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Smart Pots -- can we talk??

Posted by dancinglemons 7+ (My Page) on
Sat, May 15, 10 at 1:44

Hello all,

I have done a search on the GW for 'smart pots' and do not come up with much. I have read what I can find on Google and it looks promising. Has anyone here used them?? Has anyone here grown tomatoes and/or potatoes in them?? I don't care if it is the Smart Pot brand or the brand currently sold by Gardener's Supply. If you have used them please post pictures if possible. Please don't post what the vendors say about them -- I have already read their websites -- I want to know from GW members with personal experience.

TIA,
DL


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Smart Pots -- can we talk??

I currently have two types of potatoes planted in 4 SmartPots. So, I'll let you know at the end of the growing season! So far, I like them. They are well made, and fairly stiff. They were not so stiff though that I couldn't roll down the sides. They seem to do well as far as draining (I have them sitting on bare ground). The potatoes are just coming up, so that part at least has gone well. Long as this crazy weather we've had doesn't kill the poor potatoes, I'll give a full report the end of the year!


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RE: Smart Pots -- can we talk??

I used 5 and 10 gallon last year, grew tomatoes cherry and
roma type. The tomatoes did well until it got very hot.
Need to water more as they seemed to dry out.
To be fair they did better than the tomatoes in earthboxes
did. Once our texas summers get hot nothing does well.
This spring I planted about 50 green onion sets in two ten
gallon smart pots, 100 total. As they grew I used the onions to thin as needed. Current count is about 25 per pot. I,ve been happy with smart pots and will add more.
What I've learned so far:
1. I think the 10gal size is the smallest to use for tomatoes. The 5gal. size I tried last year did poorer than the tomatoes in the 10 gal. I think peppers would be fine in 5 gal.
2. Water slowly if you put a lot of water in the pot fast
it tends to run out the side and not soak into the middle.
3. I used a 60 40 mix of potting mix and compost this spring and it seemed to work better than the 100%
potting mix I used last year.
4. I don't think any size under 5 gal. would work here
as they would need watering to often.
5. I ordered from the smart pot web site and the service was very good. I have not tried the ones from garden supply.
Hope this helps I'll know more after this year, but I think you should try a couple and see what you think.
mike


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RE: Smart Pots -- can we talk??

I have used Smart Pots for about 5 years now. I really like them and I don't have much space. I have about twenty of them from 3 gal. to 25 gal. Used the 25 gal for 1 tomato plant last year and it was awesome! I used the 5 gal. smart pot for cucumbers and peppers. As one poster said, they do require watering more often. I used Al's 5-1-1, as I will this year but will have to amend it, maybe more peat. I will post pictures if I can figure it out. By the way I think your posts are most informative on Gardenweb as well as Earthbox.Com. Thanks.


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RE: Smart Pots -- can we talk??

Thanks everyone!! Now that I have some positive information, I will be using the SmartPots for the first time this year.

DL


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RE: Smart Pots -- can we talk??

how did they turn out for you dancinglemons? i recently got a 2 gal and a 5 gal smart pot. havent tried them out yet, but being down here in texas and reading what mikewrt wrote maybe i should look into other root pruning pots

thanks everyone!


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RE: Smart Pots -- can we talk??

Here are some homemade smart pots I made. The 1st is a milk crate with a weed barrier fabric lining with 5-1-1(5gal). The 2nd is just the weed barrier stapled & glued together with
potting soil(3gal.).
John

Here is a link that might be useful: Smart pots


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RE: Smart Pots -- can we talk??

Roottrapper would be better. After having tried both, I much prefer Roottraper over smartpot in hot weather.

Here is a link that might be useful: ROOTTRAPPER® CONTAINERS


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RE: Smart Pots -- can we talk??

I'm resurrecting this old post as I just ordered roottrapper containers for my blueberries and wonder if anyone is using these or the smart pots and how they like them.

Thank you.
Kathy


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RE: Smart Pots -- can we talk??

Kathy: I've been using smart pots for summer vegetables for four years and love them. I am not as familiar with root trappers, but I believe they work in a similar manner, by air pruning roots. Since this post started, there have been several discussions of them that you can find by searching root trapper or smart pot. Besides personal experience, the academic studies showing their benefits are what most convinced me.

Here is a link that might be useful: Here are some studies


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RE: Smart Pots -- can we talk??

Ohiofem--
Thank you so much for the "studies" articles! The were extremely informative especially the one about better winter survival in Smart Pots. Good thing cause I took a chance and bought 25 of them Can't wait to see how the work out.


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RE: Smart Pots -- can we talk??

I'm in my 3rd or 4th year of using smartpots and earthboxes, and I love both. I first grew Super San Marzano tomatoes in the 10 gallon pots, which really are too small, but they did quite well in spite of the size. Last year I upped it to 15 gal. which is also too small, but they did well enough for the woodchucks to murder them. I had some bell peppers in the 7 gal., and cherry tomatoes in the 10 gal. last year which did famously. On my deck, I have basil in the 3 gal, and have to cut them back every 3 weeks to prevent them from bolting.

They are easily washable and reusable, and so easily portable. If you want aesthetics, you can hide them inside a nice looking solid pot.

Becuase of the way they prevent root binding, some plants will like tomatoes will grow the roots down into the ground, which can be difficult when cleaning up in the fall.


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RE: Smart Pots -- can we talk??

Thanks again everyone!! I did not get started in 2010 as planned. I did find smart*pot knockoffs with handles and more larger sizes for less money -- I will try to find that link and post it here.

KathyLXI,
I totally agree that 10gal is not sufficient for the SanMarzano super plants. I first grew them in EarthBox (2 plants per box) and even though they survived they did much better when I only put one plant in an EarthBox. When I put the SanM in a 20 gallon container it was really and truly a super tomato plant.

Thanks again one and all!
DL


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RE: Smart Pots -- can we talk?? 2

I found the link. The knockoffs are called Root Pouch and they are sold by Greenhouse MegaStore. They have 3-4 year and 4-5 year. Sizes up to 35gallon in the 4-5 year type. DH and I will surely get these this year.

Cheers,
DL

Here is a link that might be useful: Root Pouch link


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Smart pots vs yield pots

I really like smart pots but also have used a new brand call yield pots. They are about half the price but are actually really good quality. Have any of you guys used the yield pots yet?

Here is a link that might be useful: Video on Yieldpots


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RE: Smart Pots -- can we talk??

This is my first year using Smart Pots. I purchased three 10 gallon pots. Can I put two green pepper plants in one or is it better to do one in each?


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RE: Smart Pots -- can we talk??

This is my first year with Smart Pots because I downsized to a smaller place with lots of courtyard. I did a lot of container gardening research and settled on six pepper plants in 10 gallon Smart Pots, 6 tomato plants in 20 gallon Smart Pots, 5 blueberry plants in 20 gallon Smart Pots, 4 blackberry plants in 20 gallon Smart Pots, two watermelon in 15 gallon smart pots, two cucumber in 15 gallon Smart Pots and two eggplant in 15 gallon Smart Pots. I am keeping a journal of my plant varieties, growth, productivity, feeding, etc... So far the tomatoes in Smart Pots are happier than the four I have in plastic pots. Next year, I may put two pepper plants in one 20 gallon pot so they don't dry out so readily but we'll see. I am in San Diego (15 miles inland - dry, but not desert hot) - we'll see how the Smart Pots do in August. Got my peppers (and some tomatoes) from Sweet Corn Organic Nursery and the plants were strong and healthy upon arrival. They sell great amendments, also. First growing season with these folks but between their amendments, plants and the Smart Pots, my container garden looks GREAT!

Here is a link that might be useful: Sweet Corn Organic Nursery


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RE: Smart Pots -- can we talk??

SDV: I think you'll have a lot of trouble with your tomatoes and peppers packed in like that. This is a photo of two giant Marconi peppers in a 10-gallon smart pot. They were planted less than a month ago. These peppers only grow about 18 inches high so I thought it would be alright to have two together in that size pot. But we've had very mild weather with lots of rain, and these plants are already demanding water almost every day. I grow one indeterminate tomato each in 20 and 25-gallon smart pots, and they are already huge. I tried growing two in one pot, but my yield wasn't nearly as good and I had more disease problems.

Here is a link that might be useful: One tomato in a 20-gallon smart pot


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RE: Smart Pots -- can we talk??

Great thread,

This is my first year in container gardening and with fabric pots. Here is a photo of my 20 Gal from Hydrofarm with 5-1-1 mix and a Ramapo F-1 Hybrid variety. I also planted in ground the same varieties and have 3 more of the 20 Gal pots. They were planted May 16th. I am also a 2nd year tomato grower and this is my first year from seed along with the pots.

And to mention I have had a blossom problem but I think it is because of the weather and the seedlings were maturing in there little containers too long before I could plant them outside.


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RE: Smart Pots -- can we talk??

I am having more success with this type of container than I ever had with my in ground vegetable garden, I have more control over water and fertilizer and soil conditions without the time-drain involved in weeding, my least favorite chore. I have 5 indeterminate tomato plants each planted in their own 20 gallon containers. I embedded a 14 inch square tomato cage in each when i filled with soil at planting back in early March and as the plants are all now over 6 feet tall, I had to fasten extenders on all of them. The containers are a little wider than tall and have been very stable even with the extenders and in high wind conditions that toppled other tall foliage plants in large conventional pots; none of my tomatoes fell over. I have 7 okra plants in 15 gallon containers, those are a little crowded because I couldn't decide which seedling to throw out of the nest when the time came to thin (2 plants per pot except for the dwarf green long pod, which ended up with 3 plants). However they are making pods at about the same rate as my in ground okra used to. Besides the dwarf green long pod, I have Stewarts Zeebest, which has been a little slower growing but is now turning into monsters with trunks at least an inch in diameter each. I have six Pointset 76 cucumber vines in one 20 gallon container and have had to start giving cucumbers away. I have two 10 gallon containers, each has two early prolific straight neck yellow squash plants. Originally I wasn't going to plant squash because of my experiences with the squash pest whose name should not be spoken (hint, it makes frass) but I had container mix and pots left over so I just threw the seeds in and they took off. I am now unexpectedly harvesting squash and engaged in a war with that pest (moan). I have sage, chives, basil, and rosemary in 7 gallon containers and all are thriving. I have used both the smart and hydro farm brands. The hydros hold their shape better, the smarts tend to droop at the rims, but the smarts seem to require less frequent waterings. Most are set on ground and as others have said, this wicks moisture so there are few drainage problems. The ones set on concrete definitely stay moist longer but it makes it easier to overwater so you have to be careful. Some staining of the concrete also occurs, and I have placed coco mats under those to reduce this. I like being able to move them around using the handles but you have to be aware that once the larger vegetable plants reach a certain size, this becomes less of an option so consider their placement carefully in advance. I could likely not move my tomatoes, okra, and squash now, though when they were small it was a breeze since the pots have handles and are really not that heavy then even with soil in them. Hope this is helpful!


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RE: Smart Pots -- can we talk??

Forgot to mention- for media I mixed container mix, bagged garden "soil" and a little pine mulch (smallest pieces I could find). I've read so much about the 511 mix on this website but for the life of me I cannot locate anything resembling pine fines except for reptibark, for which I will not pay $24 a bag. I fertilize at the label rate using foliage pro and protekt but I still had to supplement the cucmbers with Epsom salts, I guess their production outstripped what was provided in terms of magnesium. I did add controlled release fertilizer pearls with micros to the media before plantings and I didn't start the soluable feeds until I began to see blooms. Temps here are now in the mid 90's and I'm watering almost daily but nothing is dying yet.


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RE: Smart Pots -- can we talk??

I've 8 of these things, and I'm on the second season. I tried peppers the first year and was not impressed, couldn't figure out what the problem was. This year its sweet potatoes, and now I've seen whats going on. In the arid, windy environment I deal with, they dry out amazingly fast and need watering every day. Not just a quart or so, they need a gallon.

I think I prefer plastic containers.

This post was edited by david52 on Sat, Jun 22, 13 at 18:37


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RE: Smart Pots -- can we talk??

I am doing square foot gardening and am very frustrated with the results, so I am turning to container gardening. I ordered a couple of Smartpots and really like them so far. I used the 2 gallon pot for Alpine Strawberries and have wheat grass growing in another pot.
I found the information I need to have to know which vegetables go with which size pot, but, it doesn't say how many plants you can put into the pot. For example, if I want to grow carrots (I don't remember the pot size), I don't know how many I can plant in it. I am looking for a general description, but with more detail of how many plants to a pot I can use. Thanks for any help.


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RE: Smart Pots -- can we talk??

Heck, I made a bunch of them last year and used them for potatoes. (I have an embroidery machine also) Going to try some tomatoes as well this year. I bunch them together to help reduce water evaporation.


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