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Smart pot tomato Mix ideas for fun

Posted by stimey 6a (My Page) on
Tue, Feb 18, 14 at 13:52

I know its early and not even close to time to be setting out toms yet, my question or request in what you guys would think a good mix would be for toms in a grow bag/smart pot? My thought is a modified 511 these grow bags will be on the ground so virtually a raised bed, these smart pots are home made so they are 28" OD x 28" tall they are a heavy polyester. I am thinking of something like 5-2 Pine bark fines and DE, I am thinking I need a bit more water retention due to the hydraulic affect the ground will have on them. I am thinking of avoiding peat, not certain why right at this moment, I know DE retains moisture more the turface, I am not certain if it retains more then perlite though. I also considered 5 pine bark 1 DE and 1 perlite, I am not apposed to peat, and have multiple ingredients to work with so give me your thoughts, I have more than one smart pot so why not try two different mixes? My pine bark at the moment is whatever would go through a 3/8 screen, it is really nice looking bark with some nice fines in it.


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RE: Smart pot tomato Mix ideas for fun

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Tue, Feb 18, 14 at 14:34

Sounds like a good question for the Container Gardening forum where all the things like turface, DE, 5-1-1, hydraulic effects etc. are commonly discussed and debated.

I use some Smart Pots too - the manufactured ones - and use the same ProMix BX in them that I use in all my other containers with no issues at all. Tried the 5-1-1 mix a couple of years back but with no noticeable differences so just went back to the ProMix BX. Shoot, even the tomato plants I have grown in Metro Mix 360, MG Pro Mix, or a blend of all 3 have done just fine.

It just all depends on how complicated one wants to make it. :)

Dave


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RE: Smart pot tomato Mix ideas for fun

Yep I have done them in a ball pro mix and it worked just fine, I like to play and experiment, must have to much time on my hands, just a lot of fun growing stuff everyone is trying to grow the ultimate tomato, here in Kansas it gets so dry and hot about the time they need to be maturing, so its always a battle. Thanks for the reply, I did post over in the container forum as you advised.


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RE: Smart pot tomato Mix ideas for fun

There is no JUST ONE KIND of potting mix.
For MANY it is just a matter of convenience to pick up some bagged stuff from the big boxes and use it. They have been doing that for years and it works. But for somebody who has a budget limitation and grows tens of Matoes and peppers in pot, that option can be pricey.

This year I am going to extend my gardening into pots(due to lack of real estate). Since money IS an object, I have studied and have come to a decision to use a modified version of 5-1-1. I have figured it will cost about 50 cents per gallon. So, filling a 5 gal. bucket will cost about 2 bucks. Say, I will have 30 such containers, it will add up to $60.00. Not too bad. If I had to use MG or Pro Mix, I would have to shell a couple of hundred bucks. ( Pro mix is selling for $40 a bag !!). I pay $2 per cu-ft of pine park and about $4 per cu-ft of pat moss. Using it 3 to 1, it will be $2.50 per cu-ft (just rough figures here)

So if money is NO object and convenience has a lot of value the easy route is Home Depot

JMO.

This post was edited by seysonn on Wed, Feb 19, 14 at 8:43


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RE: Smart pot tomato Mix ideas for fun

Greenhouse Megastore has ProMix BX for $31.

This year I'm creating my own mixes for both raised beds and pots.
I'm interested in Dave's experience with 5-1-1, that there was no noticeable difference between it and the ProMix.


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RE: Smart pot tomato Mix ideas for fun

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Wed, Feb 19, 14 at 10:46

It isn't a question of convenience, it is a question of quality of the mix and the quantity of the produce that results. Five properly grown tomato plants (right sized containers with a quality mix in them) can easily out-produce the quantity and quality of 10 poorly grown plants and with less care. So more pots is not the solution.

Sure, one can make up their own mix out of all sorts of things and maybe save a few $$ but that in no way means it will have the same quality or produce the same results. It likely won't be pH balanced, it won't contain the needed micro-organisms, it will not have a wetting agent so maintaining consistent soil moisture levels will be an issue, etc.

Granted I get my ProMix for less because I'm in the greenhouse business and $$ is very important. Since I use it for everything I buy it wholesale in bulk bales. But even then I shop around and wholesale as well as retail prices vary greatly depending on location. If you have a greenhouse supplier within driving distance anyone can set up an account with them and get wholesale prices on a bulk order. Either way I sure wouldn't buy a bag off the shelf at HD.

Lucille - don't get me wrong, the 5-1-1 as it is defined in its discussions is good (can't address modified recipes). I added some Azomite and a shot of bacteria (SCD Bio-Ag) to it in my 10 and 15 gallon containers (Smart Pots) and the peppers and tomatoes did great. But the production from the same sized pots with ProMix, the same varieties and same feeding and watering regimen did just as good. Nothing scientific, just a side by side simple comparison.

But that is just for pots, not a raised bed. Raised beds need some dirt mixed in them IMO.

Dave


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RE: Smart pot tomato Mix ideas for fun

This is the kind of discussion that I wanted to hear when I made the original post, this is how I learn from you guys and come up with new ideas. I have failed more then succeeded but I really had fun doing both and learned by failing and succeeding. With me it is about learning, and having fun doing it, sometimes you can stumble on something that works. Its not that I cant afford pro mix or what ever it may be, I just like making my own, I have some lignite that I have put in one of my raised beds, I also have some oxidized lignite that is a very high content of Humic acid, now that is a completely different subject in its own or is it? I have some of this that is pelletized and claiming 70% Humic acid, will it work don't know gonna find out this year.


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RE: Smart pot tomato Mix ideas for fun

Dave,
I just ordered 10 giant (well they are giant to me, 24 inch) pots. They are not for the tomatoes which are going in raised beds.
I was happy to hear that the ProMix did as well for you as the 5-1-1. I am going on a bark foray next week, will go to both Home Depot and Lowe's. It's good to know that if I somehow can't lay my hands on the right kind of bark, I can still get good results in my pots.
Does the ProMix expand at all? I think the ProMix comes in 3.8 cubic feet packages.
My pots are 24" in diameter and 18 inches tall. If they were 2 feet on each side, square, and 18 inches tall I think they would hold 6 cubic feet? But my circle math is a little rusty, I'm not sure if a round pot is equivalent. If any of you are more math fluent I would be grateful for your opinion of the cubic feet in each of my pots.


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RE: Smart pot tomato Mix ideas for fun

This link will let you put in the size round or square, then convert it to gallons.
http://www.dep.state.pa.us/dep/deputate/waterops/redesign/calculators/volcalchtm.htm


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RE: Smart pot tomato Mix ideas for fun

Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
Wed, Feb 19, 14 at 10:46

It isn't a question of convenience, it is a question of quality of the mix and the quantity of the produce that results.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Potting Mix (PM) is just a medium. Lets take just the 5-1-1 as an example here; None of its components has any nutrients, trace elements nor does the mixture have a given pH level. So it is the basic medium. Then you add nutrients to it trace elements to it and balance its pH, as practically as possible and required by the plants. The quality that SUPPOSEDLY we are looking here is just related to drainage and moisture retention.

I like to know what is meant by "QUALITY" and "QUANTITY" of the product that results ?'

Plant productivity depends on many factors. Medium comes last, IMO. You supply nutrients, provide favorable growing conditions to control the production. That is not the fundamental role of a medium. You can grow in water, in sand, in 5-1-1, in miracle grow PM. etc.
So then when somebody buys/uses Promix, or MG MC, etc he is taking the convenience route, which is perfectly fine. When I mix my Own bark/peat based PM.I am taking a more challenging route. And the technique and the methodology is there already. Nothing too complicated.
JMO


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RE: Smart pot tomato Mix ideas for fun

Stimey thank you for the link.


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RE: Smart pot tomato Mix ideas for fun

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Wed, Feb 19, 14 at 14:41

Plant productivity depends on many factors. Medium comes last, IMO.

Sorry but most any experienced gardener will tell you that any plant is only as good as the soil it grows in.

And yes, any potting mix has a pH. It is the pH of the predominant ingredient, in most cases of commercial mix that peat which has an acidic pH (approx. 4.5). That's why lime is added to balance the pH. There are also nutrients and trace elements in any mix. Low levels but how much depends on the mix and the absence or presence of microbes. For example, in 5-1-1 the decomposing bark fines provide K and P.

Chemical properties of pine bark (based on water extractions) have been documented and summarized in a review by Ogden et al. (1987). Tucker (1995) reported for nonamended pine bark; low pH (3.4 to 4.5), high phosphorous (P; 11.5 to 23 mg·L−1) and potassium (K; 134 to 215 mg·L−1); sufficient manganese (Mn; 4.5 to 15 mg·L−1) and copper (Cu; 0.22 to 0.50 mg·L−1); and low calcium (Ca; 8.5% to 24% of cation exchange capacity [CEC]), magnesium (Mg; 4.5% to 6.2% of CEC), and zinc (Zn; 1.8 to 4.4 mg·L−1) when compared with established sufficiency ranges (Warncke, 1998). Niemiera (1992)

Chemical and Physical Properties of Douglas Fir Bark Relevant to the Production of Container Plants

All organic matter contains some nutrients. Of course you add nutrients just as one would with an in-ground bed. And in containers you have to add them more frequently. But that in no way makes all mix recipes or commercial mixes equal in quality.

Dave


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RE: Smart pot tomato Mix ideas for fun

Sorry but most any experienced gardener will tell you that any plant is only as good as the soil it grows in
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
YES, sorry BUT We are talking about potting mix not garden soil !!

Basically, a 5-1-1 mix is considered bare, That means any nutrient in it is negligible. WATER EXTRACTION from pine bark is not guaranteed to be in a form that is available to plant to sustain growth. And of course you need to balance the pH by adding gypsum or lime. But from the very beginning you got to supply fertilizer, whereas with MG you don't need to add anything for up to 3 months other than water. THAT IS CALLED CONVENIENCE. And that has been the point tha I have been talking about.


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RE: Smart pot tomato Mix ideas for fun

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Wed, Feb 19, 14 at 17:33

No we are talking about what the plant is growing in regardless of what you call it.

And since when is water extraction not considered a accurate form of nutrient testing? Can you document that claim? If that were the case then there would be no point in any one ever having a professional soil test done, no way to determine the nutrient levels of any solid materials including foods.

Anyone with any experience with using MG in containers knows that the 3 month claim on the label isn't accurate and if they don't know it up front they quickly learn it. So if you think using MG potting mix adds an element of "convenience" to container gardening then you are mislead.

Nutrient supplements, even those in MG, leach out of containers with any top watering and/or rain and need to be replaced regularly. That's one of the primary benefits of bottom watering and self watering containers - leass leaching. This is pretty commonly knowledge here, on Container Gardening, and on most any other gardening resource as well and documented testing is readily available.

The most common recommendation when working with containers is to supplement them weekly in a diluted form.

You might want to do some more reading on exactly what 5-1-1 mix is and what it isn't. I suggest the link below.

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: 5-1-1 Mix in detail and FAQs


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RE: Smart pot tomato Mix ideas for fun

Seysonn,
You point out convenience has its costs and of course it does. But some people do value their time, or alternatively, not having to worry about quality.
Everyone does their thing and by reading we can find out what successes and failures gardeners before us have had.
I was somewhat aghast when you suggested boycotting Promix over in the hot pepper forum.
I certainly want to try less expensive methods, but I also want to harvest at the end of the season.
Hopefully we will all, and that means you too, have bushel baskets of produce next fall, and we can all compare what we did and how it worked.


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RE: Smart pot tomato Mix ideas for fun

Lucille, ..we are just talking about various potting mixes, as proposed by the OP. The discussion, in the forum format, doe not create any mandate to anyone. Weather it is convenience or value of ones time in using Promix or MG, etc is quite understandable. I have already mentioned that. At the end of the day one does whatever he/she is pleased with.I am of the opinion that something good comes out of the exchange of ideas.

@ Dave ... wrote :

" You might want to do some more reading on exactly what 5-1-1 mix is and what it isn't. I suggest the link below."
MY ANSWER:
I have done extensive studying and reading about 5-1-1 and have read all Al's(Tapla's) wiriting and numerous discussion (in Container forum) about it for the last 3 months. I know all about its role, structure and application. The main thrust of it revolve around moisture control (drainage and retention). It is considered mostly non fertile medium. That is why one has to supplement Ca, Mg, CRF and liquid with major nutrients ( N-P-K) continually.

About MG potting mix: I am not misled about it as I am not using it or any claim made by Promix in anyway. Weather or not their claims are just a hype or whatever, that is another issue. I just mentioned them as alternatives, providing convenience .
I think enough is said.


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RE: Smart pot tomato Mix ideas for fun

Hey guys, you folks that have used smart pots, or root bags are you placing these on the ground? virtually creating a raised bed, with that said are you using garden soil in this case? or is it a blend of both? does it matter?


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RE: Smart pot tomato Mix ideas for fun

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Thu, Feb 20, 14 at 10:33

Hey guys, you folks that have used smart pots, or root bags are you placing these on the ground? virtually creating a raised bed, with that said are you using garden soil in this case? or is it a blend of both? does it matter?

Yes to on the ground but that doesn't make them like a raised bed. Raised bed has no bottom in it. Roots in raised beds can grow down into the soil below. That doesn't happen with Smart Pots.

No to the garden soil. Yes it does matter. They are filled with a soil-less mix just like any other container to prevent compaction and insure drainage.

Dave


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I agree with what just Dave said. You can put them on bare ground, on concrete, wooden stand .. it make no difference in principle. They are just containers.
BTW, I don't understand how do they qualify to be called "SMART" !!!


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RE: Smart pot tomato Mix ideas for fun

Lucille,

A 24 inch pot 18 in tall holds 4.7 cubic feet. Volume is area of the base times height. PI times radius times radius times height. 3.14159 x 1 x1 x1.5 is 4.7 cf.

Zeuspaul

This post was edited by zeuspaul on Fri, Feb 21, 14 at 3:14


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RE: Smart pot tomato Mix ideas for fun

Thank you Zeuspaul.


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RE: Smart pot tomato Mix ideas for fun

BTW, I don't understand how do they qualify to be called "SMART" !!!

I dont have a clue, why they are called smart, this is my first year to try them so I need education, I guess when I said raised bed I was speaking of the affect that the earth below the grow bag has on the substrate inside of them, since these are made of a permeable material what affect does the ground have on them as far as the hydrology affect is concerned? I kind of new the garden soil would not be correct dogdirt thanks for the info roots cannot go into the ground agreed, soiless mix definitely, maybe a little more water retentive then standard 511 if it is setting directly on the ground?


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