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Tomato alternate growing systems

Discussion in 'Greenhouse Growing' started by Sargan, Sep 7, 2016.

  1. Sargan

    Sargan Gardener

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    After yet another disappointing year on growbags ... looking at moving to either large pot growing or possibly the central watering idea ... small pots continuous watering.
    I tried 'BigDrippa' system - but not impressed with dripping nozzles.

    Mentioned here was Quadgrow ........ also seem mention of Autopot


    Welcome advice from users .. also anybody compared these 2 against each other ? - or any other recommended system.

    I want to try and purchase the right thing first time.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2016
  2. JWK

    JWK Gardener

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    I can't add much to my previous post about the Octogrow:

    Growing tomatoes in pots

    My drip system is from watermate which I can highly recommend, it is cheap, exandable and reliable. I started with this about 4 years ago:

    https://www.watermateirrigation.co....-Butt-Gravity-Watering-for-10-Plants-p50.html

    on a battery timer from a butt, and have added to it, so it now does two greenhouses and my tree ferns practically trouble free. I would say I have two drippers per plant just in case one gets blocked whilst I'm away on holiday.
     
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    • alexmac

      alexmac Gardener

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      ditto my post on quadgrow, follow the link above by JWK.
      i ended up digging out border so i did not lose height on the quadgrow.
       
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      • Sargan

        Sargan Gardener

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        I did read the posts on Octogrow ... I have been looking at Quadgrow ... as an option with the 'holiday' add -on unit.
        Greenhouse is solid floor - so no option to 'sink in bed'
        I currently use growbags on tray of gravel and have growbag toppers fitted - so probably not a huge difference in height.
         
      • Hex_2011

        Hex_2011 Gardener

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        You can knock up a system pretty easily.

        self watering.JPG
         
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        • Sargan

          Sargan Gardener

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          The issue I would have is as mentioned above greenhouse floor is concrete ... your drawing shows top up bucket at lower level .... to achieve this I would have to raise pots ... losing height ... but I do understand the concept you explain
           
        • Hex_2011

          Hex_2011 Gardener

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          The topup bucket only needs to be deep enough for the water level and a miniature/low profile float valve. The overall height of a 10L bicket including the 2" reservoir underneath would be a foot at most (quadgrow is 36cm). If height is an issue you can easily train plants to grow horizontally :)
           
          Last edited: Sep 16, 2016
        • Sargan

          Sargan Gardener

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          I bought 2 sets of the 'Big Dripper' system this year ......... not very good at all. Nozzles were the issue ... get them all right one day .. not working the next - they just can't cope with changing pressure as water in bags drops.
           
        • alexmac

          alexmac Gardener

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          Hi all
          My quadgrows are sunk in the greenhouse border, however as previously posted i used one quadgrow in the conservatory as a trial before buying more. i stopped the tomatoes at five and six trusses as this would have been the height they reached in the greenhouse without sinking them.
          I used the tank with water only the pots i filled with Cana terra professional potting compost + 20% worm compost with the following additions 50gm FBB, 20gm Cal/Mag, 100gm seaweed meal and 20gm mychorrhizae fungi. kept the tank between a quarter and three quartes full of water.
          Fed the pots once fruit had formed twice per week with Bio Bizz grow and bloom. I had the best crop ever from four plants and they were better tasting than toms grown in greenhouse border.
          Not a single tom with blossom end rot.
          I bought more quadgrows and experimented with different feeds and should have stuck with the trial method. see my post follow JWK's link to the page. Next year i will be reverting back to my trial method. I only changed method due to all the fertilizer supplied with the quadgrows
          Hope this helps Alex
           
        • Sargan

          Sargan Gardener

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          I did look at JKW posts but he does not seem to have got on well with Octogrow.
          I am looking at Quadgrow ... and your post suggests you were happy with the system and results. So no Tomorite or similar in the water ? .... you feed teh posts and only use plain water.
           
        • alexmac

          alexmac Gardener

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          i was talking about my post on the same page as JWK's
          Yes i feed the pots and only have plain water in tank
           
        • Hex_2011

          Hex_2011 Gardener

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          What was the price of the canna compost,calmag,biobizz nutrients etc, £50? :)
           
        • alexmac

          alexmac Gardener

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          thereabouts. However £50 for 5 months supply of tomatoes is not a lot if i were to buy the amount we eat ( by end of season I estimate 180lbs) it would cost a fortune and they would be tasteless balls of water.
           
        • Sargan

          Sargan Gardener

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          Have you carried out any control using GP compost & a standard liquid feed .... would be good to evaluate how much difference your extra costs generate.
           
        • alexmac

          alexmac Gardener

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          Only as previously posted

          See below from my diary

          2016 experiment.
          Quadgrow x 2
          1) Pots filled with Canna compost + worm compost FBB, seaweed meal mychorrhizae fungi, and Cal/mag.
          Fed weekly into top of pot with organic fertilizer (Bio Bizz Grow and Bloom) using only water in tank for constant supply, this water airated with air pump and stone. This has eliminated blossom end rot and a great crop of tasty toms. Still cropping. 19th Sept

          Quadgrow x 2
          2) Pots filled with Canna compost + worm compost FBB, seaweed meal mychorrhizae fungi and Cal/mag Used as directed by quargrow with their chemical fertilizer in tank, (Nutri grow half strength) this water airated with air pump and stone, cleaning out tank every four weeks and replenishing with fresh fertilizer.
          Good crop But not as tasty as in 1) However tanks have to be cleaned out every 3/4 weeks or so and replenished as get gunged up. This has eliminated blossom end rot and cracking/splitting, good until early August when plants suffered nutrient burn. This led to disease entering plants at burn sites. Plants removed

          Quadgrow x 2
          3) Pots filled with Canna compost + worm compost FBB, seaweed meal mychorrhizae fungi and Cal/mag. Used as directed by quargrow however using bio bizz organic fertilizer in tank. airated with air pump and stone,
          Good crop and still cropping . However tanks have to be cleaned out every 3/4 weeks or so and replenished as get gunged up. This has eliminated blossom end rot and cracking/splitting, great crop of tasty toms. Still cropping. 19th Sept

          Note in all cases roots have grown down into the tank and are thick and healthy.

          4) Eight plants of four different varieties grown in bottomless pots in border, filled with Garden compost + worm compost + rotted horse manure, FBB, seaweed meal mychorrhizae fungi and Cal/mag added Border consists of soil and home made compost. Pots fed weekly with maxicrop tom feed.
          These toms suffered blossom end rot and cracking. Plants also produced much less fruit and the taste was OK but not half as good as quadgrow in 1) Plants now finished cropping.

          Will use method 1) next year as this allows me to grow organically and removes any erratic watering, Also removes the need to dump tank contents and renew.
          Tanks only require topping up every four days with large plants.
          Will use all the nutri grow for my flowers.
          Regards alex
           
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          • Sargan

            Sargan Gardener

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            Thnaks for the detail ........ opt1 is interesting could you tell me a bit more about:
            "Canna compost + worm compost FBB, seaweed meal mychorrhizae fungi, and Cal/mag."

            I am a user of FBB ... but the rest is new to me.
             
          • alexmac

            alexmac Gardener

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            hi seaweed meal can be bought from any garden centre.
            I have a small wormery from worm city and have found that the compost benefited everything in the garden.
            Mycorrhizal fungi exist in nearly all soils. These extraordinary fungi provide a secondary root system for the plant. Imagine a wider and more efficient network attached to the plant’s roots beneath ground. A network composed of fungi with spreading spidery arms extending beyond the plant roots. These fungi are highly efficient at absorbing water and nutrients (particularly phosphorus) from the soil.

            The fungi are living organisms that live in mutual benefit with the plant – the plant provides carbon and sugars for the fungi, as it provides the nutrient supply to the plant. can be bought online i use vaminoc . rootgrow is very expensive

            Canna compost along with Bio Bizz can be bought from any online hydroponic site
            i use a local shop great stuff hydro look at any web site it will give details

            Regards Alex
             
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            • Hex_2011

              Hex_2011 Gardener

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              Bio bizz has an odd NPK ratio, the grow formula is 4-3-6 and the bloom is 2-7-4. Toms need a lot of potassium (K) going into flower. Commercial tomato hydro nutrients are always K heavy for this reason. The commercial tomato base nutrients typically have very low N and zero Ca, so the N:K:Ca ratio can be manipulated by the grower for each stage of growth by using a combination of potassium nitrate (N:K) and calcium nitrate (N:Ca). Toms dont need more than 40ppm of phosphorus (P) at any stage.
              The greenhouse sensations fomulation will work great for chilli`s but its not ideal for toms. Its probably better value than the biobizz but like most shop bought its overpriced. The 2.5L AB concentrates contain less than 65p in raw chemicals. With a dilution rate of 5ml AB per litre you`ll have the following ppm (plus whatever N, Ca and Mg your water contributes) N=107, P=55, K=165, Mg=17, Ca=78, Fe=2.15, B=0.25, Mn=0.45, Zn=0.05, Mo=0.05, Cu=0.1
               
            • JWK

              JWK Gardener

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              My main issue was with the nutrient burn and blossom end rot, and although I flushed a couple of times during the summer it never really solved the problem. I wish I'd thought of @alexmac's option 1 before getting rid of my system as that seems to be the way to go.
               
            • Hex_2011

              Hex_2011 Gardener

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              John BER is a mainly due to calcium issues, there`s a lot of suspects though. Not enough Ca in the solution, too much P in the solution causing Ca to become unavailable (favourite if using a lot of phosphoric acid for ph control), not enough water moving through the plant due to hot weather shutting down transpiration or infrequent watering. In hot weather, the plant takes up calcium it missed when it cools down or at night via root pressure. Calcium uptake is much slower than many of the other elements and its not mobile in the plant so it cant be relocated, for example from the older leaves.
               
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