Fabric pots

wxcrawler(7a)January 8, 2014

I love growing tomatoes, but live in South Tulsa with a small backyard. So the past 3 years, I've grown a variety of tomatoes in self-watering containers and plastic totes, usually 18 gallons. I've had a lot of success with yield, for the most part, but I'd like to try something different. I'm seriously considering trying some fabric pots this year, likely GeoPots or SmartPots.

Does anyone out there have experience growing tomatoes with these pots? I'd love to hear some good and/or bad reviews.

Thanks.

Lee

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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Lee, I have not responded to this until now because I was hoping someone with actual experience using them in a hot climate would respond.

I've always wanted to try Smart Pots or Root Trappers or something similar but haven't done so because I have assumed it would be very, very difficult to keep the soil-less mix evenly moist in our climate.

I did a search and found a thread from the container forum on growing tomatoes in Smart Pots and other similar containers. Because it contains some responses from people in a hot climate somewhat similar to ours (Midlothian, TX, and somewhere in Colorado), I thought I'd link it below for you.

I have grown tomatoes and peppers in 10-gallon grow bags before, and it seemed like those plants were harder to keep moist than plants grown right beside them in 10-gallon hard plastic containers. My assumption was that the thinness of the GrowLeave bags was the reason the grow bags had to be watered more often than the plants in thicker, hard-sided containers. And that assumption is why I've never tried any of the fabric containers that I think would dry out even more quickly.

It I was going to try to grow tomatoes in a fabric container like that, I'd definitely use a soil-less mix that has extra peat moss or extra coir added to it so that it would hold moisture longer than the standard 5-1-1 type mix.

If you decide to try a GeoPot or Smart Pot or something similar, I hope you'll come back and let us know how it works out for you.

Dawn

Here is a link that might be useful: Growing Tomatoes in Fabric Containers

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 10:40AM
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wxcrawler(7a)

Thanks, Dawn. Since in live in S. Tulsa with a tiny backyard, I usually grow 10-15 plants per year in SWCs and/or 14-20 gal Rubbermaid totes. My yields are usually good, but a lot of times the tomatoes taste a little watery and mushy. This is pretty consistent from Yellow 1884 to Jaune Flamme to Big Beef to Cherokee Purple and many others I've tried. So I wanted to change it up a little this year by adding 4 or 5 GeoPots with a couple of SWCs and totes. I'm pretty sure I'm going to do this. I'll probably go with 20 gal GeoPots, which will dry quicker than my previous containers, but I'm pretty sure I can keep up with it by checking them twice per day. Since it's only a few of them, I can keep up. I'll definitely keep you guys posted on how they do during the season. My current plan is to grow Yellow 1884, Gary'O Sena, Original Beefsteak, and Black Cherry in the GeoPots.

By the way, there is a pretty good chance that OK is headed back to the Deep Freeze in a week to 10 days. It's questionable whether we'll get a barrage of glancing blows from the Arctic air or whether we'll be in a more direct path. If the long-range forecasts hold, the pattern may last for a couple of weeks or more. We may get lucky and just get the edge of the really cold air, but the models tend to underestimate how far south and west the super-cold air masses get. We'll see how it unfolds this week in the models.

Lee

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 3:17PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Lee, You know, now I'm tempted to buy a Smart Pot or two and test it out. I think they'll be hard to keep moist, but I really won't know until I try it, right?

I love, love, love Gary O Sena, and not just for the big beautiful tomatoes and their awesome flavor. They're always really early for me (it doesn't hurt that I'm so far south I'm almost in Texas) which is just the icing on the cake.

I've never used SWCs for the very reason you mention---I just know in my heart that if tomato plants stay in soil that always is moist 24/7, their flavor and texture are likely to suffer. The best tomato flavor and texture I ever have had with my tomatoes is in the worst drought years. In 2003, when our county had around 19" of rain for the whole calendar year, my tomatoes had the best flavor imaginable---it is just that there were fewer of them and they were smaller than usual.Then, in 2005 with maybe 25" of rain, the tomatoes were great again. In the really wet 2007, the flavor and texture both were awful until about August when the soil finally dried out pretty well.

Thanks for the heads-up on the weather. I've been half-way expecting some sort of return to the cold. We rarely are lucky enough to warm up in January and stay warm. Of course, I wouldn't complain if that happened either. When you feel certain the real cold is coming back, please come back and warn us so I can start whining about having cold weather in winter. (grin)

Dawn

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 5:41PM
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