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lakngulf
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Barrels and Boxes

Last spring I posted in the Container Gardening section that I was using "barrels and boxes" for my garden, to better handle the summertime weeds. Previously, I have spent many hours pulling August weeds.

So, How Did It Work?

Although I consistently plant veggies way too close together, I got good growth in the barrels and boxes. The plants were fairly easy to keep free of weeds. Except where the squash took over the walkways, I was able to run my weedeater a few times during the summer. Sounds crazy to use a weedeater in the garden but the pots and the walls kept me from hitting the plants. Here some shots when the plants were full green:

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Tomatoes in containers were loaded, as you can see in this picture, but notice the lower vines are brown and dying. We have eaten, given and frozen a ton of tomatoes

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More and more of the plants browned from the bottom up. Many tomato plants have been pulled and replacements will battle the August heat and see if they stay healthy until the Fall. The squash has pretty much given in to the summer heat, with some replacements on the way. Peppers, Okra and Beans are kicking into high gear. Okra loves heat. And I need to get off this PC and go run my weedeater.

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Overall, I was pleased with the B&B method. The goal was to better handle the August weeds. I will add some new topsoil this winter and be ready to go next spring.
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imafan26
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Re: Barrels and Boxes

Looks great. Good thing you got big barrels and boxes so the plants had room to grow. I know the real problem with container plants in the heat is just keeping them watered but it looks like you got a bountiful harvest.

I weed whack my weeds and lawn out of necessity. I have problems not only with weeds in the pots but between them too. The real problem with weed whacking is that I don't do it as much as I should and the weeds come back with a vengeance.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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ReptileAddiction
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Re: Barrels and Boxes

What varieties of tomatoes are you growing? In my containers I don't get very good production from tomatoes.

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lakngulf
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Re: Barrels and Boxes

ReptileAddiction wrote:What varieties of tomatoes are you growing? In my containers I don't get very good production from tomatoes.
Better Boy and Brandywine. Got good production but it is difficult to keep the containers moist, and not too hot. I keep trying. Hard to get the plants to last very long, but I do have four or five this year that have good green growth at top of wire hoops. Will have to see if they can make it thru our hot August, and keep producing this fall.

I also have some Fantastic plants for a fall second crop. They are about three feet tall.
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Dillbert
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Re: Barrels and Boxes

can you gin up something to "shade" the pots from direct sun?

one of the issues with the upside-down-tomato thing is: the soil gets so hot it cooks the root mass.

water water everywhere - heh, you got a whole lake... but regardless, over heated roots = death to plants.....

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ReptileAddiction
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Re: Barrels and Boxes

I have 4 container tomatos this year. I too have Better Boy and I have early girl, juliet, and la roma. This is the first year that I tried a determinate tomato (the la roma) and I have to admit that I am not happy with it. It is just so tiny and doesnt have much fruit. Needless to say I will not give determinate tomatos prime container space anymore. How often are you watering? I water every once in a while because they always looked good and have a bunch of mulch but I am not harvesting many tomatos. My better boy which is the only one that go planted on time has pretty much stopped growing though now. I am hoping that with more water it will keep on going. According to my dad when he was growing up his step mom had tomatos in containers that they flooded daily and they harvested tons of tomatos. I am going to try watering more often to see if it gives better results.

I have also noticed that my better boy tomatos (I have not harvested any of the other ones yet) have been growing smaller. I have harvested 4 so far and they first one was almost half a pound but the one I harvested a few days ago was much smaller. All of the rest of them that are ripening now are fairly small too.

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jemsister
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Re: Barrels and Boxes

I have always loved your setup from the first pics I saw back when I was new to the board. I container garden as well because I live in a rental. It works really well for us, but we live in an area with moderate temps, so we haven't had any root-cooking issues. We did when I tried to container a tomato in Boise, Idaho. That think cooked so badly, it never even got blooms.

Anyway, sounds like you had success overall. I agree, weeding is far simpler with containers. My flower bed veggies have a much tougher battle with them. Also, my two year old has been far less interested in the container plants, and really has only gone after the flower bed veggies. So double bonus! :D

I'm not an experienced gardener by a long stretch, but my container tomato has tons of fruit on it. It is a very large container, however (converted dresser), and not sharing much with other plants (just wildflowers and bush beans). It is an indeterminate cherry though, so that may have something to do with it. I water it every day. It has very good drainage, so I soak it every day until I see the water coming out of the bottom. Seems to be working!

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ReptileAddiction
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Re: Barrels and Boxes

I think that is what the trick is. Lots of even and consistent moisture. Lakngulf, what size containers are you using? I have one of the 15 gallon fabric pots and other similar sized plastic ones. I do not think I will buy and more of the fabric ones just because they seem to dry out faster. The other problem though is that for plastic ones places want a ton of money for a cheap plastic pot. I did find some of the grow bags that are made out of a more plasticy material so I am thinking that those will hold water better.

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lakngulf
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Re: Barrels and Boxes

ReptileAddiction wrote:I think that is what the trick is. Lots of even and consistent moisture. Lakngulf, what size containers are you using? I have one of the 15 gallon fabric pots and other similar sized plastic ones. I do not think I will buy and more of the fabric ones just because they seem to dry out faster. The other problem though is that for plastic ones places want a ton of money for a cheap plastic pot. I did find some of the grow bags that are made out of a more plasticy material so I am thinking that those will hold water better.
Not sure exactly how large those green pots are. They are cattle protein-lic containers, at least 15 gallon, probably more. I have tried smaller with difficult success.

Watering: This year I watered the containers more often than in the past. I think that helped, although I do like for plants "toughen" a bit. There is just a look that I seek in a stem that has a healthy "hardness" to it. Difficult to explain.

Shading: I do think that a shading device for the 10am - 2pm sun would be beneficial. I may try something next year. I mentioned that in another post, need to look it up as hendi_alex had a good suggestion.

Hot Pots: I wonder if there is anything the containers can be lined with to prevent root burn?

Boxes: I will get a new picture of them today. The weeding has been much easier.
Nutin as good as a kitchen sink mater sammich

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lakngulf
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Re: Barrels and Boxes

Here are some pictures from today, that have similar angles to the original shots. Garden is easing out for the season, except for pepper and okra. I have some squash planted and a few new tomato starts. If they can survive August, then I might get a fall harvest.

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And I said the boxes made it easier to pull the weeds. Unfortunately, that does not mean that I have pulled all the weeds.

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But I love the way OKRA loves hot weather.

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ReptileAddiction
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Re: Barrels and Boxes

As always looks great! Where do you get those green containers? They look perfect for growing tomatos.

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lakngulf
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Re: Barrels and Boxes

ReptileAddiction wrote:As always looks great! Where do you get those green containers? They look perfect for growing tomatos.
From farmer whose land borders the old family farm land that I hunt on. Was glad to find them. I think they are called Protein Tubs.
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ReptileAddiction
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Re: Barrels and Boxes

They look great for growing maters in. I will have to see if I can find something similar.

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