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Indeterminate caged tomato plants per IBC

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Post  Pitch 2/21/2014, 12:24 pm

How many plants are the ideal number for a 275 gal tote?
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Post  quiltbea 2/21/2014, 12:48 pm

I think your number must be wrong.
In any case, an Indeterminate needs lots of food to grow so I wouldn't plant less than 1 for every 2 square feet of soil space.  Some would take a chance with less space, but they'd have to feed the soil well during its season.
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Post  boffer 2/21/2014, 1:27 pm

This is a 275 gal IBC tote.
Indeterminate caged tomato plants per IBC Ibc

Did you cut one up to make boxes?  

Keep your plants pruned, and indeterminate tomatoes will do fine planted 1 per square foot.
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Post  quiltbea 2/21/2014, 2:52 pm

I stand corrected.  Thanks boffer.  I never saw such a thing before.
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Post  NAR56 2/21/2014, 3:49 pm

I use one of these to catch rain water for my garden. I use a sump pump attached to a garden hose for watering. Garden just loves rain water over tap water.
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Post  camprn 2/21/2014, 4:27 pm

quiltbea wrote: I wouldn't plant less than 1 for every 2 square feet of soil space.  Some would take a chance with less space, but they'd have to feed the soil well during its season.
+1

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Post  Pitch 2/21/2014, 8:28 pm

 


I would think that one plant per container would give outstanding results with so much area for the plants root system to grow and sustain outstanding production? 
I am using two of the 275 Gallon IBC's to catch and contain rain water (one at each end of a 60x40 foot steel building) with a 12 volt timer and solenoid controlled solar powered pump system for drip irrigation.  The actual inside dimensions after removing the complete top of the IBC totes are as follows:  48" L x 35"W x34" deep. With Mel's mix and a little tender loving care the 15 containers with 10 foot tall cages that I have already constructed should hopefully produce a bumper crop of tomatoes this summer?
However, I am still not certain if I could possibly gain a bigger yield by planting two (2) tomatoes instead of one per container?  To me; this seems likes an overcrowding condition taht would produce nice plants, but less actual fruit production????

If anyone has experimented with using these type totes without the fish or worms that seem to be all the rage for these type containers, I would appreciate any input?  I am not interested in the extra labor and expense involved of caring for and feeding fish or worms...I just want to use good, healthy, friable soil (Mel's mix) with plenty of water, sun and organic fertilizer added as required...    
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Post  quiltbea 2/22/2014, 12:27 am

With those dimensions, you are talking an SFG of 4 ft by 3 ft and plenty deep. 
You could easily put 6 tomato plants in that thing.
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Post  Turan 2/22/2014, 1:59 am

Make sure it drains so you do not make a swamp.

I grew in a cold frame of those dimensions 6 determinate tomatoes and picked lots of fruit but 4 would of meant less crowding.

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Post  camprn 2/22/2014, 7:00 am

Pitch, the fact is with square foot gardening you truly only need 6"-8" of growing medium known as Mel's mix. The volume of that container is simply excessive for your needs. I would plant an indeterminate tomato plant every other foot. The plants will need a sturdy trellis.

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Post  jimmy cee 2/22/2014, 7:15 am

NAR56 wrote:I use one of these to catch rain water for my garden. I use a sump pump attached to a garden hose for watering. Garden just loves rain water over tap water.

Accurate statement...very noticeable after a nice rain
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Post  Pitch 2/22/2014, 9:33 am

Sounds as if I should cut the totes and cages in half which would give me a total depth per container of approximately 18 inches and double the number of growing containers with approximately 7 sq ft or 18 cu ft for each .  
I am only interested in the maximum amount of fruit yield per plant and I'm still somewhat reluctant to plant more than one per container.
It doesn't make sense to me to plant two or more plants per container if the total output and yield of fruit does not increase proportionally or might actually even have a negative consequence?
If someone has expert experience with expected yields based on number of plants I sure would appreciate your input.one
Otherwise, I'll have to waste a precious growing season and do my own experiments...
Thanks again for sharing your expertise and knowledge...
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Post  camprn 2/22/2014, 9:55 am

More plants mean more fruit, unless the plants are crowded. There are many other variables beyond the size of the root system involved in regard to achieving maximum viable fruit output.

https://www.lsuagcenter.com/NR/rdonlyres/069BCD8F-9469-4843-9CF9-C4A7921BCED3/58635/1902tomatoesHIGHRES1.pdf

For expert advice please contact your local county Cooperative Extension Service Agricultural Agent.

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Post  Turan 2/22/2014, 2:09 pm

Total yield per planting and total yield per plant are different things when applied to the same amount of growing area. The balance is to find how many plants you can grow as well as you can in your circumstances to maximize yield. The answer is different for every garden and gardener and year because there is a huge amount of variables, even when using MM. There are general guidelines but they are just that, general.

Some of those variables are determinants vs in-determinants. Which varieties? And then with IDs how much pruning you do. What are the diseases most problematic in your area and what preventive practices help?

Root space needed by all of them is right in the 12"-18" diameter range. Top growth varies hugely in accordance with variety and horticultural practices.

For experts do as Camprn suggests and call an extension office.

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Post  boffer 2/22/2014, 2:20 pm

One of the totes as pictured above, would hold over 1 square yard of MM. That's a lot of money for 1 or 2 tomato plants.
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Post  walshevak 2/23/2014, 1:56 am

Are you asking about the amount of vine space or the amount of root space needed for a good yield.  Based on the dimension of the container, I would plant 8 tomatoes (4 per side) and 4 basil plants down the middle in the container.  BUT it is WAY too deep.  Believe me you don't need that much MM.  If you are feeling very generous and just will not believe a tomato will grow in 6" of MM then at the most I would go 8"  

 Here is a picture of 2 indeter tomatoes plus 2 basil plants in two 5 gal buckets.  This picture was taken on 10/2/2012 and I was gone for 2 1/2 months during mid summer so the plants were not pruned starting at about the curve of the cattle panel.  They went nuts and tried to take over  the box next to the panel as well as over the top of the panel.  You can see from the number of ripening fruit that the yield was great.

Indeterminate caged tomato plants per IBC Dscn1211

On the other hand here is a picture taken 8/24/2013 of my tomato tunnel mix of cherry, regular and beefsteak sized fruit.  Two cattle panels with 4 indeter tomatoes in buckets on the back panel and 7 on the front panel. Cantaloupe were on the other side of the back panel.  These were pruned properly to 2 main stems.  I gave away, ate, froze, roasted and canned tomatoes until Oct.  Again, each bucket had 1 tomato and 1 basil plant in it.  Mid season I top dressed with more compost.

Indeterminate caged tomato plants per IBC Dscn1610

And the buckets are only about 3/4 full of MM.  

So you can cut your container in half, putting about 7" (8" if you have the money)of MM and plant about 1 plant around the outside edges of the container ever foot or so and if there is space in the middle a few basil plants.  Tomatoes seem to like growing with basil. That's all you need.   Rig up some trellis and GROW.   Or use the container for water and plant in beds or buckets.  Oh the possibilities.  I can even see taking the container out and using the sides as a trellis.

Pictures taken from the south side of the plants.
Kay

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Post  sanderson 2/23/2014, 3:14 am

walshevak wrote:
 I can even see taking the container out and using the sides as a trellis.

Kay

Kay, Good use of the caging! The bin can be cut so the top and bottom can be used as shallow beds (with holes punch in their bottoms 0. Then the left over middle section can be used like a large tractor tire for a third bed. Maybe heavy bricks holding the sides from spreading out. Only a SFG sees so many uses in ordinary or unusal items. Very Happy 
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Post  Pitch 2/23/2014, 11:17 am

Thanks to all for sharing your valuable insights about SFG...
Perhaps I should clarify that I have grown raised bed gardens (in the 80's) and planted 4 tomato plants in plastic drums back in 2004, but I have never experimented with such a small amount of soil.  I have however always made soil preparation my number one priority and consideration after determining the ideal place for planting reference sun, shade, drainage and etc, along with wind consideration(we have plenty of wind where I live and things have to be tied down...so, I have always had fairly good success with my gardens in the past...
I cannot plant over existing soil and all my growing containers must be placed on a concrete parking - storage area behind my building. (Good south exposure) 
All the plastic totes are actually constructed on a self contained pallet and I have a fork lift, so that will make moving them easy.
I have decided to actually cut the totes and cages in half and plant two tomato plants per container spaced diagonally in opposing corners for better sun saturation for each plant.  I will place the other half of a tote container with cage and screw to a wooden pallet so I can still use the forklift and this will help keep the strong winds from blowing it all down the block.    
I just hauled in 5000 pounds of beautiful compost yesterday and I found 4 cu ft bags of Course Vermiculite at an extremely good price... 
I probably won't completely fill each container (18"depth) since everyone has convinced me less is best with the right mix and this will cut down on the initial expense and time of mixing such large volumes and I’ll just add compost and mulch during the course of the entire growing season. 
Has anyone experimented with using a larger electric concrete mixer to mix and make the blend?  This seems like it would work well, especially if one needs a large quantity of mix.  This is what I plan on using and I can then lift the entire mixer over each cage and tote container after blending and easily dump into each tote and cut down on the shovel ready job.  (smile?)  I am using #10 concrete wire mesh for cages…
I will post a few pics of the 4 tomato plants I experimented with growing in plastic containers in 2004.  I picked thousands of tomatoes from these 4 plants and actually kept two of them alive all winter by placing inside my building under skylights and moving them outside during the warmer days  (we had a very rare mild winter)….
Thanks again for all the input.      

 



 
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Post  boffer 2/23/2014, 11:56 am

A concrete mixer makes for easy MM mixing. Keep the hose handy as it gets a bit dusty.
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Post  jimmy cee 2/23/2014, 12:28 pm

And I got rid of my concrete mixer..... Sad 
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Post  Goosegirl 2/23/2014, 3:16 pm

Concrete mixers are used by several forum members. Wish I had one when I was doing my boxes!

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