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Help with plants in a big container

Posted by tnkrer 5b, MA (My Page) on
Thu, May 17, 12 at 10:21

I have made a big container (4' x 3'6", height 3') This being my first time, I have bunch of questions .. I am creating multiple threads with questions on each different topic.

The planter gets sun from 11 AM to 5 pm. Also There are white walls on three sides of the container (north, east, west). So it should get some radiated sun/heat. I already have plants for roma tomato, cherry tomato and the herbs growing inside in peat pots. I am thinking that each sq foot will support one big plant. and three herbs. Here is the plan
Any problems with this arrangement? Should these be together or not be together? What else can I plant in the remaining three squares? What other tomato plants I should try in MA? Indeterminate are preferred.

Also when I plant the peat pots (bonnie vegetables bought on earth day from lowes), should I just drop the pot in the 3:2:1 mix?

Thanks for reading and thanks for your help!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Help with plants in a big container

YOU should look up the growing habits of all the plants you want to grow .Check out the space requirements for the different types .Many tomato plants will get 3 feet around .Cucumbers have large vines and must be planned for .
You cant just expect to put a bunch of plants together,YOU need to put some effort in too. Do some research reading.
I believe the plants will be too crowded.

RE: Help with plants in a big container

I am reading the forums and trying to figure out as much as I can.. Posting my questions and providing good information about what I am doing is part of putting effort into it ..

Anyway, I haven't yet bought many plants since I haven't figured out how much I should fit in there and this is my attempt to find it. I was thinking that earthtainer size (33"x16") is suggested to fit 2 tomato plants, so 3.5 sq ft for two tomato plants is probably OK.

Haven't yet bought pepper or cucumber .. Next part is to find out more about those

RE: Help with plants in a big container

  • Posted by rina_ 6a Ont (My Page) on
    Thu, May 17, 12 at 18:07


I think that you should grow cucumbers on somekind of trellis, they will take less space.
But if you do, they will shade your pepper plants. Shortest plants should be in the front row.

Is the area around your planter enclosed? You said there are walls on three sides...That should not be a problem, since it will create a 'microclimate' - it may be warmer & plants should grow better. Just make sure there is good air circulation, and that you water properly.


RE: Help with plants in a big container

Thanks Rina!

I have adjusted the plan based on yours, dickie's and raybo's comments (from other thread). I moved the herbs to the front and used up all the remaining space about 12 sq ft in 6 plants. So 2 sq ft per plant. Does that look better? I still need to read up on pepper and cukes. How high/wide those become, what fertilizers those need and how to make that trellis. I will buy those plants from local nursery once I know more.
Planter Plan Version 2

The area is sort of an alcove created by the walls of the house (8-9 ft tall, white), a rectangle of 8'x10' and this planter (4 x 3 1/2) sits in the middle.

RE: Help with plants in a big container

  • Posted by rina_ 6a Ont (My Page) on
    Sun, May 20, 12 at 23:24


I would use 2x2 in each of rear corners (screw them into the corners of the box from each side), then another one (horizontal) spanning the corner ones. That way you will have trellis fo all tall plants (tomatoes & cuke). You can use string at 12" intervals (horizontaly) for additional support, or bamboo sticks. I used trellis exactly like that for past 3 yrs, found it working great for me.
I ripped 2x4 to get 2 strong corner stakes. They are sturdy & used now 4th year. My trellis was just under 8'long.

For 'Some other tomato' I would use very low-growing one (like a patio tomato).

I think basil may grow too tall (3-6feet) unless you get a dwarf variety (abt. 6").
It's best to pinch off the flower stalks as they appear, otherwise it will go to seed & will not produce as many tasty leaves.

Hope I am not telling you what you already know. Rina

RE: Help with plants in a big container

I think you would do ok with that arrangement as long as you support the cherry and Roma's well and go with a small variety as RIBA suggested for the " other tomato". You may want to single or double stem the cherry and Roma so they don't grow too wide but get tall instead. just search YouTube for single stemming tomatoes if you have never done it before, it's an easy technique, just takes a little more diligence than simply letting the tomatoes grow unchecked.

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