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

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Old October 31, 2017   #1
Greatgardens
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Default Alternatives for EarthBox mulch covers?

I need to get a new batch of covers, having depleted the last 100 or so that I bought on sale some years ago. I still might check and see if there are any sale prices near the holidays, but the regular price is now $1.49 each in lots of 50 and $1.99 in lots of less than 50.

I'm reluctant to pay that price, and I'm looking for alternatives. Trash bags -- tucked in along the sides and ends? "Top Down" (that's no cover at all!). Cedar bark mini chips? Pine straw? Straw? Or maybe something else?

Unless you are very diligent and keep the "bread loaf" raised, then there is not much benefit so far as keeping rain out. Yes, it still helps keep "dirt" from splashing on the lower leaves and stems. Some of the DIY boxes and covers that I've seen on the 'net would have no effect on keeping the rain from coming right through. (Besides, any excess water will go right out the overflow hole.)

So what do you other container gardeners doing about covers in your earthtainers -- whether EB or not. Can't believe I'm the only cheapskate here!
-GG
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Old October 31, 2017   #2
TC_Manhattan
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I use pine bark mulch, the small 1/2 inch nuggets (or chips).
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Old October 31, 2017   #3
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I saved the bags from peat or mixes to use as covers instead of using earthbox covers.
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Old October 31, 2017   #4
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Last year I used Compactor bags (can get 2 covers from one bag). It really kept the rain out. Compactor bags were from HD and $10 for 30 (or 60 covers). I used clips to attach it and finally did the tuck in method. I had so many weeds growing in the EB especially with the tuck method.

This year I'm back to the covers from EB. I decided it is just part of the cost.
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Old November 1, 2017   #5
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I use this for the porch,pool plants.They give off a nice aroma of coffeethey disperse top ground water evenly.I imagine a fabric cover,then half to one inch inside those boxes.Only downside is the mold ,overnite forming(they do advise you)and a spritz of vinegar will knock it down if it bugs you.They sun will do the trick.Second year for me.This year side by sides as a mix.Hey coffee grounds have their merit.It breaks down,it does dry shiny,nice touch for ornamentals.

https://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&ke...l_5zpb8sazhh_b

Ps there is a discussion about,here somewhere last year.
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Last edited by kurt; November 1, 2017 at 04:35 AM.
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Old November 1, 2017   #6
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Actually in lots of 50 or more they are $1.69 each. Not exactly a bargain. Barb-they are just easier, right? I keep searching for an alternative too. For years now.
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Old November 1, 2017   #7
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Yes, I remember that discussion. I tried a bag, and unfortunately it was not too successful. The shells started molding in pretty short order, and formed a big moldy mat. But I can't say that it didn't work ok as a mulch cover. I would need to be careful with it since I have a curious dog. I'll keep that one on the list!

-GG
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Old November 1, 2017   #8
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@ginger2778
Yes, I just checked and it was $1.69, now. Yesterday, I put 50 in the cart, and it was $74.50. I think a lot of these web sites change prices regularly based on how many hits they get. That can be easy to do automatically with no human intervention. You can have a "demand curve" lookup table with all kinds of different prices so that it dynamically adjusts. BTW, I've always liked your avatar.
-GG

Last edited by Greatgardens; November 1, 2017 at 06:44 AM.
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Old November 1, 2017   #9
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I had to look up what you were speaking of...though had a good
idea. Wonder what makes them pricy? The elastic, perfect size,
and probably a uv resistant plastic I suppose.
But my search comes up 75 cents sale just now...or maybe
these are a smaller size.
https://earthbox.com/earthbox-access...system=85%2C84
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Old November 1, 2017   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oakley View Post
I had to look up what you were speaking of...though had a good
idea. Wonder what makes them pricy? The elastic, perfect size,
and probably a uv resistant plastic I suppose.
But my search comes up 75 cents sale just now...or maybe
these are a smaller size.
https://earthbox.com/earthbox-access...system=85%2C84
Those are for the Earthbox juniors, so you are right, smaller than what we can use.I wish I could get them for $.75, I would buy several hundred.They don't go bad sitting in storage.
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Old November 1, 2017   #11
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Why now buy roles of agrecultural film?
Worth
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Old November 1, 2017   #12
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Ag film would be quite usable -- might be easier than trash bags. A three foot size would be about right since the EB is 29 X 13 (apx). Thinking about this, you could actually make a fixture out of boards with a "slot" so that the film would be easier to cut straight.
-GG
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Old November 1, 2017   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Worth1 View Post
Why now buy roles of agrecultural film?
Worth
I think quantity comes into play. The cutting, fitting, securing on
so many boxes...at the end of the day, so to speak, the designed
product is just practical and easier.

One or five, ag fabric makes sense using a bungie or clips.

My rain barrels just have window screen, a bungie, and a chunk
of mosquito dunk. Rather than a purchased 15$ cover...
3 10 dollar pickle barrels over the $100+ for one from an on-line
garden supplier.

Most 'hacks' make sense while others end up a pain-in-the-butt.

Never did come up with the perfect mulch for my deck pots so I'm
still looking for next season.
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Old November 1, 2017   #14
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The bags I get peat and mixes in work great. They are heavy and can be reused over and over again. I secure with re-useable zip ties around the outside of the container.
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Old November 1, 2017   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockporter View Post
The bags I get peat and mixes in work great. They are heavy and can be reused over and over again. I secure with re-useable zip ties around the outside of the container.
Do you have a picture with the zip ties?

The compactor bags are thick as well, but I spent $ on the clips too.

This year I partially filled some of the EB waiting for my plants to get bigger but put the real EB covers on them. The was no loaf; not even flat. It rained a lot and the EB covers kept all the rain out even with the rain pooling on top.

----
OTOH - I want to give a huge plug for the HUSKY CLEAR bags for solarizing the mix in the off season. This year, I dumped all but 4 of my EBs. We were out of town when the hurricane came through and even though the EB tipped over in the storm, the bags stayed intact. I still have 2 of the EB waiting to be reused. The hurricane/possible tornado ripped our complete solar panel system off the roof, but the $1 per bag held up just fine.
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