Hydro, EB, Raised Bed, Container? PART 2

Moss Point, MS(Zone 8b)

We came from here:


Lots of good info waiting to be discovered. Welcome.

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

I'm checking in! Thanks for starting the new thread.

Baytown, TX(Zone 9a)

We went out of town for the weekend and came home to a whole bunch of ripe maters, peppers and strawberries. Looks like the neighbors will start getting a few of them now. They shared with me for several years before I started gardening. The husband has since passed, so I will have a chance to return the favor to her, now.

Also came home to about a dozen baby fishies in the pond. I think they are a Koi/Goldfish mix if I read their body language correctly about a month ago. It should be interesting to see the results. Speaking of the pond, I am hearing a very nice frog chorus for the first time. This weekend's rain must have brought them out of hiding.

Also came home with over a dozen new plants from an old family friend. I think I'll be a busy boy tomorrow.

Twiggy, if we're kooks for water bed gardening, we're certainly getting a following. I have three or four converts already, just by them seeing my results so far. You deserve the Nobel prize. Twiggy for president.

Jacksonville, FL(Zone 9a)

Thanks Twiggy.

Congrats Don, I don't have any ripe or even blushing tomatoes yet and there's not a strawberry plant on my place. A dern ole blue heron discovered my fishie pond and cleaned it out. Twice. I won't raise bird food for a heron. I have gangs of frogs and toads, the frogs live in my Twiggy beds and lotus bog. I half bury old flower pots for the toads to live in. It's raining here this morning and I too am enjoying the froggie serenade.

Pod, sending you a d-mail. Of course I want the pumpkin seeds and maybe I have something here you'd enjoy.

Here's one of my resident croakers.


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Moss Point, MS(Zone 8b)

Don that sounds like a fine welcome home to me, including the chorus. My frogs were late appearing this year and I think it had something to do with the extra cold winter. Last night I saw several on my glass door and the kitten brought 3 in the house through the pet door. I had to keep catching them which was a PITA.

There hasn't been any mosquito problem here this spring even without the frogs and that's a bit of a surprise. The toads and lizards must have taken up the slack. I'd like to hear if ya'll have many skeeters. That's another reason people are hesitant to try the waterbeds.

Don do you have any plans to use the fish water to recirculate through a waterbed? I've read that there's lots of hydro projects that do that to raise organic vegetables.

Here's some maters that got beaten down by all the rain. They got top heavy and now they're a sprawling mess.

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Moss Point, MS(Zone 8b)

Here are the Orient Express cukes going wild. I guess I'm going to have to tie them because they'd rather crawl than climb.

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Moss Point, MS(Zone 8b)

Here's the peppers and toms I showed last month. Those are zukes along the greenhouse. Something tells me I planted too many of those.

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Baytown, TX(Zone 9a)

Haven't had any mosquitoes to speak of. Of course, no rain either, until this weekend.

Twiggy - I fully intended to use pond water to water the beds with, but ended up putting the bed on the opposite side of the yard from the pond for the best sun. I would have to rig up some kind of a pump and I'm not willing to do that. Too lazy, I guess.

I never did get any cukes in the ground. I am out of room in my bed. I am seriously thinking about putting in another bed right away and still get a few more things in the ground since we at least have a pretty long growing season.

Baytown, TX(Zone 9a)

Time for another pickin...

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Baytown, TX(Zone 9a)

Yellow Cherry maters. I can't believe how sweet they are.

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Moss Point, MS(Zone 8b)

Beautiful Don. I always pick mine at the first sign of blushing so I never can get a pretty photo like that. I'm afraid if I leave them on longer that something will happen to them. The stink bugs and caterpillars both have shown up here already. Not big numbers yet but it's coming. I've got one that's sunscalded and still very green.

I really appreciate seeing how you've got them supported with an end post and twine. It's too late this year but I'm going to be forced to do that next year. My bamboo sticks are just not doing the job because they can't go deep enough in the pots. Tripods work well but they're so much extra work and a million more sticks.

2 weeks ago I was whining about wilt problems following a big rain. The same thing has happened again. Many of the worst looking ones had recovered and I pulled out the ones that didn't show improvement. The same plants are looking as bad as before and now many more that weren't affected the last time.

No telling what I'm going to end up with for production but it's very troubling. I've got some good fruit set now and I think I'm just going to let them develop what they will. I honestly did not have this problem last year and don't know where it came from. I do know it doesn't come from growing in the waterbeds.

I've got some new seedlings ready to set out. I had planned to have them loaded up with fruit by the end of June and a shade cloth over them so they might get me through the summer. Now I'm discouraged, fearing this wilt thing will get them too. If I could just know how bad this is going to affect the maters, I'd know whether to just plant beans or something else instead. Wasting the growing season is the worst for me.

Baytown, TX(Zone 9a)

Thanks Twiggy. No problems (yet) with anything getting my maters, but something is sure getting my strawberries. I picked a nice red one this morning, but when I turned it over, it was nearly cut in two. So far, I haven't been able to find the culprit.

Yeah, the PVC pipe seems to be working fine. I just drive them into the ground a foot or so, tee off with a cross piece, then up a few more feet and ell a cross piece. Should last a long time. The only thing that bothers me is that I'm afraid the twine might cut into the stems. I think I will use surveyor's tape next time.

Sure sorry to hear the wilt has returned. We had a big rain over the weekend, but no apparent ill affects.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Well, as a result of the Mon eve rain I have lost two more Porter tomatoes to wilt. Now up to a total of 5. I still have plenty but wonder what it causing this.

Does anyone grow spinach in the waterbeds? Looking for a ' leafy green' that can take the sweltering summers. I planted some Malabar spinach vine and they seem to be liking the waterbeds. I'm thinking about trying some others too.

Yolie ~ got your seeds in the mail today. Hopefully should arrive by the weekend.

Moss Point, MS(Zone 8b)

Pod google ....bacterial wilt tomato. There's lots of info that comes up. I've read a bunch of them. There's no cure. They might turn all brown and die. If they live, they'll be stunted. There are a bunch of different strains of this. It's a world wide problem in tropical and sub-tropical areas. It likes moisture and hates alkaline soil. It affects potatoes, sweet potatoes, peppers, egg plants and has lots of weed hosts too.

It's soil borne. Certain bacteria clog the vascular system and literally prevent water getting up to the terminal growth. As the bacteria multiplies, the wilt gets worse. It says to destroy the plants and plant beans, corn or cabbage in the infested soil. It stays in the soil for years.

Of course all that is for folks that grow in the dirt. I think I'm going to pull out those pots as symptoms appear and group them together on old plastic and cover them with some old black plastic. I think it will steam under there and kill everything. Once they're dry as a bone, with another month for good measure, they should be sanitized. Or maybe it would be better to just dump them out to sanitize the soil.

I'm considering dumping some bleach in the bed with the worst wilt. I figure the only thing it cold hurt is the earthworms and a few tads. I hate to do it but if it saved those 18 plants....

Baytown, TX(Zone 9a)

Look what I scored when I stopped by our local barbeque joint. I should have waterbed #2 in operation by Monday afternoon. Cukes, squash and beans are the plan.

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Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

Great score!

Perth, Australia

Wow this thread is amazing..... I'm totally loving the idea of a watered EB... its similar to aquaponics but with frogs and taddies and no pump! Awesome!!

Will definitely make up a small version with my own ideas added... will be very interested to see if it works as well as yours.... thanks so much for this thread! Will look forward to more posts.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Hi Jensilaedi ~ welcome to this interesting type of gardening. I hope you will share your experiences with us as you experiment.

I had started sweet potato slips and was going to toss the sweet potato after breaking off the slips. I guess I got sidetracked and set it down near one of the beds. I found this surprise this a.m. The tater had sat in a water bed and put on lots of new slips.

Twiggybuds waterbeds... 1,002 uses!

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Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

Podster, I swear I'm not stalking you! LOL! But I do follow this thread.

Amazing what your sweet potatoe did. Are you going to plant the slips now?

After all the trouble I'm having with bugs so far this year, I'm about ready to plan on putting everything in waterbeds next year!

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

I luv being stalked... lol Yep, I'm going to plant them. May try a few of these in a waterbed pot. The rest went in the ground already and the next morning something started eating the vines.

Bugs! Everyone hoped for a COLD winter to kill the bugs and guess what happened ~ it created a super race of critters.

I had an interesting thing happen to a pot of tomatoes tonight. I had some old seed of a wild FL Everglades tomato. Seeded more than needed and must have had 110% germination. It was a large pot and they are small plants so I left them in one pot. Tonight, three plants are fine and the largest (in bloom too) has wilted. I don't think the wilt is in the soil. I said what the heck ~ I'm going to leave it in the pot with the rest and see if it contaminates the others or not.

Moss Point, MS(Zone 8b)

Welcome Jensilaedi. We'll all enjoy hearing how it goes for you.

Msrobin, pod is right about superbugs this year. I can't see where anything around here benefited from the cold winter. I got rid of the caterpillars that thought they'd take over the world and now I've got I don't know what that's eating holes in the tomatoes. I can't find a thing except stink bugs and they don't do that.

Pod I think I've got this wilt thing figured out (take #3). Most of my plants have returned to looking normal. One of my selling points on using the waterbeds is that they eliminate BER. I started finding lots BER on the ones that had suffered the wilt. I dumped out the soil from the worst ones and it all became clear.

Last year I bought a load of composted cow manure from Walmart. It looked like it was mostly clay and the only thing that did well in it was okra. This year, I mixed that up with all my other stuff plus some new. When I say mixed, what I really mean is half a pot of this and half a pot of that. It's not a thorough mixing. I think that is the problem. That clay holds water too much so the plants literally drowned when it rained. When tomato plants get waterlogged they can't function and that led to the wilt and the BER. I might start using that stuff for filling in low spots in the yard. It's great to find out the wilt isn't a disease.

I canned 6 pints of sauce yesterday and put some squash in the freezer. Been getting lots of cukes too but the lettuce is history.

Pod you must have a handful of green thumbs. Mutilated garlic and now an old sweet potato just determined to grow. I had to beg mine to grow but now they're really putting on.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

No green thumbs here... just dumb luck. I couldn't believe the garlic and this sweet tater really surprised me as I thought I had chunked it to the compost pile. Of course my inspiration was late getting started this year so the only things I've been grazing are greens and pan squash.

Also fought off an attack of grey mold but caught it quickly. I'm assuming that came from our humidity spikes and rains. I had stored a home remedy just in case. It worked so I only lost a few leaves from the squash and pumpkins.

Trying Malabar spinach vines in the water pots this year and it looks like it will be successful. It seems to thrive in the full sun and wet environment.

I guess we all come here for different reasons but I have learned so much from this site. I marvel every day at my DG intelligence... no way I am ready to abandon those that chose to stay.

Perth, Australia

Any way thanks for the welcome everyone incl. MsR and well done on some new additions pods and twig!!

As for my experiment....I didn't dig a hole and use a plastic or black liner... I just used a large container that's about a metre (3') long, 70cm (2.5') wide and 40cm (1.5') deep.in this I was able to fill up about 11 pots of pea gravel (in australia that's dolomite pea gravel which is red/orange in color and very heavy). On top of each pot was another 11 pots but this time with their own potting mix. I realize that this means that the whole setup will be very deep and that there will be a lot of water involved. I just thought that maybe I could squ-eeeeeeeee-ze all these pots in so there's just room enough for taddies to move around but not see each other. I'm going to put in some of my budding seeds (peas, roma tomatoes, cos lettuce and some spinach)

I'm not sure how well this will work, because of the coming winter next month. If it yields promising results then I can only say it can get better in spring. As for the summer.. I think I'll cross the hotness when I come to that bridge x_X
I guess that will depend on the next few months I guess... It's so much fun watching my seeds grow... I'm wondering just how much more fun is it to make them go all the way?

what will happen if I add goldfish? I wonder if they're compatible with taddies and frogs?

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

Hi, Jensilaedi! Have you thought about rigging hoops or something over your container of pots, so you could cover it with plastic on cold nights and open it up during the day so it doesn't overheat?

Frogs and tadpoles seem to get along fine with the big goldfish in my garden pond.

Perth, Australia

like poly tunnel or a plastic house? great idea... will do that! I have some old clear plastic garden umbrellas for the orchids and broms when I was growing them.. I'll use that for the time being....Thanks for the tip MsR!

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

I don't remember how cold it gets there in winter. I've been reading Elliots Coleman's Winter Harvest Book. As long as cool season crops (lettuce, spinach, etc, even carrots and other root crops) are close to maturity, they can be harvested all winter.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Well ~ I need to take apart one bed that has sprung a leak. It wouldn't be a major problem if I was always here to top it off but am expecting to be away for a family visit later this summer and would be disappointed to lose the crop. It has 29 tomatoes that are shoulder high and bamboo trellises on both sides. The logistics of relining this one could be interesting. I am considering the options and am open to suggestions... I guess I know what I'll be doing next weekend.

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Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

Sorry, Podster, no bright ideas on this end. That's going too be some big job, though.

Al is building a frame today for my waterbed that I'm finally getting around to setting up. Where has the spring gone? LOL

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Spring is a distant memory here, fogged by this incredible humidity and high 90s heat. Sheeze!

I laid in bed (not a waterbed) and decided this shouldn't be too hard. I have space in the middle of this bed to span the length with a long board or two. Then, I can set the pots up on it from one side and start the plastic there and reset the pots, then roll it over to the other side, lift those pots onto the board and finish it. In print, it doesn't make sense but in theory maybe it will work. Lifting the maters up two or three inches should not damage the vines.

What all are you going to plant in your water bed? Sounds like your husband is a willing worker or else quite interested in your various efforts. Good for you both.

Pod ~ who is eating fresh cukes and pan squash and impatiently awaiting the tomato crop.

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

We have yellow squash, zucchini, cucumbers and tomatoes that will be ready by the weekend! WhooHoo!

I've got 10 buckets of cherry tomatoes that need to go in the waterbed, plus a couple of small Japanese maples and 3 small Azaleas until I decide where to plant them....or have time.

I think he figured I was serious about making this market garden work. Told me I was working it like a full time job. Well, I am. That's the goal.

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

Twiggy, you started a thread back in Novemeber about Hydro Cukes....have you done that?

Moss Point, MS(Zone 8b)

Msrobin it seems you got stuff coming in awfully quick. I'm sure your customers will be tickled and brag on their good investment. You might yet make a farmer out of Al. When I had my business, it was a big natural high to turn my work into something folks were glad to pay for. I wish you both many of those highs.

Pod that liner leak is awful. I have several that I'm living with rather than go through the ordeal. That's how they change the bed sheets in the hospital so hopefully you can manhandle those big plants. I promise you I am not lying when I say I've got some beds 3 years old holding water just fine. I had a bunch of new unused ones leaking this spring and that just made me so angry. Manufacturing defects!! One of them is only half full with some young cantaloupes just starting to run and I better get on it right away. I laid down an old piece of plastic for them to run on and hopefully kill the grass/weeds.

Jensilaedi I will have to google for your weather to see how extreme your winters are. I'm very interested in how your garden grows so please keep us posted.

It started raining here almost a week ago and there's been several showers every day. I haven't been seeing new wilt and I think it's because there's been some intervals between the showers as opposed to those 2 floods I had earlier. Pod what's happening with your wilt problems?

I had some fine squash and cukes but they've played out. The lowlife borers took out the squash. Next year I'm going to put out squash before the last frost and cover it. Planting early is the best if not the only way to beat those things. I will just keep trying. I found my first hornworm today and I know I have several others. They should all have a belly ache by now from BT.

I'm on my 4th batch of tomato sauce. My plums are ripe and it's time to hurry up and deal with them because the blueberries are starting to come in too. I'm wasting my life worrying and trying to keep up with the oil crises. There aren't enough hours in the days but I'm grateful and sure keeping out of trouble.

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

Twiggy, thank you. I posted some pics on this thread of the garden http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1093174/#new

I read to plant radishes around your squash plants when putting them out to deter squash borers, and sprinkle cornmeal around your tomato plants for the hornworms. They eat the cornmeal and explode....yuck...but if it works, what the heck.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

This bed was new plastic but I'll bet I dragged a pot and tore it. I should have doubled it and would ignore the leak if I could guarranty I will be home all summer but with an elderly Mother and a spouse with health issues, I have learned to prepare for the worst.

On the tomato wilt, it has only happened after rain. Fortunately we have had little rain. (Did I really say that??? LOL) The head count is four dead, two more repotted after reading your waterlogged information. One of those is all right. The other is struggling and I am watching it closely for new growth. It even has small tomato clusters that haven't dropped so maybe? Tonight we had a short and ferocious wind. When I went out, I found it had laid all the tomatoes over that weren't tied so I spent the evening tying and fertilizing. No hornworms yet. Earlier in spring, I found alot of clear eggs laid on the tops of leaves and removed them. I wondered if they may have been hornworm eggs.

Lots of pumpkin blooms but no germination yet. I am growing Malabar spinach which is a healthy leafy green that I use in salads. It is also used in stirfry dishes, soups, etc. They were slow to germinate but I have now planted them in waterbeds and do believe they will be a hit. I also got what is supposed to be Ceylon spinach and will try it 'hydro' too.

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Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

Have you eaten the Malabar Spinach before? Just wondering if it taste like spinach.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Well, I have eaten Malabar spinach but not spinach so can't make a comparison, sorry. First year growing Ceylon spinach so no opinion on it. I have read that this is more viscous than spinach and will work well as a thickener in place of okra in stews or gumbos.

If you want, I think I have a few seed left of the Malabar. You want to try it and tell me how it compares?

Perth, Australia

thanks guys for the encouragement... I'll have you guys know that I'm a second year beginner gardener... well I've kept a lot of succulents and cacti and lots of tropical type plants and that would be the extent of my gardening knowledge... I'm learning day by day on how everyone grows their food and how they arrange, when and why and how much they water and etc. it's been really interesting. I'm open to new ideas probably because I haven't done much of this before. My mother was the one who tended to the garden all around my house and now she's moved to another house, I've been slowly learning and taking over the maintenance. I didn't know there was so much weeding and pruning involved, it being about one quarter of all the gardening that is done. But somehow I don't mind it... it provided a good excuse to be in it lol.

last year i came upon aquaponics, a system where there are pipes from the fishpond or tank to the growbeds of veggies and these bed will fill right up and then drain back to the fishpond/tank and the cycle keeps going... a combo of hydro and aquaculture. What I'm doing right now is another integration of your opentop earthbox with water in it... this time I'm letting the plants "sit"in the water like yours... but making the container deeper so I can have fish maybe lots of them. Thats where I have the pots of gravel to hold up the potplants out of too much water. Though I'm a little worried about having gravel in the water for so long. It might make a good ground for bacteria to convert the N in the system but will it host the bad stuff as well? This is what I'm going to find out.

Heh about you doing research on my weather... the people around here parts call it temperate weather... we have a very very mild tropical climate with frosts that come every morning in winter. The frost does tend to disappear before mid morning and most of our winter is just plain dark and cloudy with lots of rain rain and more rain. We have the occasional lightening - not always thundering. Once or twice in a year we get hail... We got our first hail a little over 2 months ago... it was a pretty crazy Monday that was, well it wasn't devastating like it is where you are but it was unprecedented .... we never anticipated anything like that so early in the year so it caught everyone off-guard basically. These days the mornings as well as the evenings are just chilly and we've been getting plenty of frosted dew on our grass. We've never had snow and I don't think we will ever have floods. we do get the occasional huge puddles but the rains always stop after that...

Nauvoo, AL(Zone 7a)

wow---i have missed out on alot.
Yall have done so great. I really mean that.

I had computer problems for a while----then I didnt pay for my subscription here cause
computer was crappy---didnt visit for along time--then I got computer fixed=---- then I
got busy with greenhouses and business---then home burned---Now I have new computer
and paid for subscription.

wow---there is no way I could read every word of this thread----I skipped and hopped

Perth, Australia

oww... lol.... skipping and hopping is common here... there's lots of info to go through when you haven't been here in the beginning or when you havent been here for at least a year... lol.
Sorry to hear about your house and computer... I hope you got something from it and that things are better now...

As an update, I have recently thrown out the fish in twiggybed idea and settled with having aquaponics as well as twiggybeds both for different plants and different areas... some plants like constant water and sun while others like to be dry and wet and then dry and wet. I've found that despite your success Twiggy that some plants - like for example rock-melon do not like wet feet. But others like tomatoes and cukes - they LOOOOVE it.

Twiggybugs, msrobin and podster, have any of you done any changes? have you been busy? doing something else? I'd love to hear what everyone else's doing tooo.....

Anyhow, CricketsGarden goodluck with your gardening ;)

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Good morning all... I'm glad to see this thread revived. I have missed Twiggybuds posting. Here's hoping she is so busy harvesting she doesn't have time to look up.

My beds took a nosedive this summer. Probably not the beds. Our heat and humidity have been incredible and plants have just withered. Tomato wilt took out the majority of 60 plants and I've eaten very few. The two things that are still delivering are a teeniny tomato called the wild Florida Everglades tomato, the fruits are pea sized and the Ceylon and Malabar spinach. Those leaves never even wilt in the evening sun. They seem to thrive in these tropical conditions.

I am afraid I will take partial credit for the failure. The tomatoes began wilting and I did too. I haven't been as diligent on the fertilizing, more concerned with uprooting the dead tomatoes. Bugs have been no problem. I harvested only one hornworm.

Early on, I consolidated and emptied a couple of beds. The bed I have flowers in has done excellent and the fruit trees have not dropped any fruits and some are still blooming. I have potted lemon, lime and Satsuma trees standing in water.

Hoping our weather will break, I have started a dozen tomato plants for fall. Have tried to start Arugula, lettuces and chard but it is still way too hot and the plantlets just melt.

Anyone else have better luck this year?

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