Patio Tomato plant and type of container

vickster257(Z7aNJ)April 9, 2012

Hi everyone,

I purchased a "patio tomato" recently and noticed a self-watering container for $39.95 at Lowe"s. It will hold 44 quarts of soil. What is your opinion about planting the tomato in it or can I just buy a large container and use moisture type soil rather than go for the aforementioned s.w. container? Has anyone had success with these containers and care to discuss it?

Thank you for your input.


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wertach zone 7-B SC

If you have a drill and some hole saws, Go to your local FireHouse subs and buy 2, 5 gallon pickle buckets, $2 each.

You can buy Homer buckets from the big box but they are $4. And a set of hole saws are cheap if you don't have any.

Visit the website below and see the instructions, They are cheap and work great! I have 2 of them and the tomatoes are growing like weeds, blooming and setting fruit extra early!

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 5:26PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Yeah Patio will do fine in any 5 gallon or better container and there are many inexpensive ones available. I sure wouldn't pay $40 for one but if you want to buy it it will work fine.

But I wouldn't use the moisture control mix. Too many have posted that it creates problems by keeping the plants too wet.


    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 5:52PM
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Agree with the others, patio tomatoes and other small varieties should do fine in 5 gallon containers. Lowes's sells them for about $2.50.

If you're doing a traditional container, the MiracleGro Moisture Control will probably be fine - although Al's 5-1-1 better. If you go with a self-watering container, you're better off using Ray's 3-2-1 mix (with regular MiracleGro or, preferably, a better medium such as Pro-Mix).

I also recommend, with 5-gallon bucket SWCs, just use a single hole drilled into a cup or deli container as your wicking basket. Last year I didn't listen to this advice myself and believe my plants were too wet as a result.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 8:29PM
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dickiefickle(5B Dousman,Wi.)

Go to big box store and buy a 5 gal bucket ,a hole drill,a bag of potting MIX (not SOIL)and a small bag of Perlite, At home drill several one inch holes in thru the bottom of the bucket ,mix potting mix and perlite together 50/50 ,fill bucket to within three inches of top of bucket with planting mix , remove lower tomato plant leaves and plant tomato plant deep (roots will grow along buried stem )and water well .if need be refill with more mix

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 3:18AM
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I would suggest building Al's 5-1-1 mix from the container forum over any other by far. It's almost fool proof, almost impossible to overwater, and can be left out in the rain since it drains so well. It's also cheaper to make then commercial soils which are actually not near as good.

Currently, I am doing an unplanned (5-1-1 ingredients were frozen outside and I ran out) side by side test of Pro-mix BX and 5-1-1 for about 100 seedlings. I am getting almost twice the growth in 5-1-1. The 5-1-1 peppers are already now flowering, not so in BX.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 8:54AM
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Thank you to all for your recommendations with regard to the type of containers and soil mix. I will try to obtain the 5 gallon buckets locally. How often would you fertilize this plant in its container throughout the summer?


    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 11:19AM
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It depends. The absolute best way to fertilize is to use weak fertilizer with every watering, rather then blast the plant all at once, then throw empty water at it. The best part of constantly watering with weak fertilizer (fertigating), is that you don't have to track how often you water, and it is self regulating according to how much watering you require. Best to start 1/4 to 1/3 dose with every watering and watch the plant's response to fine tune. This method also avoids salt buildup and overfertilization in fast draining soils.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 1:14PM
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