compost' on top and started watering it. The last time I used 'compost' was in November and that was the first time in a year.

Composting worms are a lot more efficient.

-----
Joyce - my grow bags that are no longer suitable for planting anything big, I cut down and used as a 'raised bed' for growing lettuce. It worked great.
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Old May 4, 2019   #53
PlainJane
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Barb - I’ll have to remember that trick as it’s always the top that finally rips.

My compost hasn’t been plagued with palmetto bugs but fruit flies get in through the screens on the vents. Annoying when I open the door to add new scraps.
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Old May 22, 2019   #54
seaeagle
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Walmart Coco Coir has a reduced price. I like it and it grows stuff really well. Potted up all my tomato plants with half compost and half coco coir and they grew strong with big beautiful main stems. Melons, squash, everything grew well in it.


https://www.walmart.com/ip/Expert-Ga...lock/926142788






Picked squash twice before they were put in the garden and I guess they didn't like the cold soil. They shut down for over a week. It got hot and they are starting to grow again now.


WIN_20190509_144749.JPG

Last edited by seaeagle; May 22, 2019 at 12:20 PM.
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Old August 18, 2019   #55
Barb_FL
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So how are you coir growers doing?

My season will be starting shortly. Over the summer, I bought a bunch of stuff to experiment with on the new season.

On the coir, I left the 2 Earthboxes that I expanded in May outside since and we have had a ton of rain.

What I can say, is there is basically no weeds, On the two earthboxes, there may be 2 tiny diameter 1" weeds. whereas my peat based potting mix (earthboxes, root pouches) that I never finished removing / solarizing is full of weeds.

I'm going to solarize the remaining in the black 3 Mil bags instead of the better clear ones, just to make sure the weeds die.
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Old August 18, 2019   #56
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Doing fine here in south Florida. Started my 40 tomato seedlings in coir/ProMix. Had a ton of rain as well, but not to bad last 2 days. Will transplant my 5 pepper seedlings next weekend into their 20 gallon home. Let's hope ALL the hurricanes stay out to sea!
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Old August 18, 2019   #57
jtjmartin
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I picked up a bunch of coir for this next season - please keep the hints and tips coming!
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Old August 18, 2019   #58
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I picked up a bunch of coir for this next season - please keep the hints and tips coming!
Will do; I hope other's that season is peaking will chime in.

Here's some stuff I bought to try:

Rice Hulls - alternative to Perlite????

Coir Grow Slabs - Fibredust brands - all were delivered broken; but I'm thinking that once hydrated they should coagulate.

Fibredust grow cubes

3 bags each of Happy Frog and Coco Loco, plus a free 3 CU bag of Ko Ko Bop (promotion for spending $)

A couple of Rockwool slabs and the tray.

A few more Rockwool grow cubes - I used the 6" cube and grew a great SunOrange plant.

Lots of coir - different kinds, plus the Root Organics Coco Chips to try to make my own mix without perlite. I even bought 2 more cubes of the wonder soil when it was on sale at Homedepot.

3 bales of ProMix - (I always use this, but began mixing with coir last season)

I love to experiment.
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Old August 18, 2019   #59
Barb_FL
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Doing fine here in south Florida. Started my 40 tomato seedlings in coir/ProMix. Had a ton of rain as well, but not to bad last 2 days. Will transplant my 5 pepper seedlings next weekend into their 20 gallon home. Let's hope ALL the hurricanes stay out to sea!
What hurricanes???

You start early. When did you sow them - Do you have seedlings yet? I was going to wait until Sept 1, but the nights are actually back in the 70s. Probably because we have been getting late afternoon showers for weeks now that stop around 6 or 7 so it is actually decent outside then.

I'm going to grow the seeds you sent me: Black from Tula, Stump of the World (both I've grown before), Dark Queen, Garnet (see how it compares to SunChocola)
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Old August 26, 2019   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barb_FL View Post
Will do; I hope other's that season is peaking will chime in.

Here's some stuff I bought to try:

Rice Hulls - alternative to Perlite????

Coir Grow Slabs - Fibredust brands - all were delivered broken; but I'm thinking that once hydrated they should coagulate.

Fibredust grow cubes

3 bags each of Happy Frog and Coco Loco, plus a free 3 CU bag of Ko Ko Bop (promotion for spending $)

A couple of Rockwool slabs and the tray.

A few more Rockwool grow cubes - I used the 6" cube and grew a great SunOrange plant.

Lots of coir - different kinds, plus the Root Organics Coco Chips to try to make my own mix without perlite. I even bought 2 more cubes of the wonder soil when it was on sale at Homedepot.

3 bales of ProMix - (I always use this, but began mixing with coir last season)

I love to experiment.
Interesting list. I bought a couple of compressed bricks of coconut coir locally. Most of the box stores don't have it or have it only in a mix. A hydroponics (etc) store in nearby Winter Park called Root Grow Bloom has different types of coco coir.

We picked up a lemon tree over the weekend on travels in Lake County (FL) at a nursery (and an avocado.) I think we'll have to dig out a big area for the trees and fill with plenty of improved soil, so might have to resort to peat just based on bulk quantity readily available, but I'd like to mix some coir in if it's going to help keep the soil light and moist.

I've been watching YouTube videos from a guy in Australia under the banner "Self-Sufficient Me." He's near Brisbane, and I think his zone is about 9 or 10, so similar to ours in Central Florida. The thing that he uses a lot of that I wondered about is sugar cane as mulch. You'd think Florida would be awash in used sugar cane and the mulch would be plentiful. A little research yielded that the growers simply burn it in the fields, but cited other countries' practices of using it for mulch. https://civileats.com/2019/07/15/bur...ange-the-game/

Sorry, a little off topic.
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