Garden Supply's Tomato Success Kit?

LizzaNVAMarch 8, 2012

Hi there! I had to move to container gardening my tomatoes on my balcony this year. I purchased two of Garden Supply's Tomato Success Kits and have some questions for the forum. Has anyone tried them? They came with a "special soil" and I'd read that I could plant two determinate tomatoes in each of the planters. I'd always grown indeterminate in my garden plot so picked out some smaller heirloom varieties (Silvery Fir Tree,Lime Green Salad, Cherokee Purple...)Is the soil any good and should I plan on 2 plants per planter? I'd rather one well bearing plant than two pathetic ones.

Thanks!

Liz

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suncitylinda

It sounds similar to Earth Box, a self watering container. If so you need to use the soil mix supplied or something with a high peat content as the success of the system depends on soil that will wick. I grow two toms per EB and I usually have indeterminates so you should be fine with determinates. I think Dig Dirt on this forum has a couple Earth Boxes and may comment.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 12:38PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I have 8 Earthboxes that we use on the deck and around the greenhouse. Handy since the gardens are so far a way from the house. :)

Yes your GS kit is the same thing - just much more expensive unfortunately - but no you do not need to use their 'special' soil mix in them. You can if you wish but I won't because it contains so much coir in it and tends to stay too wet. But since you have it, use it. You'll just have to feed more often and water more carefully.

Any good quality soil-less potting mix will work fine in them as long as you also add the fertilizer strip and some lime. I prefer to use ProMix BX in mine but StayGreen also makes a good mix for them and Metro Mix 360 also works well. Do not use any of the moisture-control mixes as they stay too wet.

As to type and number of plants - 2 determinates works great although I stick to 2 of the same variety in each container. 2 semi-determinates is just ok but with extra work. 2 indeterminates has several problems with maintaining consistent moisture levels, nutrient levels, over crowding, rootbound plants, increased BER, etc. and I long ago gave up on 2 in one container. 1 indeterminate is fine as long as you can support it properly.

If you use determinates, come late July tuck another new young plant in between them, cut the other 2 off when they begin to fade and let the new one give you a fall crop.

Please know up front that despite their claims you will need to feed regularly through out the growing season for best results and plan to check/fill the reservior daily at least.

Dave

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 2:50PM
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LizzaNVA

Thanks! Great advice. I had a gift certificate to GS so that made the decision. I will keep the Earth Boxes in mind. I also was thinking of adding to the soil the kit came with so it drains better so your advice really helps. I didn't want to waste it, just amend it. I'd also planned on adding in new plants but wasn't sure when I should do that. I'd have to grow the seedlings b/c there may be a bad selection at the garden centers come mid summer plus I like my exotic tomatoes--now I can back the date out on when I start the seedlings.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 3:00PM
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suncitylinda

Yep Dave is right. My toms drink a lot of water and added fert at two per box. The system was designed for determinates and I will try some this Fall. I didnt realize you had a coir mix. I got some with EBs last summer as part of a promotion and I use a little in each box with peat, perlite and good potting mix. I have not heard any good feedback from those using straight coir.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 5:55PM
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CathyCA SoCal(10)

I purchased 3 of the Gardener's Tomato Success Kits to use this year. I think the price was reasonable because it included the tomato cages that are designed to fit the box (with clips to hold them). It also includes the container mix and some tomato fertilizer.

I am going to try one of them with 2 determinate tomato plants. The other will be single plants. I also have room for 3 in the ground. I will put the larger varieties in the ground. They are all different types of tomatoes so won't be a true comparison of environment.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 11:47AM
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serbjr63

I bought 3 of the tomato success kits last summer. I planted 2 Celebrity variety tomatos in each. I was very happy with the results, picking 3 to 8 tomatos a day once they started coming on. The only regret was that I wasn't happy with the flavor and size of the tomato. Don't get me wrong, they were flavorful, but just not the greatest and they were only about 3 to 4 inches in diameter. What other variety would meet my expectations for my self-watering kits?

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 2:12PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Celebrity is a grown for market variety so never known for its flavor.

If you can grow your own transplants from seed then there are literally hundreds of better varieties for your containers. But if you are buying transplants locally then your choice will be very limited and will all depend on what is available to you. We can't know what common varieties are sold in your area but you can usually find Better Boy, Big Boy, Early Girl and such. Not wonderful but better than Celebrity.

Trying looking for Bush Better Boy, Bush Champion, or any of the others that are labeled "Determinate" or "compact" or "bush-type" if plant 2 in each container. If you want to grow one of the many indetermate varieties then just plant 1 plant in each.

Dave

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 2:58PM
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serbjr63

Well, I had so much success last year (see my post above) with the Celebrity tomato, that I planted them again. I put 2 per container (have 3 containers) and right now there are well over 100 tomatos on the vine. They range in size from that of a pea to about 4 to 5 inched in diameter. My only wish right now is that I could see a few ripening. My mouth just waters thinking about that first bite of the year!!!!!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 10:54AM
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GBlaene

How do you guys purchase seeds or things for your garden, just in case you want them on time for summer? Would ordering now and using payday loans do? 'Cause a friend suggested me this could as she did. I was thinking. Hmm. :)

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 12:07AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Oh goody. Someone joined just to add an advertising link to some loan company.

Dave

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 10:23AM
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