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

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Old August 25, 2020   #1
kilroyscarnival
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Default Container dimensions (aside from total soil capacity)

Do T-ville folks have observations or any research on the effect of different height/width dimensions of containers on tomato growth?

I'm asking partly because I did a little experiment this summer with my indoor micros. I started too many, and could only fit so many one-gallon pots, small as they are, under the grow light structure we made. So I simply took some in their upcycled styrofoam cups and razored the bottoms off, fluffed the roots and placed that on top of another cup filled with new growing medium. They seemed to do well, and I could really pack them into my limited horizontal space under the lights. I finally had to move them out this week because my fall starts needed the space, and the roots extended down to the bottom of the second cup, but fine and fluffy ones, not rootbound.

I've been thinking of trying a double-stacked five gallon bucket setup to give me a taller, narrower container for a few of my determinate tomatoes and various peppers. For one, it would get them an additional foot off the ground surface, perhaps a little protection from ground critters. I was thinking of trying that versus a ten-gallon root pouch.

To be clear, I'm describing cutting most of the bottom out of the top bucket and stacking it on top of a second bucket, both filled with soil mix - not the typical self-watering 5-gallon bucket setup. I was reading in another thread about paste tomatoes and BER and the notion that planting them very deep may mitigate that.

Surely someone's tried this? Any thoughts? One concern I can think of is higher susceptiblity to wind for tip-over and stem breakage. Another is I won't have the same excellent drainage that the root pouch grow bags affords me.

Thanks for any ideas,

Ann
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Old August 26, 2020   #2
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Well, the taller the container, the better the drainage (compared to a less tall, same volume container). I don't think there should be any disadvantages, except stability. There was a guy on youtube, russian or similar, who planted in a tall barrel a tall skinny plant, all the way to the bottom and added soil around it to the top. He said it's great (I'm not particularly convinced, but who knows).
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Old August 26, 2020   #3
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After growing tomatoes in tall 5 gal pots and lower, wider 5 gal pots I have found that the lower wider pots did better and I no longer use tall pots.
I can only guess that the tall, narrower pots warm up more than the wider pots and that the roots don't like that.
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Old August 26, 2020   #4
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Originally Posted by GrowingCoastal View Post
After growing tomatoes in tall 5 gal pots and lower, wider 5 gal pots I have found that the lower wider pots did better and I no longer use tall pots.
I can only guess that the tall, narrower pots warm up more than the wider pots and that the roots don't like that.
That's an interesting point, particularly as I am in Florida and keeping the soil cooler is often a concern. Something to consider. I've also been mulling over how unattractive stacked buckets might be, so maybe I can devise something to wrap them that would both insulate a bit and pretty them up a bit. Thanks for your thoughts and experience!

Ann
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Old August 26, 2020   #5
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Originally Posted by kilroyscarnival View Post
That's an interesting point, particularly as I am in Florida and keeping the soil cooler is often a concern. Something to consider. I've also been mulling over how unattractive stacked buckets might be, so maybe I can devise something to wrap them that would both insulate a bit and pretty them up a bit. Thanks for your thoughts and experience!

Ann
Checkout the posts from Righand 2019 season
Aloha,
Tom
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Old August 26, 2020   #6
kilroyscarnival
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Originally Posted by zipcode View Post
Well, the taller the container, the better the drainage (compared to a less tall, same volume container). I don't think there should be any disadvantages, except stability. There was a guy on youtube, russian or similar, who planted in a tall barrel a tall skinny plant, all the way to the bottom and added soil around it to the top. He said it's great (I'm not particularly convinced, but who knows).
Interesting! And I thought I'd plumbed the depths of YouTube for gardening ideas.

I think if I have enough evenly growing starts I will try some one way and some the other, try to keep all else the same and see how it goes.

Thanks for your thoughts, Zipcode... I thought the same thing, that drainage should be improved, at least versus a hard-sided container. The grow bags have been great for that as well, and while it won't be our rainy season by the time these should get going, it's definitely something to be on guard for.

If you think of that Youtuber's name, I'd love to check him out. I've done a search or two. Finally I Google translated "Tomatoes in containers" into Russian and tried that.
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Old August 26, 2020   #7
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Checkout the posts from Righand 2019 season
Aloha,
Tom
YES!

That is pretty nifty. I don't know exactly whether I'd be going space-age silver but that was pretty cool. I have some questions if Righand is still around... going to see.

Thanks, Tom!

Mahalo,

Ann
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Old August 27, 2020   #8
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Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZfpfgFtwGE

More drainage is not necessarily the end goal of everything unfortunately. Especially in the summer on big plants. I think fabric pots have the advantage of some air pruning, and not so much the drainage that makes them superior.
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Old August 27, 2020   #9
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Originally Posted by zipcode View Post
Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZfpfgFtwGE

More drainage is not necessarily the end goal of everything unfortunately. Especially in the summer on big plants. I think fabric pots have the advantage of some air pruning, and not so much the drainage that makes them superior.
Thanks! That wasn't the Russian guy I found. Yeah, I'm not going to do full barrel sizes like that, especially not for determinates like Roma types and other pastes.

Drainage is more difficult for me during the summer season where we get heavy subtropical rains almost daily. But that also tends to be when it's too hot here (in Florida, USA, 9B) for most tomatoes to set fruit. I have some cherry varieties growing in afternoon shade, and they definitely aren't producing like they would be in our proper growing season (fall-winter and winter-spring). Plus, the insects are horrible.

The air pruning is nice too. I have my grow bags set up on top of plastic saucers which are semi-filled with some river rocks. The saucers hold some rain water, but the rocks keep the bags from sitting too deeply in the water, and so far that has seemed to work well. They don't seem as temporarily water-logged as plastic pots do after a heavy afternoon rain.
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Old December 30, 2020   #10
Milan HP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kilroyscarnival View Post
Do T-ville folks have observations or any research on the effect of different height/width dimensions of containers on tomato growth?

I'm asking partly because I did a little experiment this summer with my indoor micros. I started too many, and could only fit so many one-gallon pots, small as they are, under the grow light structure we made. So I simply took some in their upcycled styrofoam cups and razored the bottoms off, fluffed the roots and placed that on top of another cup filled with new growing medium. They seemed to do well, and I could really pack them into my limited horizontal space under the lights. I finally had to move them out this week because my fall starts needed the space, and the roots extended down to the bottom of the second cup, but fine and fluffy ones, not rootbound.

I've been thinking of trying a double-stacked five gallon bucket setup to give me a taller, narrower container for a few of my determinate tomatoes and various peppers. For one, it would get them an additional foot off the ground surface, perhaps a little protection from ground critters. I was thinking of trying that versus a ten-gallon root pouch.

To be clear, I'm describing cutting most of the bottom out of the top bucket and stacking it on top of a second bucket, both filled with soil mix - not the typical self-watering 5-gallon bucket setup. I was reading in another thread about paste tomatoes and BER and the notion that planting them very deep may mitigate that.

Surely someone's tried this? Any thoughts? One concern I can think of is higher susceptiblity to wind for tip-over and stem breakage. Another is I won't have the same excellent drainage that the root pouch grow bags affords me.

Thanks for any ideas,

Ann
Wow, Ann. Great idea.
Thank you a million. Your idea has solved my long-lasting problem with space. I grow some of my tomatoes indoor, i.e. on my window sill, over the winter. Overheating and drainage aren't an issue indoor, but my windows are limited in both number and size. Stability can easily be achieved with a rope or wire from one side of the window to the other. No problem either.

I started thinking about the best shape of the containers and removable bottoms as cutting off plastic bottoms with the plant in will probably be quite hard. I could damage the roots. But these are just details that I am sure to resolve. Conical isn't really a good option. Perhaps square rather than cylindrical for better stability. Maybe even reversely conical: the bottom wider than the top. And the bottom could be held in place with sellotape as it will only be needed temporarily.

Bingo.


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