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242WILLNOTDO's Photo 242WILLNOTDO SparkPoints: (7,377)
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9/26/12 7:46 P

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Even more good ideas to get some good tomatoes!
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I compost grass clippings, leaves, and kitchen scraps. We have a man coming to dig holes for some red leaf photinias next week. I am going to have him go ahead and till a row and I will compost there this fall and winter - then add the tomatoes in the spring.

Meanwhile, I will make some 'tea' to use on the little plants I have going right now.

Thanks for the help!

Have patience with all things but mostly - have patience with yourself!

"DO or DO NOT, there is no TRY" --- Yoda


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CBRINKLEY401's Photo CBRINKLEY401 SparkPoints: (66,042)
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9/26/12 3:12 P

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The compost trench is a great idea for tomatoes. One thing you have to be careful of is drainage. If your soil doesn't drain properly, and you get lots of rain, then the trench can easily fill up with water and your tomato roots will rot. Best to fill the compost trench to soil level and then mound up all the soil you dug out on top, making a kind of raised bed. Plant the tomatoes deep, so they can form additional roots along the buried stem to help them grow and produce more. If you do get a heavy rain that turns the garden into a swamp, the roots that have grown into the compost trench may get harmed, but the ones above it should be OK and will keep the plant from getting harmed too much, as well as being able to pull up the nutrients and water that the plant needs.

I do plant potatoes in compost trenches, and sometimes pumpkins, another heavy feeder. The bigger and deeper the trench, the better. Put your table scraps, chopped up leaves, grass, whatever in the trench. Once it is filled, you cover it with a couple of inches of soil, leaving the rest of the soil to use later when hilling up the potatoes. In the early spring, you just push the potatoes into the dirt and cover. As they grow, continue to hill them up with the soil.
When the vines die back, you can often move the mound with your hands and find all the potatoes in the loose compost. Mine were huge when grown that way one year!

Some people who don't have a place for a compost bin will actually dig holes in their garden rows or behind some of their perennials and bushes. Just put the scraps directly in the holes, sprinkle a little soil on top, and when full put the rest of the soil over it and dig a new hole. Hard to dig them in winter, so you have to make sure you pre-dig plenty of holes in the fall for your scraps.

Edited by: CBRINKLEY401 at: 9/26/2012 (16:15)
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TERRIJ7's Photo TERRIJ7 SparkPoints: (132,909)
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9/26/12 2:06 P

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You could dig up a small area--like a little trench--and use it for compost all winter, and then just plant your tomatoes there in the spring. What do you compost? Lawn clippings? Leaves? kitchen scraps?

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242WILLNOTDO's Photo 242WILLNOTDO SparkPoints: (7,377)
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9/26/12 10:46 A

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CBRINKLEY401 - that is some GREAT info. I think part of my tomato trouble may be that I am not feeding them enough. I have a good compost bin and mix some compost into my containers when I plant, but I have never dressed them with the compost during the growing cycle. I have lots of cheesecloth - the 'tea' sounds like just the ticket!

We are considering putting the tomato plants into the ground next year to address the hot root situation. We will have to amend the soil with lots of compost and sand - we have the fall and winter to get that done though...

Have patience with all things but mostly - have patience with yourself!

"DO or DO NOT, there is no TRY" --- Yoda


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CBRINKLEY401's Photo CBRINKLEY401 SparkPoints: (66,042)
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9/25/12 11:06 P

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I have never tried the topsy turvies myself, so I can't speak from personal experience. However, it is the same as growing these in containers, at least in that since tomatoes are heavy feeders and there is a limited amount of soil in the containers, you have to be extra careful to feed them regularly throughout the growing season. You should also make sure that you are starting with rich soil, even mixing in compost before planting. Leaving at least a couple of inches of space at the top of the container will allow you to continue to top dress the tomato plants with compost, so that every time you water them you are also feeding them. If there is a way to add compost to the topsy turvey after planting, then by all means do so.
If there isn't room to add any additional compost, you can always make compost "tea", by putting about a gallon of compost in a 5 gallon bucket and then filling it with water. Let it sit for at least a day, strain off the water, and use it to water your plants. You can add more water to the compost to make additional tea. I've also used the water from boiling eggs to fertilize plants with - it is full of minerals, especially calcium (calcium deficiency is why you get blossom end rot, but it is usually because there is too little or too much water for the plants to be able to pull enough calcium out of the soil). Some people will put the compost in a cloth bag and set it inside the bucket of water, which eliminates having to strain the water first (especially if you use a watering can - you don't want pieces of compost to get stuck in the nozzle of the can).

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TERRIJ7's Photo TERRIJ7 SparkPoints: (132,909)
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9/22/12 8:29 P

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My dad tried some topsy turvies and said they were a waste of time. Maybe for the same reason they didn't do well in your black containers? They didn't get a big harvest from them.


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9/22/12 6:39 P

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Hi Terri -
I read recently that the tomato roots are very sensitive to heat. Of course, the containers that I had them in were black so that made it even worse...UGH! Oh well, I will do it differently next year.

Speaking of which...I found a new, in box Topsy Turvy at the thrift store this week. I am going to give it a try next year. Has anyone out there tried one? Results?

Have patience with all things but mostly - have patience with yourself!

"DO or DO NOT, there is no TRY" --- Yoda


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9/22/12 5:54 P

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I did both yellow crookneck squash and cucumbers in a container this year. We didn't get a huge harvest, but we did get some. I'm in N. Calif. and don't have the intense heat that TX has but my raised-bed tomatoes weren't anything to write home about, either. I wonder if their roots don't go deep enough?

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9/20/12 6:14 P

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Thanks for that info CBRINKLEY401!

Have patience with all things but mostly - have patience with yourself!

"DO or DO NOT, there is no TRY" --- Yoda


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CBRINKLEY401's Photo CBRINKLEY401 SparkPoints: (66,042)
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9/20/12 2:12 P

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Welcome to the group. I'm a Midwesterner, so I can't give any suggestions about growing tomatoes in Texas, but there are lots of members here and I'm sure that some of them are more knowledgeable about that. I usually start my tomatoes from seed and order them from Totally Tomatoes. They have all sorts of seeds, both hybrid and heirloom, and you can find varieties that are more suited to warmer climates, as well as ones for cooler areas and shorter summers.

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EEVEE1's Photo EEVEE1 Posts: 4,426
9/16/12 4:27 P

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welcome to the team.

Success consists of a series of little daily victories.

Laddie Hutar



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SHARJOPAUL's Photo SHARJOPAUL Posts: 31,005
9/15/12 2:34 P

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Hi, welcome to the team.

SKEETOR's Photo SKEETOR Posts: 1,612
9/14/12 12:04 P

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Welcome!

Wow...you're doing great with the container gardening!
I used to live in Rowlett and Arlington about 10 years back...(geez, I'm getting old!)

Si vales, valeo.


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242WILLNOTDO's Photo 242WILLNOTDO SparkPoints: (7,377)
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9/14/12 11:00 A

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Hi everyone! I am a container gardener in Texas (north of Dallas). I love to grow herbs - basil and cilantro are my FAVES!

I did well with okra this year and plan to plant more next year. I would like to harvest 8-12 pods per day (only got 6 or so per week from 4 plants this year). My onions always do well, too. The lettuces did great - I just planted them too late. I am planting some more today. I think we are over our 100 degree days now. I have my first sweet potato plants going and they look great - will harvest the first of Oct.

I have not been able to get a decent tomato of any kind. I tried the grape variety this year - I think we got 4 total! And, I don't do well with squash either. If you have tips on growing either of those in containers please share!

In addition to the lettuces/greens, I am going to try broccoli, cabbage, beets, radishes, carrots, and turnips.

Happy Gardening!

Have patience with all things but mostly - have patience with yourself!

"DO or DO NOT, there is no TRY" --- Yoda


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