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Advice for tomatoes in containers

Posted by Bhamster 7b (My Page) on
Thu, Jun 20, 13 at 17:49

I was sent over here by the Tomato Gardening folks to get your advice. I SWORE I would not attempt tomatoes this year because of trouble with stink bugs for the past 2 years, but I couldn't help myself and got a Patio tomato and an Early Girl Bush.

Below is a picture of the set-up I had planned--but then the TG forum folks advised me that I should put each plant in it's own container.

I was also going to follow this plan: http://www.finegardening.com/how-to/articles/growing-tomatoes-in-containers.aspx by putting screening in the bottom of the container and rocks in the tray--but I'm being told that I shouldn't do either. Can I get your opinions?

My main concern is trying to construct some kind of insect screen over the plants to keep the stink bugs away. We just replaced our old patio screens and I've been holding onto them for this purpose. Any suggestions how to construct something?

Thanks for your help!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Advice for tomatoes in containers

Don't know much about stink bugs ?

do they just attack the fruit leave egg's what do they do ?

BZ


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RE: Advice for tomatoes in containers

You need each plant in separate container. You can add a pepper and basil plant to the one tomato. They complement each other The soil needs to be porous and free draining. The nutrient for the plants come from fertilizer mix, the soil will not be enough. As pots size decrease the plant must be treated as a hydroponic. roots need air as well as water. The container will need drain holes.

For the squash bugs, There are organic insecticide that would work or chemicals. plant a bush squash as a sacrificial plant and us a systemic poison on them. I am using wild amaranth to control cucumber beetles with nearly 100% success. Squash bugs love to crawl so you might have to make a framed bed to seal all surfaces.

I am using bottomless food tins of 2 gallons for my eggplants, tomatoes and peppers, In grass fields to give them a height advantage and the root go into the ground. This might apply to you

Good luck


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RE: Advice for tomatoes in containers

Stink bugs have something similar to a mosquito on them, and "bite" the tomato and suck the juice out and leave a little white hard spot on the tomato.


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RE: Advice for tomatoes in containers

Thanks Ed :)

we have fruit fly same sort of thing but they lay eggs so either way no fun hey !!

I pull all suckers off the tomatoes so I can get at the fruit, make these bags out of frost mat seal them with a plastic bag sealer of e bay or wherever then cover the fruit and pin them to the fruit stem with a peg, works pretty good and is cheap to do just a bit of work to make them.

this year am going to double bag them make it even harder for the buggers.

it sure has to be worth a try for the stink bugs ?

we don't do all this work to feed bugs ?

anyways its an option hey :)

that one dangling there was someones idea of a joke I think maybe thought the tom was of to get married ? :)

BZ


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RE: Advice for tomatoes in containers

Bagging tomatoes is an interesting idea, BZ. I have a terrible time with stink bugs, both because of the damage that they do and because of the fungal disease that they spread. I'm training most of my tomatoes as single stems this year in order to open them up and make it easier to spot and hand pick stink bugs. I've also considered the caging idea, Bhamster, but I worry that stink bugs will be hard to keep out without a hermetic seal and that the reduced air flow will lead to even more fungal disease.

As for your questions about growing methods, definitely go with one tomato per tub. I see no point in the gravel business, though. When placed in the bottom of a pot, gravel does absolutely nothing to help with drainage. When placed in the tray, I suppose it might help by elevating the pot above the drained water. I'd just do away with the tray entirely, though, and let the container drain freely. I definitely wouldn't try to collect and reuse the drained water, though, since all you'll be doing is concentrating fertilizer salts in you mix.


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RE: Advice for tomatoes in containers

Wow, what an interesting idea about bagging the fruit! So this kind of bag doesn't cook the tomatoes? I tried to find "frost mat" bags on the Web but couldn't find them. Is there another name?

If you'd like to see a picture of a stink bug, here's one preparing to attack one of my tomatoes.

This post was edited by Bhamster on Fri, Jun 21, 13 at 10:26


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RE: Advice for tomatoes in containers

That's actually a leaffooted bug, but the difference is purely academic...

Here is a link that might be useful: Stink Bugs & Leaffooted Bugs


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RE: Advice for tomatoes in containers

Oh yes, shazaam, you're right. I had submitted that pic to our extension service and that's what they told me. I think they must have told me it does the same kind of thing as a stink bug far as puncturing the fruit, right?

So if it's a leaffooted bug as opposed to a stink bug, will this guy NOT let out a stink? They told me to pick them off and put them in a jar of soapy water--I thought that was to prevent the smell from being released.


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RE: Advice for tomatoes in containers

That's right. Both pierce/puncture stems and fruits and suck out juices. In my experience, leaffooted bugs don't exude the unpleasant aroma that I associate with stink bugs, but I haven't handled all that many of them.


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RE: Advice for tomatoes in containers

Hi shazaam & Bhamster

I always pull the suckers off we have hot humid summers with lots of rain usually, and put them up a stake or train them up a string, for both those reasons plus get better size tomatoes , I have noticed most people in the US don't pull suckers, not saying one way is better than the other.

but if having problems with bugs and disease then it might be worth a try hey ?

not sure if the bags will work on the stink bugs but has to be worth a try ? they sure are ugly suckers the stink bugs.

it didn't stop every fly last summer but 90 % of them I recon and they are well everywhere in breeding season.

try googling exclusion bags or something like that, have seen people even use wax paper bags with a little hole in the bottom let the water out.

I just make my own out of frost matting, but I am sure there would be someone selling something like these bags in the US.

good luck and let us know how you get on ?

I don't like feeding bugs :)

BZ

This post was edited by bitzppa on Fri, Jun 21, 13 at 22:25


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RE: Advice for tomatoes in containers

hey guys

what I do is buy frost mat not sure how thick you can get it but 17 gsm up to about 25 I have found it here , then make a wood or solid cardboard template the size I need it and cut out the mat with a sharp blade or mark and cut with scissors.

then use a cheap heat sealer for the sides one I have is 12" sealer seems bigger enough but a bit bigger would be ok too and tie them on or peg them which ever works best. not much too it really.

but if not wanting to do that as I said try googling exclusion bags or similar.

BZ

This post was edited by bitzppa on Fri, Jun 21, 13 at 22:28


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RE: Advice for tomatoes in containers

Thanks bitzppa. While looking up exclusion bags, I found this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZicwzVUUN_g. I'm definitely going to try it.

I appreciate your advice!

Here is a link that might be useful: Making fruit protection bags


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RE: Advice for tomatoes in containers

Hi Bhamster

yep that's the same idea just a diff spin on it I missed sewing class so heat press for me, :)

did you find any for sale ?

I can buy them for like $1.00 each but choose to make them works out cheaper and can make them as I need them.

hope you find some or can get some made they do work and I guess using white would make it easier to pick the bugs out ?

mine are flying so hard to catch.

good luck with them :)

BZ

Here is a link that might be useful: see here


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RE: Advice for tomatoes in containers

I like BZ's method but I do not know are those plants in containers. I hate tomato bushy branches. This is my first time grow tomatoes. The stem are so fragile I broke 4 big main stems of my tomato plants yesterday when I tried to use Florida Weave. After I saw BZ's plants I removed a lot of branches. I am planning to use big stakes when they are getting tall.

I cannot give any advice here because I am new, sorry. I think BZ's method would be very easy to mange the plant.

Good luck
Caelian


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RE: Advice for tomatoes in containers

Caelian

If you are going to use big stake, I think it would be good to insert it now rather than later so you don't damage roots so much.
I also prefer just one stem max of 2 per plant (growing in container or in garden bed), and sturdy support.
Rina


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RE: Advice for tomatoes in containers

deleted-double post (again!)

This post was edited by rina_ on Sun, Jun 23, 13 at 23:22


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RE: Advice for tomatoes in containers

Hi Caelian

those were in a raised bed of sorts those boards are 6" high I didn't dig the ground just chucked some composted cow manure in and planted, so after settling they grew in 5" of composted manure, I fertilized like I would a 5.1.1 bark mix.

single stem is a must here for bug control & air flow , but the down side I needed a ladder to work on them latter in the season LOL and had to get out the bigger stakes.

tomatoes are pretty tough but they don't like bugs or bugs like them and if watering aim at the roots, if its raining well what can you do ? but water born disease is also a problem.

I grow some hybrids and open pollinated varieties which lose a lot in translation as they have different names in different country's which is a bummer really.

depending on the long term summer forecast that will sort of make up my mind what varieties to grow. most of that decision is based on rain forecast.

we have a pretty long growing season here so I can stager them, winter here now and have some in a hot house I brought cheap off e bay and touch wood are doing ok so far just starting to send some flowers out on the shortest day of the year, will they set fruit I don't know new exercise for me as is container growing. the ones in hothouse are in bags/pots overnight has been down to 48f will take some pic's when it stops raining put them up if anyone is interested, its the rain that's worrying me the most in disease they might pick up. oh well fingers crossed :)

but its fun hey and not everything works but I try and watch what does and do it again or make it better.

here's a pic of the tomatoes with the bags on before the bags.

its all in the name of being outside enjoying nature watching things grow hey :) gee I must be getting old LOL

BZ


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RE: Advice for tomatoes in containers

it does work :)

sample of the crop.

BZ


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RE: Advice for tomatoes in containers

Very nice tomatoes!

Josh


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RE: Advice for tomatoes in containers

thanks Josh :)

BZ


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