Clippings by momma_s

 Sort by: Last Updated Post Date Post Title Forum Name 

RE: My EarthTainer Project - Mistakes Made / Lessons Learned (Follow-Up #52)

posted by: rnewste on 06.29.2008 at 11:33 pm in Growing Tomatoes Forum


A very kind person compiled the list of components and tools necessary for the EarthTainer build. I will be adding this list in the next Rev change. Here it is for now:

EarthTainer Materials List

Rubbermaid 31 gal Roughneck 2
9x9x6 Pond Filtration basket 1
#8 x 1/2 Self-tapping screws 4
1 1/2" Sch 40 PVC 19"
Coat Hanger 20"
Aerosol Can Cap 1
Cork 1

18" x 54"x 3/16" Hvy Duty Tomato Cage 2
1/8" Wire Rope Clip 15
3/16" x 1 1/4" Fender Washers 8
Zip Ties
30 Gal Trash Bag 1
Plastic Clothespins 4
3/16" x 2" Toggle Bolt 2

2nd Story Cages
18" x 54"x 3/16" Hvy Duty Tomato Cage 2
1/8" Wire Rope Clip 1
Zip Ties

Tools Needed
Sabre Saw
Adjustable wrench
Flat & Phillips Screw drivers
Safety Goggles
1/8" drill bit
3/16" drill bit
3/8" drill bit
1/2" drill bit
2" hole saw



clipped on: 03.31.2009 at 04:07 pm    last updated on: 03.31.2009 at 04:08 pm

EarthTainer Construction Video Now On-Line

posted by: rnewste on 07.13.2008 at 06:11 pm in Growing Tomatoes Forum

The Construction Video is now available for viewing or download, from the good folks over at TomatoFest's website. We broke it into 3 Chapters that follow the .pdf Construction plans. From start to finish it runs 45 minutes viewing time.

You can either watch it "real time" from their Server, or better yet, you can download the 3 Chapters to your PC for viewing or skipping ahead, repeats, etc. Make sure you have a DSL link as the 3 files total 240 MBytes (about a 15 minute download time).

Be sure to also download the new Rev 1.3 Construction .pdf as there have been some enhancements since the Video was made. As always, please remember the Feed The Children Organization.

Note: Mel Gibson doesn't have anything to worry about as I doubt I will be making the trip to the next Cannes Film Festival. Anyway, it was a lot of fun building an EarthTainer with Gary Ibsen - - and thank goodness for digital Video Editing!!!


Here is a link that might be useful: EarthTainer Construction Video Links


clipped on: 03.31.2009 at 03:57 pm    last updated on: 03.31.2009 at 03:57 pm

RE: ?s making container soil mix on a budget (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: wormgirl on 04.13.2008 at 01:46 pm in Container Gardening Forum

Honestly you'd be better off with straight potting soil rather than adding the compost. But...

Al's Mix is actually really cheap to make, and quite easy. Bags of bark are cheaper than potting soil ($3.50 for 1.5 cubic feet) and my local bulk bark place lets you pick up cubic yards for about $27. That would definitely be the way to go for you, since you're filling big pots. (My rule of thumb is "you always need a lot more mix than you think you do!)

It's easy to get overwhelmed by the big long thread, but here's what it distills down to: bark, peat, perlite & nutes.

Everything can be found at Home Depot. Look for "soil pep" bark and bales of peat by the potting soil. The perlite is by the houseplants. The fertilizer aisle has lime and osmocote. The only thing you won't find is the micronutes, but you can water with Miracle-Gro containing those. Be sure to pick up a big tarp & shovel for mixing if you don't have one.

Here's your proportions.
2 bags soil pep or other bark (or 4 5-gallon buckets)
5-gal bucket peat
5-gal bucket perlite
2 cups dolomite lime
2 cups osmocote


clipped on: 03.26.2009 at 03:03 pm    last updated on: 03.26.2009 at 03:03 pm

RE: Al, do you have a 'Watering 101' post somewhere? (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: tapla on 04.08.2008 at 09:29 pm in Container Gardening Forum

Hey, Kristi

* Watering technique is very under-rated in container culture and can easily make the difference between success and failure. To illustrate: When an apprentice goes to Japan to study under a bonsai master, he will often spend 6 months or more doing nothing but learning how to water before he is entrusted with any work on the master's plants.

Ask a greenhouse plantsman what he feels is the most important job in the successful rearing of a crop, and his answer will be "proper watering".

* A generalization - the more often your planting needs water, the healthier the roots will be, as long as you don't forget to water. The need to irrigate frequently indicates good aeration and drainage, which insures that air is returning to the soil before anaerobic conditions cause the death of fine rootage. Watering also forces old, CO2-rich air from the soil and pulls O2 rich air in behind it.

* Don't water on a schedule. Water when the rootzone is first dry to the touch. This can mean watering new plantings (shallow roots) when the lower parts of the container are still wet, but for established plantings, water when the soil at the drain hole feels dry - or use the sharpened dowel trick. Your sense of touch registers 'dry soil' when soils are still about 40% saturated. Plants, however, can still extract water from conifer bark and peat down to about 30% saturation - after that, water is held too tightly for plants to access.

* Your soil should allow you to water at every watering so that water drains freely from the drain hole. The best way to water a container is: Wet the soil until you 'feel' the container is about to start draining from the bottom and stop. Wait 10 minutes and add additional water until about 10-15% of the total volume of water applied in both applications exits the drain hole. The first water allows dissolved solids to dissolve into solution, and the second watering flushes them from the soil.

* If you cannot water as described above w/o risking root rot, your soil is inappropriate. You may be able to correct by adding a wick through the drain hole of the container to remove excess water in the PWT until the planting is mature enough to do it on its own.

That should give you something to think about until others arrive with their own tips. ;o)



clipped on: 03.25.2009 at 02:39 am    last updated on: 03.25.2009 at 02:39 am

RE: Potted Lemon Tree with problems and pics (Follow-Up #10)

posted by: laidbackdood on 05.29.2007 at 05:58 am in Container Gardening Forum

Tuffifee,Yes remove all fruit until your tree recovers .
Go to this page.I had a valencia orange that was compacted and
over wet,had lost most of its leaves and showed no growth as
a result. I used hydrogen peroxide(6%) on it and its come to life
and going nuts!!!If your roots are dying,it maybe too late but its worth a try to get some oxygen into those roots.Worked
for me dood.Let your tree recover and dont repot until it looks healthy.Then make the mix of potting mix and perlite like everyone is suggesting,feed little and often.The roots should look whitish,light tan.Not dark brown.Strange as it
may seem,water deeply to flush out and then water with hp.Add hp to you water(al told me that),water 15 mins later
until 15 % of your water runs out the bottom.Leave alone to dry down.Should show new growth pretty soon,once the hp is
broken down in the soil.Dont feed until new growth is going
well.Good luck.


compacted and over wet soil solution
clipped on: 03.25.2009 at 12:16 am    last updated on: 03.25.2009 at 12:16 am

RE: Potted Lemon Tree with problems and pics (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: laidbackdood on 05.20.2007 at 03:42 am in Container Gardening Forum

You should remeove all fruitlets,when they are the size of a
pea for the first two to three years.The roots need to be able
to breathe.Your mix should be free draining,you could add perlite to a standard potting mix.I always use terracotta pots,as they allow air in to the soil and roots.Pot up in steps.You have small trees.Its a false economy to put in huge
pots,thinking you will save time and effort.You should pot up 2-4 inches (next pot size).If you have an 8 inch pot and put it in a 16 inch pot,the outer parts will remain soaked,as the
roots wont use the water up.The soil will go off and the plant will suffer.Let your tree develop its canopy.The tree
has to strain to produce fruit.Once it is well established and has a strong set of branches it will handle it.I have 6
new trees in pots about a metre tall.They are all in 31 cm
terracotta.I wont let any fruit develop for at least two years.Not even one!!! it will stunt their growth.If the mix drains really quickly,you can give fresh oxygen to the roots
without water logging.Feed lightly with high nitrogen,except in winter.Dont feed then.Allow pot to dry out almost completly.I have killed lots of citrus by overwatering.They simply wont grow.Drill plenty of 10 mm holes in your clay
pots with a masonry drill.Go from 3mm 6mm 10mm drill sizes
to avoid cracking pots.THEY MUST DRAIN QUICKLY AND HOLD AIR>
perlite is great for this purpose.Peat moss clogs up the air
spaces.A blend of organics(bark,potting mix etc) and inorganics (pummice,perlite,turface,granite) will ensure all
the above.If you havent time to fuss.Mix potting mix and perlite.That will do the job.Plant at same height in new pot,not deeper.Roots need to be just under surface.Only feed
when you see growth(best about a week after start).Dont think more food is better.Its not.Always water pots first,then water with feed 10 minutes later.Never feed dry roots.When you water ,dont water lightly.flush right through,slowly.then leave until almost dry.roots will search down deep.good luck.


clipped on: 03.25.2009 at 12:12 am    last updated on: 03.25.2009 at 12:12 am

RE: Blueberries in containers? (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: reba_grows on 05.08.2007 at 12:30 pm in Container Gardening Forum

I grow almost everything in containers. The only blueberry I would grow in a 12 inch deep pot, like a 5 gallon bucket, is a wild blueberry or huckleberry. You can grow any variety of blueberry in a container, but a 'highbush' blueberry grows to 7 or 8 feet tall with a 4 to 6 foot spread. A 'lowbush' variety (my recommendation) is 2 to 4 feet tall with a 2 to 4 foot spread.
Although blueberries do have a very shallow root system, the roots spread outward way past the dripline of the plant at full width.
So, You really need a good wide pot (at least 20") for the roots, and you need a 2 foot depth for the height of the plant. (Think about even a 30" bush in a 12" deep pot and I think you'll see what I mean).
Lastly choose the right varieties for your climate/zone. And choose 3- one each of an early, midseason and late variety- spaced 3 to 4 feet apart. You need these because they need to cross polinate with each other.
You'll be in berries all season (after you wait for 2-3 years for the plants to get established).

Growing blueberries in large pots is a great idea though, it's easy to adjust and keep the soil as acid, (lowbush likes a ph of about 4.0 to 5.0) as it likes, without effecting your other soil as much.
It's also great to be able to cover the whole large pot with fencing or netting or rowcover etc, to protect from frost, birds etc.
When they start producing- you'll get 5 or 6 pints per plant.
The pots I use are from Lowes, Home Depot etc- they are off white (best for not frying the soil, about 20-24 " across, only about 20" deep, but are supported with welded wire fence round cages that I can cover when needed, and that add to the stability of the pot. By the way, the pots come with removeable saucers. I take them off and use them for birdbaths and micro mix growing of lettuce. I drill new holes, about 1/2" all the way around the bottom of the pots about an inch up from the ground. I cut circles of metal screen or landscape fabric to fit into the bottom and up the sides past the holes which keeps out the critters like sow bugs etc.and stops the soil from leaving the pot. I mix in Soilmoist (best price I've found is at, in all my pots. Not cheap, but lasts in the soil for years and years and really helps the pot watering scenario.
Lastly, put the pots in full sun, and make sure they get an inch of water a week, add an extra 1/2 inch a week when they start producing berries.
Don't be put off by the extra work to get going- blueberries are one of the most satisfying long term crops you can have in your garden.Good luck to you.


Blueberry plants in containers
clipped on: 03.24.2009 at 10:14 pm    last updated on: 03.24.2009 at 10:15 pm