Cheapest containers for tomatoes

bakaroniApril 18, 2008

I'm planting 2-3 indeterminate tomato plants in the ground, and am thinking of another 2-3 determinate varieties in containers. I have a plastic pot that's about 10" wide. I suspect that this is not quite large enough even for a determinate variety. Is that right? If so, where can I find cheap, large containers?


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I found plastic mop buckets at the dollar store (Dollar Tree?). I plan to punch holes in the bottom of it and use it for tomatoes, peppers or eggplants. Walmart also has some reasonable prices containers. I think it was $2.99 for a ~5 gallon plastic pot.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2008 at 1:59PM
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bakaroni, I use styrofoam icechests and they work great. I use an apple corer to make a hole in each end about 2" up from the bottom to create a small resorvoir. They are a little over 6 gallons and I've grown KBX, Mariana's Peace,
Earl's Faux among Others with excellent results. I'm using the same ones for the third year. Plus the styrofoam insulates the rootzone so you don't have to worry about heat problems. And the best part is you can get them for $2.00 apiece!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2008 at 3:15PM
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Go to a wholesale food distributor. A distributor of pizza supplies would be the most likely place. Get some pepperoncini barrels ... the food grade, plastic drums that pepperoncinis are imported in from Greece. They are terra cotta colored (or sometimes blue) and about 35 - 40 gallon. Cut them in half midway. Viola ... two nice large tubs for one or two indeterminate vines. My distributor sells them for 5 bucks apiece. Since they have screw-off lids, they also make great storage containers ... so long as you like the smell of pickled peppers.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2008 at 6:21PM
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Go to a local nursery and ask for the plastic pots that small trees come in. When the nursery plants trees for customers, the pot is usually taken back and just piled up until discarded. I seem to get all I want for free... Paul

    Bookmark   April 18, 2008 at 7:53PM
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Old tires make good planters too.

Here is a link that might be useful: Garden Tires @ BackWoods Home

    Bookmark   April 18, 2008 at 9:47PM
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timmy1(6a ri)

The old tires are so aesthetically pleasing. I prefer BF Goodrich over the Firestone whitewalls any day.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2008 at 10:10PM
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I would build a homemade earthbox as I have never had any good growing conditions in a planter or bucket as tomatoes need root space, lots of water and lots of nutrients.
You can just use large size plastic discount store plastic square container which comes in colors from clear to lavender.

I grew some Principe Bourghese which were loaded, but the problem is they were wet and sour in the containers for fruit even if they looked pretty.

It is hard to equal God's ground in growing great tomatoes.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2008 at 11:04PM
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Thank you all for your many ideas. I'll pursue some of these leads this weekend.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2008 at 11:16PM
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I went to a local nursery and the owner sold me used 15 gal and 10 gal containers for $4 and $3.50 respectively. He also gave me a 5' bamboo stake for free. I'm sure a more savvy person would have got all these for free, but this nursery is struggling and may go out of business soon, so I'm absolutely glad I went there after visiting a more popular nursery nearby, where everything was over-priced.

Now I have to decide if I want to plant 2 determinate varieties in the 15 gal container or use it to grow a citrus tree.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2008 at 7:55PM
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Today at Lowe's I picked up four 18 gallon storage containers, $3.50 apiece. I should think these would be big enough to grow tomato plants in. I have quite a few to plant in the ground but thought I'd give these a try for container-grown tomatoes. Going to plant two cherries in one and then individual indeterminate plants in the other three. See how it goes. GaryStPaul

    Bookmark   April 19, 2008 at 9:38PM
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I agree with the Earth Box. I grew toms in simple and progressively larger containers for the past few years. I could never escape BER so this year I decided to build a homemade earth box.

I spent $9 on two 18 Gal rubbermaid totes, 5 on a length of copper tubing, $1.05 for a plastic basket (dollar store). Then I spent 30 mins putting the whole thing together.

It turn out not to much more expensive than large containers.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2008 at 11:01PM
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Although I now have plenty of raised beds for my tomato plants, I have grown them in containers in the past and always had good luck making use of whatever other people threw out. Many nursery planters were snagged off the curb, as well as whiskey barrel planters half-rotten with the bottoms knocked out, large plastic buckets, and all manner of castoff items. Just keep your eyes peeled.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 8:28AM
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