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Messages - greatgardens

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Questions and Answers / Re: Miracle-Gro "down the tube"
« on: July 09, 2019, 06:27:27 am »
Thanks!  I might try both.  I do have some calcium nitrate on hand so I can do a little comparison.
-Larry 

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Questions and Answers / Miracle-Gro "down the tube"
« on: July 07, 2019, 08:15:41 am »
I'd like to add some MG as a little boost for my tomatoes and eggplants in mid-season.  I presume that others have done this.  Ideally, I'd just add powder without pre-mixing, then fill with water, but I can mix if necessary.  How much for a regular EB?

The standard use is 1 Tbs per gallon of water, but that seems pretty high in an EB.  Maybe 1 Tbs to the whole 3 gallon reservoir? Maybe once every two weeks?

-GG

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Questions and Answers / Broccoli in an EB
« on: January 03, 2019, 07:40:27 am »
I've tried broccoli before, but with limited success -- with 6 plants per box, the heads were very small -- perhaps 4" +/-.  I was wondering if anyone was very successful, and had any tips, including varieties that seem more suited to an EB.
-GG

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Questions and Answers / Re: Ab EarthBox "Collar?"
« on: January 01, 2019, 09:42:37 am »
Thanks!  It gives me some added thoughts that are "outside the box." I'll think some more about stuff I have laying around that might be useful -- like adding a partial grow bag on top of the EB. I had only thought of rigid materials, but no reason that it couldn't be heavy fabric or such.  I do want to retain the reservoir since that makes watering a lot easier.  (And my summer toads like the filler tubes and reservoir, also!)

-GG

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Questions and Answers / Ab EarthBox "Collar?"
« on: December 30, 2018, 04:31:05 am »
For several years, I've wanted to try a slight modification on one or two of my EarthBoxes. It would be the addition of a collar around the top of the EB to make it slightly deeper -- say about 3".  The first question that I always get is "why?"  The answer is an increase in the area for roots, and in particular for a drier area since there should be less wicking as we get higher from the reservoir.  Also, some plants in the EB do not seem to like the constant wet feet, and within reason, the amount of perlite added to the planting mix seems to make little difference. Another possible reason is that with two plant per box, some varieties do not grow as large as they do in garden soil. Eggplant is one that seems to produce more under-sized fruits vs the garden. So good or bad, those are my reasons. It may fail as an experiment, but I want to try it.

Now the real question -- what to use as a material to make the collar?  It should be easily available, non-toxic, and will still co-exist with the cover and fill tube. (I have an extension for the tube, so that is not an issue.)  Things I've toyed with -- cedar planking (but it is pretty thick which creates some issues with the fill tube).  Landscape edging -- but I have concerns about what that stuff is made from.  I could sacrifice an old EB, but I do hate to destroy a perfectly good box. So... do you have a suggestion for the collar material? Thanks.


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Questions and Answers / Re: Seed Company Survey
« on: September 17, 2018, 10:04:30 am »
Burpee Hybrids.  But only when on sale. Their addition of $2.99 shipping helps their competitive position a lot.  IMO, they have some best-in-class hybrid varieties.  And in my experience (almost 50 years gardening now), if you can find a hybrid variety that has the taste you like, it is nearly always going to be hardier and more disease-resistant than OP.

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I asked Burpee's customer service and got a recommendation of 4 crack-resistant varieties (one is DET):

Madame Marmande Hybrid 54335A - 72 day, 10 ounce fruit, French beefsteak type
Summer Girl Hybrid 50580A - 52 day, 5-6 ounce fruit, good yields
Tasti-Lee Hybrid 69810A - 75 day, 6-9 ounce fruit, but is a determinate plant
Thessaloniki 68965A - 66-80 day, 4-6 ounce fruit, Greek variety

I'll also add one other Burpee variety that I'm very familiar with -- Orange Wellington. Rarely has any cracking for me, but of course, a mild orange variety.

I ordered and will add to Celebrity -- Summer Girl and Tasti-Lee.  I've wanted to try both of these anyway.  I was able to use the 5-for-$15 sale +$2.99 shipping, so the prices weren't too bad. Aside from having good varieties (IMO), Burpee is usually fairly generous with their seed amounts, so I'm a fan when on sale.

-GG 

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Thanks! I had not thought of Better Boy, and your comments on BER are interesting.  I have not grown many IND plants in the EB, but I've found that BER seems to be more of a problem the first season when I've started with all new planting mix. So the first season, I go heavy on the dolomite -- about double what is suggested. (I've never used anything other than dolomite.)
-GG

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Interesting that you mention Celebrity.  I had not considered it recently, but I did grow it a few years ago, and it did well.  I don't remember about cracking, but if it had done poorly, I probably would have recalled that.  Celebrity was the most Septoria resistant tomato I grew that summer, trouncing "Iron Lady."  Along that line, I have seeds for "Stellar," so I probably ought to put both those on my list of candidates.  I saw a couple of videos about Celebrity, and those also suggest it might be a good choice.

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I'd like a good red that is (nearly) immune to stem cracking, but still good.  Needs to be IND, medium-size, and of course, flavorful.  My experience is that not all IND plants do well in an EB.  Most will do well if there is only one plant per box.  (I realize that others may not share this opinion, but that has been my experience.)  Many that are great in soil crack in the constant high-moisture environment of an EB.

Big Beef is a great tomato that doesn't crack much, but they are really bigger than I'd like -- 6-8 oz would be ideal.  Any ideas.  BTW, I have no issue with hybrids -- I'm quite willing to pay more, since IMO tomato seeds are still cheap considering what you get in return.

-GG 


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