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Tomatos and Cucumbers

So I bought a couple 18 inch deep by 2.5 feet long plastic soil containers to do some back yard growing. However, I bought some soil but am not sure if I need to put rocks down at the bottom or not before putting soil. Do I?

I also bought a soaker for the soil as I live in Vegas and the backyard area gets sun ALL day. First off, should I build a canopy for these or is keeping the soil damp all day good enough? Also, how much water should I put in each? Both products will be seperated. So how often do I turn the soakers on and for how long, generally? I know to keep the soil damp but how damp?

And how do I keep cockroaches and other bugs away from this stuff without poisoning the food? I am growing all organic, so any methods you have please consider that.

Thanks :D

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Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25279
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

I assume you will be planting plants (not seeds) at this point? A container that size will hold one tomato plant and unless its a relatively compact variety of tomato, the container may be a little small (you didn't give the third dimension, but these are long and narrowish?). It might hold two cucumber plants because they can sprawl down over the edges.

Yes, in Vegas you might consider a canopy, of row cover or shade cloth, so you aren't blocking all the sun. Tomatoes tend to get heat stressed when temps are 85 degrees or more. Also if you are buying tomato plants from a nursery, look for heat tolerant varieties. They tend to have names like sunmaster, solar set. I would expect Las Vegas nurseries would carry them.

You want to let the soil just start to dry out a little on top and you definitely don't want your roots staying WET (as opposed to damp) all the time. Tomatoes do want pretty steady moisture.

It would be very rare to see cockroaches on your plants (like never happens). They are detritovores, basically garbage eaters. They help breakdown dead stuff. You might see aphids or tomato hornworms as the likeliest things. They can be squished (aphids) or picked off (worms). Deal with the bug issue if it happens; may not.

Senior Member
Posts: 168
Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 9:18 pm
Location: Birmingham-AL, USA

if it's windy at all where you live, then the rocks serve another purpose over just better drainage. they stabilize your pots... twice now, in this growing season, I've had tomato plants knocked over by wind, in 18" tall, 12" diamater 5 gallon buckets.

I've had to, quite literally, tie my buckets down to my patio with nylon cord and bricks and all kinds of nonsense, just to get them not to fall over.

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