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New Ebucket thread (we continue)

Saluda, SC(Zone 8a)

http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1056426/
is getting so long we need to start over again.

Let's post new comments here.

I would be interested in hearing about disappointing experiences with the system; that way we can attempt to do better.

Wauchula, FL(Zone 9b)

i have just started my first bucket! How often do you need to add water? I have planted tomatoes in it!

Saluda, SC(Zone 8a)

Rene10, as long as water comes out the overflow spout you do not need to add water. The answer is actually, it depends. If you have your overflow pipe positioned right you can not overfill, it will simply overflow; if too full the water will simple come out the pipe. After a while you will develop a sense of timing; until then just check everyday by attempting to put more water in. There should ALWAYS be water in the reservoir.

Wauchula, FL(Zone 9b)

Thanks!!!

Christiansted, VI(Zone 11)

Aren't we quiet!

I still have a broccoli in one bucket, and some hibiscus in two other buckets. Need to get some more buckets going.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Um, my original 6 eBuckets of sweet bells are loaded with blooms, and defying all scientific data that says they should've froze and stopped producing weeks ago. These are the same ones from the WS seeds of January 9, 2010...I'm still picking fruits in this squirrelly weather!

Hugs!

Crestview, FL

Gymgirl: I'm just dreaming of my Spring/Summer garden in ebuckets, just got all my seeds in too. But, still too early, have all my e buckets tucked in my walk in closet, needless to say, there ain't much room for walking in that closet now, as some of them are in my office too. I did give away a few as gifts but still have 38 of them left.
joy

New Port Richey, FL(Zone 9b)

I have a few results to share using the e-buckets.Since approx.the late summer early fall of 2010 I've switched from the 2 bucket system to the single bucket. First may I applaud the effort of the one's who created it.
After just putting together a few I realized using a commercial potting mix would be cost prohibiting. Then it was suggested I use the 5-1-1 mix. In between those 2 steps I experimented with a few different combination of soil mixes. Any of those combination that included composted mulch or other composted organic material (coming from my compost pile)produced a very sour smelling (septic smell) odor coming from the water reservoir . Lesson learned.
Now I'm using the 5-1-1 mix and have found that watering from the fill tube is not working for me in regards to wicking up any further and a few inches above the reservoir . I'm now testing a mix at about 3-1-1 . I'm also considering eliminating using a fertilizer ring and going with water soluble (The Blue stuff). Then top watering especially on tomatoes or anything that develope roots along the stem. I've started Brandywine, Tropic ,and cherry tomatoes and all showed sign's of very slow growth that looked like lack of water.After taking apart the buckets and seeing the only area that was moist being about 1 to 2 inches above the colander and the top of the root ball being dry . I'm going to the 3-1-1 mix and on some I will water thru the fill tube and some I will eliminate the fertizier ring and top water and see if there is any improvement.
Now I should add that cabbage and Broccoli are doing just fine in buckets.
Also found plants I've had very little success with in the past do very well in the buckets like pineapple sage, Buddleia. Don

This message was edited Dec 24, 2010 5:52 AM

Thumbnail by donlaclair
Brady, TX(Zone 8a)

donlaclair, "some I will eliminate the fertizier ring and top water" -- why eliminate the fertilizer ring if you are going to top water?

New Port Richey, FL(Zone 9b)

TX_gardener The fertilizer ring in the orginal earthbox and put together with a very heavy peat base mix was able to wick enough moisture up to the top to release enough 8-8-8 or 10-10-10 granular fertilizer to feed the plant or plants for a growing season. Same with the ebucket if using a very heavy peat mix.In theory should work fine. I'm using a 5-1-1 or a 3-1-1 mix 5 or 3 parts pine bark fines -1part peat moss - 1part perlite I have found with these mixes the wicking height in the bucket to be much less and not able to release any of the fertilizer ring. So I believe that if I were to top water with 10-10-10 granular fert there it would do more burning of the roots than benefit. Therefore I also believe that a water soluble fertilizer (the blue stuff) could be used with just as much benefit to the plant and not much more expense. Time will tell I'll be putting my theory's to the test as soon as it warms up a be here in central Florida.. Happy Holidays Don

Brady, TX(Zone 8a)

Don, I'm also using ebuckets (a single and a double) and a homemade ebox with water tubes, using water soluble fert, but I've "jiggled" with the planting mix til I don't know now what's what. Started out with a 5-1-1 (sorta) and then topped with a bagged container mix, etc..... All that being said, I too haven't found the wicking to be completely satisfactory so I occasionally top water. My broccoli is slowly forming heads (I may end up having a couple of bites) and my brussel sprouts are yet to be seen. Glad my livelihood doesn't depend on my slap-hazard veggy growing! Enjoy your Holidays. Mary

Crestview, FL

Don: I use the two bucket design, with the bottom bucket being a different size than the upper bucket, one is a 5 gallon bucket, the other a 3 1/2 gallon bucket. I use a pond basket (5 1/2") size for a wicking device and my drain hole goes through both buckets, no problem with wicking that way. When you fill the bucket up with medium, you should not use compost, use a potting mix, the lighter the better, like mix in some perlite. Also, wet the potting mix as you fill up the bucket, if it is dry in the first place it will stay that way, so make sure it is really nice and moist. I do not put my fertilizer ring around the top either, I put it on the sides of the bucket and down a bit. It would hurt to use compost tea to wet the potting mix, I use Merrill's compost tea and do just that or Sea Magic. But; never use compost or soil in the bucket. Also, how deep do you plant the tomato plants? All my buckets have the 5 gallon bucket on top, so the roots have place to go; but, I bury the plant up to the top two leaves when I plant it. I believe a lot of people use a liquid fertilizer first to give the fertilizer ring a chance to work also.

I don't use my EBs for tomatoes and the huge tomato types roots pop right through the mulch cover, and there is not enough room for two tomatoes in one EB; but, my 5 gallon bucket is deep enough to accommodate a huge root system of one tomato plant.

The EB does fine for everything else though even my eggplants.
joy

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

My eBuckets of bell peppers from seed I sowed January 9, 2010 is LOADED with bell peppers, as of last night.

Uh, huh, right now, in Houston, with the freeze coming, as we speak...

uh, huh...

eBuckets work!

Wait'll you grow an eggplant in one...

Thumbnail by Gymgirl
Crestview, FL

Gymgirl: What do you mean wait til you grow and eggplant in one, have you done that before? I have always used my EBs but the thought had crossed my mind as my tomatoes do well in the bucket one compared to the EB.
joy

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

"A Thousand Words..."

Thumbnail by Gymgirl
Crestview, FL

What a beautiful eggplant gymgirl, yes, I see the buckets do well with eggplants too now. I just had all my tomatoes (the first wave of them) die, and have ordered more seeds. Dumby me, decided to try these one steps expanding coir pellets and it was a real cheap grade of coir and the seeds didn't germinate, the ones that did were very weak. The peppers in my bio dome did well and are under lights for now; and I will be using a coir brick on the new batch of seeds when they arrive.
joy

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

How are things progressing with the ebuckets?

Now that hubby has cleared out the running bamboo, we have more gardening space, so I'm toying with various ideas to use it. Unfortunately, I know the bamboo will regrow for several years, and that we'll be cutting it back daily, so I need something portable, and the ebuckets seem to fit the bill, if they work.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

HoneybeeNC,
Yes, indeed, they do work! I would highly recommend them for your cole crops of cabbages, broccoli, cauliflowers & maybe Kohlrabi (not much return for the space) One plant per eBucket. Also, eggplants, okra, and bell peppers do very well in the eBuckets. These plants are all WATER hogs, and, from my experience, take off with full access to the built-in reservoirs in the eBuckets. The plants get to drink WHEN they want to. All you have to do is keep those reservoirs filled (every 4-5 days early on, then, maybe once every 2-3 days as they mature, then twice a day when they take off).

And, this season, I'm experimenting with replacing the all-Miracle Grow potting mix with Tapla's 5:1:1 container mix (modified to a 3:1:1 ratio for more wicking action). It's an experiment in progress, and I'll report at the end of the summer how the eBucket plants fared in the new container mix.

If it is successful, it will save eBucket gardeners a TON of money NOT spent on huge bags of MG potting mix! The recipe uses pine bark fines:peat (I still use the MG potting mix as my peat):perlite. The difference is that the recipe uses 3x as much MG and Perlite, and the PBFs are relatively inexpensive. I bought 1/2 yard for $18.

Out of roughly 25 total buckets of PBFs I started with then screened through 1/2 hardware cloth to remove particles larger than from dust to right at nickel size, I have removed 6 buckets of chunks too large for the container mix. But, these can either be reground and sifted again, OR I can redirect these into my raised beds as part of Al's raised bed mix. So, I won't lose anything.

To date, I have about 4-5 buckets remaining to be sifted for use. I have just finished one whole 2.65 cu. ft. bag of MG potting mix ($12.50), and one 4 cu. ft. bag of perlite. I have filled a total of eight 5-gallon eBuckets and ten 10-gallon planters. Using a straight 2.65 cu. ft. bag MG potting mix in the past would fill approximately THREE eBuckets -- go figure!

SAVES YOU MONEY!

The modified recipe I'm using for the eBuckets is:
3 parts PBFs (dust to nickel size)
1 part peat (I'm using the MG potting mix as my peat component)
1 part course perlite
1 cup dolomitic lime per eBucket
1/2 cup granular 13-13-13 fertilizer in a ring around the top of the soil.


Here's what the sifted PBFs look like.

Linda

Thumbnail by Gymgirl
Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

Thanks, Gymgirl - it was the broccoli I was thinking about putting in ebuckets. The area where the bamboo used to be gets shade in the summer, but once the neighbor's trees lose their leaves it gets full sun all winter into spring.

I walked the area this morning, and sure enough, bamboo is beginning to sprout all over the area. I hope to be able to run the mower over them tomorrow. The bamboo doesn't seem to grow during the winter (fingers crossed) - so ebuckets would be handy in that regard, too.

I'll have to look in Lowe's or Home Depot for pine bark fines. Will Pine Mulch work? I have never purchased mulch.

Brady, TX(Zone 8a)

honeybee, check out Nature's Helper soil conditioner. I used this for landscape beds when I lived in NC and SC and seem to remember it's "mulch" in smaller particles. I can't buy it around here or I would be using it for my PBF portion of the potting mix.

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

TX_gardener - thank you. I put "Nature's Helper soil conditioner" into Google and found this link:

http://www.hdbulk.com/

I'll have to see if our local HD carries it.

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

In case anyone else is interested in this product, here's a link to the specs:

http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-202247349/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053

Lexington, KY

Gymgirl,
I was excited to see that you have had some very good results with the two bucket approach lat year. I am a recent convert, but I'm sold on the sub-irrigation/self watering approach.
After first reading and learning about both the earth box and global buckets last season, I decided to transition away from simply growing in single 5 gal buckets with drain holes.
In 2010 I grew 20+, various hot pepper plants in 5 gallon buckets. They all did very well, but I was spending around 45 minutes a day watering at least once, and later in the season twice daily.

So I started collecting food grade buckets (5, 3.5 and 1 gal.) from Chick-fil-a, local pizza parlors, O' Charlies etc.
I currently have enough for around 40 two bucket set ups, utilizing the 5 and 3.5 gal sizes, for the hot peppers.
And 20 or so 1 gallon size two bucket set ups for some leaf lettuce, radishes,green onions, green bush beans.
Then after seeing your egg plant picture....I'm gonna have to plant a couple of those also.
Good luck with the 2011 season.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Chilimonsta,
Have you not seen the ONE bucket colander design we've been using for over a year now? Double your growing capacity!

http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1011889/

That eggplant was grown in a ONE bucket eBucket! Complete with a built-in reservoir! So were these...

Thumbnail by Gymgirl
Lexington, KY

Quote from Gymgirl :
Chilimonsta,
Have you not seen the ONE bucket colander design we've been using for over a year now? Double your growing capacity!

http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1011889/

That eggplant was grown in a ONE bucket eBucket! Complete with a built-in reservoir! So were these...


Oh yes...in fact, this forum was one of the first I encountered when beginning my research last year, I've read each and every posting....some several times.
I also read a bunch of good info posted by Greenscaper that focus on urban gardens in NY, and I have a few single container projects going on as we speak,using several different reservoir materials. So believe me,I'm not questioning or have any doubts about a one bucket system

But I've got plenty of free buckets...with several additional ones coming in almost every day....which will continue until I say "enough".
Considering my potential expense for an appropriate potting mix, I chose to go with two buckets and not have to purchase some 60+ collanders.(plus...I never found any of those $1.00 collanders folks have mentioned)
I made a few experimental two bucket set ups, just to make sure, and everything wicked and worked as anticipated.
Now if mother nature would just bring some warm temps my way....I'll be able to move some of my seedlings into their new digs.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Well, Okie dokie, then! ^^_^^

Lexington, KY

Quote from Gymgirl :
Well, Okie dokie, then! ^^_^^


I guess ???
sorry if I wasted your time.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Chilimonsta!
I meant to convey that I am 200% wIth you on your idea! My apology for any misunderstanding.

That's a big AFFIRMATIVE!



This message was edited Mar 26, 2011 7:29 AM

Crestview, FL

I have a question, last year everyone was using shower caps for mulch covers on their e-buckets where do ya'll find them and how many do you use on each e-bucket? I'm setting up my buckets now, we have one week of showers coming, so I bought some mason twine and put my buckets on the platforms I had them on last year and twined them into place so they don't tip over and am going to let the rain fill the reservoirs! I would like to use the shower caps this year though.
joy

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Joy,
Go to your local beauty supply shops. They sell bags of clear caps that seem to be larger and sturdier.

Crestview, FL

Gymgirl: Thanks, will do that. Spring is here!
joy

Wauchula, FL(Zone 9b)

Here is my Tomato doing great & fullof fruit!!! This was taken severl weeks ago, it is bigger now!! No ripe ones yet but soon!!!

This message was edited Mar 26, 2011 5:46 PM

Thumbnail by Rene10
Crestview, FL

Rene: Yours are doing much better than my puny ones right now. What is the plastic around the inside of bucket for? My thoughts are that the plastic will hurt the plant eventually? I just gave my plants on the deck a good shot of algoflash diluted of course as I have 140 tomato plants and about 40 pepper plants on my deck, all in 6" pots. I am using a 5 ft circular kiddie pool with a hole punched in the lower bottom about 1 inch from the bottom so I can fill it with water and liquid fertilizer, easier to water them all that way.
joy

Wauchula, FL(Zone 9b)

Joy, I covered the top of my bucket with a WM bag, just pulled down over the top instead of a shower cap.

Crestview, FL

Rene: Let us know how that works ok? I'm on the prowl for shower caps.
joy

Wauchula, FL(Zone 9b)

So far it has worked well!!

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Joy,
Shower caps aren't a requirement -- they're just a convenience. You could cut up a garbage bag to cover with.

Crestview, FL

Gymgirl: I took your suggestion and went to a beauty supply store, picked up about 45 shower caps for around $9. I start potting up today 10 a day til they are all potted up.

I'm using 1 cup of 13-13-13 and 1 cup of dolomite and mixing in perlite also. I decided instead of making the ring around the bucket top this year, I'd just mix the fertilizer and dolomite lime in, starting at about 1/2 from the bottom of the bucket.

I do have a few questions, I know TPlant uses a pellitized dolomite, and I can't seem to find it, have been using last years Sunniland's dolomite but it is gooey, anyone have another brand I can get at Lowes or Walmarts?
joy

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

joy112854 - I'm no expert at growing vegetables in buckets, but one cup of 13-13-13 seems like an awful lot of fertilizer. Won't it burn the plants' roots?

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

I've learned the hard way this season, that 13-13-13 IS too strong for the early applications. I've sinced purchased 10-10-10. I was using TWO cups of Triple 13, and almost killed all my tomato seedlings.

Thanks, Honey!

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