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

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Old May 6, 2018   #1
mobiledynamics
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Default Container Mixes - How long do you recycle

My tomato plants are generally in a bark mix. I go about 3-4 years on them. On year 2, it breaks down and I add more bark/vermi

Rinse and repeat for year 3. Year 4 - I'm stretching it, depending on the soil. My containers see all 4 seasons - sun, snow, rain...the works. They live outdoors all season....

Anyhow, when I feel the media is exhausted, I just dump it into the beds and consider it hummus.

I see Many threads using ProMix, etc. I'm talking not the walmart stuff but the $35-$40 compressed bale. I use this stuff too, but mainly for my indoor stuff. Just for the helluva it, I actually made a container of this stuff to see/observe.

Anyhow, be curious how you guys treat your medium...
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Old May 7, 2018   #2
OhioKate
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I don't grow a ton of stuff in containers but for my vegetables (mainly tomatoes and peppers), I just toss the soil into the raised beds at the end of the season.

We have these big cement planters in the front of the house that I plant annual flowers in and I haven't changed the soil yet, just added a little bit of compost. We bought the house almost two years ago so it's at least three years in those planters.

I also use pro mix but the compressed bales are about $15 here.
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Old May 7, 2018   #3
mobiledynamics
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I'd keep the compost out of the the pot. IMO.

Heh, I remember when Proxmix (not the consumer stuff but the compressed 3.8 bales) used to be like $25 a bale. Then as it gained popularity amonst the mary-ju-wanna crowd, it went from $30 and now it's around $38-$40'ish per bale.
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Old May 7, 2018   #4
Koala Doug
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My Pro-Mix HP went from $25 to $30 this year. It is still the best deal that I can find in the Detroit metropolitan area (most places have the 3.8 cu. ft. bales for $40-$50).
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Old May 7, 2018   #5
mobiledynamics
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That's amazeballs pricing KD. That's more like loose fill in my neck of the woods
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Old May 9, 2018   #6
zipcode
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5 years would be a good figure. I'm on my 8th but I think I stretched it a bit (mostly due to pH change due to extremely hard water). New mix is hella expensive to change every year, and not really necessary.

Last edited by zipcode; May 9, 2018 at 04:08 AM.
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Old May 14, 2018   #7
Shrinkrap
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My local Lowe's has 2.2 cubic foot Promix HP ( is that the consumer stuff?) for $25...or so they say!

https://www.lowes.com/pd/PRO-MIX-Pro-Mix/3745337

"This is a (n old) revew, and is consistent with what I have been buying for the last several years.

"Compressed Professional Soil Blend"
Review Rating 5 Stars Reviewed on 11/14/2012
Recommended
Keep in mind this bag is meant for professional landscapers, gardeners, and green house growers. It is a compressed bag that expands to 4.0 cubic feet of soil. The bag itself says 2.2 cu feet compressed. It does not have any added fertilizers which is great if you want to add your own soil amendments (ie. organic compounds). The mixture is highly porous so the soil drains quickly and allows more oxygen/ nutrients to be absorbed by the plant's roots. The drawback is that if you live in warmer climates be prepared to water more frequently. This soil can be used in hydroponic growing methods and is PH neutral. The soil is reusable if you rise thoroughly and then add it with your compost pile. It is expensive, but in my opinion it is worth the price. I use this mix from the seedling stage all the way to maturity."


It is not 3.3 cubic feet but it is not "loose" either.

The Pro Mix website says

"PRO-MIX HP MYCORRHIZAE
HP - high porosity

PRO-MIX HP, with its high perlite content, provides a growing environment which benefits growers looking for significant drainage capacity, increased air porosity and lower water retention. The added benefit of a fibrous peat moss and coarse perlite makes this formulation ideal for growers demanding a superior quality product adapted to their needs for watering flexibility and crop seasonality.

This bag (2.2 cu ft) is exclusively available at LOWE'S and HOME DEPOT."

The Lowe's my husband picked some up from in the next town says they said they won't be carrying it anymore.

Last edited by Shrinkrap; May 14, 2018 at 10:51 PM.
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Old May 15, 2018   #8
Salsacharley
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Last year I began mixing 1/2 a container with the previous year's mix, and added compost, ultrasorb, and new mix to make up the new 1/2 and my plants did very well. I'm doing it again this year. I do have to water at least once daily and twice daily when the heat kicks in. I use Happy Frog, Ocean Forest and Coco Loco mix and I don't measure precisely. I mulch with partially composted leaves. I haven't had problems with compost in containers. I think it is a key ingredient for strong plants. This is outside growing only.
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Old May 15, 2018   #9
mobiledynamics
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Hi SC -

I was just about to comment on the compost but then you posted on your last 2nd sentence. i dunno, IMO pot=container/pot mix. I keep this airy and light and just make sure it's fed well with whatever ~liquid~ I'm using + some CRF. This year I'm using FF Grow. Former years, I've used Dyna, etc.
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Old May 17, 2018   #10
fonseca
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My soilless mix goes back to 2011. The compost and peat portions break down into valuable humus, why would I ever get rid of it? I recycle it into new batches of soilless mix. It is loaded with worms and beneficial microorganisms. The coarse vermiculite and coco coir chips I use for structure last many years. If you don't use synthetic fertilizers you can recycle forever.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shrinkrap View Post
My local Lowe's has 2.2 cubic foot Promix HP ( is that the consumer stuff?) for $25
That stuff is 75% peat. But at least it has a good percentage of perlite. I see a lot of people buying the standard Pro-Mix that is 80-90% peat, at grossly inflated prices. 10% perlite is almost useless, and the lime used to adjust the ph is only a few dollars for a 40lb bag.

A 3 cubic foot bale of compressed peat is $10, and expands to 4 cubic feet. Since a 4 cubic foot bag of perlite or vermiculite can be purchased for around $20, I find it much more economical to mix my own. I have to mix it anyway because I add compost and organic fertilizer meals, and the plants mostly get water for the duration of the season. If you just want something you can dump into a few containers and plant the same day, however, Pro-mix HP is probably the best option from big box stores.

I generally add 1 part spent soilless mix to 2 parts new mix. This works for me because I am adding more containers each year. The photo below is 150 gallons of that mix in 30 gallon fabric containers. Unfortunately, we had a torrential downpour before I moved these into position, so now they weigh 200 pounds each...
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 20180517_211857.jpg (91.3 KB, 49 views)

Last edited by fonseca; May 17, 2018 at 10:04 PM.
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Old May 17, 2018   #11
Shrinkrap
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Does it matter where you garden ? I live in No Cal. My sister lives in Durham. I might retire there or nearby. Good to know!

I'm thinking it's going to be different rate limiting steps.

Last edited by Shrinkrap; May 17, 2018 at 11:26 PM.
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