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Mini-Raised Beds?

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Post  OhioGardener 11/5/2023, 5:10 pm

A friend recently gifted me two tubs of aged cow manure to use for mulching my rhubarb plants, and said he did not need nor want the tubs back. These tubs are food grade plastic (HDPE 2), and are 20-gallon size. Wondering if these would make good mini-raised beds for growing something like sweet potatoes, or regular potatoes?  Twenty gallons is approximately 2.5 cu ft, which would be easy to fill.

Thoughts?

Mini-Raised Beds? Plasti10
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Post  sanderson 11/6/2023, 3:24 am

If you don't want them, you can ship them to me. Razz  potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, ginger and turmeric, even a dwarf Meyer lemon.

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Post  OhioGardener 11/6/2023, 9:46 am

sanderson wrote:If you don't want them, you can ship them to me. Razz 
rofl 
If you have any beef farmers near you, they probably have a bunch of these tubs that they will gladly give to you. They buy tubs of mineral for their beef cattle, and then the tubs are left over when they are empty and a new one has to be put out.

For mine, my Chief of Staff has advised me that "we" are going to fill the tubs with soil and plant sweet potatoes in them, and let the vines droop over the tubs.

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Post  Scorpio Rising 11/6/2023, 3:32 pm

Nice!
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Post  OhioGardener 11/7/2023, 10:12 am

Found a video where a "Prepper" took using these mineral tubs for container gardening to a whole new level.


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Post  sanderson 11/8/2023, 12:54 pm

Those tubs would be great for sweet potatoes, and Irish potatoes, both early and late varieties, and freeing up more real estate in the beds.  Being able to dump out a tub is so much easier for mining the potatoes without missing any. I wonder how they hold up against the sun as compared to my large storage totes.  I have to wrap mine with aluminum foil to extend their life.  The only thing I would do differently is to drill more but smaller holes closer to the bottom so there's no septic soil.  Drilling on the sides allows for unhampered draining.

For early varieties like Yukon gold, plant 4" deep and mulch with straw.  For Late varieties, fill only half way for planting.  Then add another 4-6" when it's time to hill.  

Mini-Raised Beds? Sweet_36

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Post  OhioGardener 11/8/2023, 6:27 pm

sanderson wrote:Those tubs would be great for sweet potatoes, and Irish potatoes, both early and late varieties, and freeing up more real estate in the beds.  Being able to dump out a tub is so much easier for mining the potatoes without missing any.

Yes, I think you are right, Sanderson! After seeing the earlier comments, and thinking about my garden layout, I have been thinking about two tubs for sweet potatoes, and two tubs for Irish potatoes. I love the idea of freeing up space, and I love the idea of being able to dump out the container on a tarp to harvest the potatoes even more.

I called the guy that gave me the first two to see if he had a couple more tubs that I might get from him. He said he has about 50 of them, and I can have as many as I want. Two more would be fine....  Very Happy

I wonder how they hold up against the sun as compared to my large storage totes.  I have to wrap mine with aluminum foil to extend their life.  The only thing I would do differently is to drill more but smaller holes closer to the bottom so there's no septic soil.  Drilling on the sides allows for unhampered draining.

I have a friend that lives about 30 miles north of me that uses container gardening, and I had asked him if he ever used these tubs. Turns out that he has a bunch of them, and he invited me to see his operation. So, I went up today to see how they do. He said the oldest ones are 5 or 6 years old, and they looked just as good as the ones that are on their second year. He didn't know how long they would last, but he hasn't seen any deterioration yet. I wonder if the manufacturing process adds UV protection since they are designed to sit out in the pasture until the cattle lick up all of the protein mix in the tub? Or, maybe different brands are made differently?

On all of his tubs he drilled 3 1-inch holes evenly spaced around the bottom edge of the tub, about 1" above the bottom (he centers the 1" drill bit 1.5" from the bottom). He said that allows the excess water to run out if necessary, but still retains a little in the bottom for the roots to pull moisture from.  He said he got the idea from a relative in another state who raises cattle, and his wife wanted some raised bed gardens.

sanderson wrote:For early varieties like Yukon gold, plant 4" deep and mulch with straw.  For Late varieties, fill only half way for planting.  Then add another 4-6" when it's time to hill. 

That is good advice, and one that I will remember. I haven't grown the Yukon Gold before, but might give it a try next year. Especially now that I'll have a couple extra containers for them.

I wonder if that 20 gallon tub, being 22" diameter and 18" deep, could hold 3 or 4 sweet potato slips. Or, would having more than 2 cause it to produce smaller potatoes?

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Post  sanderson 11/9/2023, 1:57 am

OhioGardener wrote:
sanderson wrote:Those tubs would be great for sweet potatoes, and Irish potatoes, both early and late varieties, and freeing up more real estate in the beds.  Being able to dump out a tub is so much easier for mining the potatoes without missing any.

Yes, I think you are right, Sanderson! After seeing the earlier comments, and thinking about my garden layout, I have been thinking about two tubs for sweet potatoes, and two tubs for Irish potatoes. I love the idea of freeing up space, and I love the idea of being able to dump out the container on a tarp to harvest the potatoes even more.

sanderson wrote:For early varieties like Yukon gold, plant 4" deep and mulch with straw.  For Late varieties, fill only half way for planting.  Then add another 4-6" when it's time to hill. 

That is good advice, and one that I will remember. I haven't grown the Yukon Gold before, but might give it a try next year. Especially now that I'll have a couple extra containers for them.

I wonder if that 20 gallon tub, being 22" diameter and 18" deep, could hold 3 or 4 sweet potato slips. Or, would having more than 2 cause it to produce smaller potatoes?

I'm thinking you could plant 3-4 slips per tub with no problem.  My totes are 24" x +12".  Just remember how heavy it will be to dump them over.  I really struggled and mine are up on wheeled platforms for "ease" of moving around.

I harvested today.  Dumped the tubs upside down and removed the bottom weed fabric.
Mini-Raised Beds? Sweet_37

One tote harvest.
Mini-Raised Beds? Sweet_40

From four slips, 2 in each tote.  The fingerlings will be sautéed now as they don't store well.
Mini-Raised Beds? Sweet_38

The Mel's Mix.  You can see how easy it is to comb through to find all of the potatoes and orange roots.  I can't imagine digging in the ground!!
Mini-Raised Beds? Sweet_39

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Post  OhioGardener 11/9/2023, 9:15 am

sanderson wrote:I harvested today.  Dumped the tubs upside down and removed the bottom weed fabric.
Mini-Raised Beds? Sweet_37

One tote harvest.
Mini-Raised Beds? Sweet_40

From four slips, 2 in each tote.  The fingerlings will be sautéed now as they don't store well.
Mini-Raised Beds? Sweet_38

Pictures, they say, are worth a thousand words, and your pictures really highlight the value of container growth of potatoes.  Look at the roots in the bottom of those tubs, and look at the amount of potatoes produced.

I can't wait for February when I will put a sweet potato in water to start developing the slips!  Very Happy    I now have 4 of the mineral lick tubs, and I need to start collecting the ingredients to make some more Mel's Mix. Shocked

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Post  sanderson 11/9/2023, 2:09 pm

I only have about 10-11"of MM, which means +3" of compost for the long season.  This 2018 photo shows the height at harvest time with the potatoes still in the Mix.

Mini-Raised Beds? Sweet_41
in the totes.

I wish I had room for shallow containers for the Yukon Golds.  While they do great in 6-7" of Mel's Mix in the table top beds, it's hard to make sure every last little wannabe potato gets harvested.  I keep getting volunteer plants growing in the beds where other crops have been planted. (I'm rotating the squares among 2 beds for the 2 annual crops of potatoes [California climate]).

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Mini-Raised Beds? Empty 20 Gallon Tubs Are Fine

Post  NEWBIE99 11/24/2023, 6:16 pm

I've grown potatoes in 20 gallon totes, both white and sweet, cantaloupe, red and green peppers, tomatoes, and strawberries.  These are not large crops, but we're talking SFG, right? Mini-Raised Beds? 3170584802
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Post  sanderson 11/24/2023, 8:53 pm

A 20-gallon tote is equivalent in volume to 4-5 square feet in a bed. Totes and other containers are great for tuber-type harvests so you don't miss anything.

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Post  Chuck d'Argy 11/27/2023, 1:15 pm

OhioGardener wrote:
sanderson wrote:If you don't want them, you can ship them to me. Razz 
rofl 
If you have any beef farmers near you, they probably have a bunch of these tubs that they will gladly give to you. They buy tubs of mineral for their beef cattle, and then the tubs are left over when they are empty and a new one has to be put out.

For mine, my Chief of Staff has advised me that "we" are going to fill the tubs with soil and plant sweet potatoes in them, and let the vines droop over the tubs.
You say Chief of staff, like you're actually in charge!!!  hehehehe
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Post  Chuck d'Argy 11/27/2023, 2:14 pm

I have about 20 each of 5 gallonish tubs that most of my not tomato garden is planted in. I built a rack to raise them up . I grow Cabbage, Broccoli, Kohl Robi, misc other stuff. I tried cauliflower this year, but the garden and everything else took a back seat to doing my truck frame replacement. The whole garden suffered, not just mine but everybody's I know of. Weird weather this year.  I grew 40 roma plants in those tubs. Got a nice batch for canning and dehydrating.  I have a raised box for garlic and onions, and another one for vining things. EVerything else is in containers. I hope to build racks for the romas. 

I got my tubs when our local nursery quit using them and sold them for what I thought was pretty cheap. The 5 gallon ones were $2 and bigger ones $5 & $7.  I since have looked up the numbers on the bottom of the tubs to locate a place where I could purchase them. These come from Georgia or someplace around there. You'd have to buy from one of their distributors.

Below is a shot of my garden area 2 years ago. The point is to show the racks. I got the plans off the internet, and built the 5 gal bucket rack that way. I just winged the 5 gal tub rack. It ain't rocket science to build and beats the heck about bending over so low. The next one I will try having the tubs on the same level. I wonder about interference between plants. But the 2 level is nice to water/weed from 1 side, so we'll see. In the foreground is the Roma patch on pallets. the 2 racks are on the back right side. The 5 gallon bucket rack will be going away as will the 5 gallon buckets. I just don't like them, deeper than I need, and narrow at the top by comparison. But the bakery in the store gives them away free and washed out. I also threw in a couple pictures of the 5 gallon tub rack while it was a work in progress in case anyone wants a closer look. It's just 2x3's from Lowes and screws.




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