Aquaponics vs EarthBox — 3 week results If you like this post please like and follow our Facebook page to get the latest updates. Last week I wrote about an experiment to compare growing some leafy greens in 3 different types of systems and comparing results. These systems are aquaponics media beds, aquaponics raft, and EarthBoxes. To keep track of the results, I measured the plants progress and counted leaves, it seemed like a nice simple approach although not very scientific.

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Tomatoes can split, get mold, or even start to rot right on the vine! Read along to see what you can do to help your tomatoes be the best they can be. A determinate tomato will remain compact and bushy, and typically sets fruit in a short period of time. An indeterminate tomato will grow as a vine and set fruit as it continues to grow.

Different types of tomatoes include slicing tomatoes, sauce tomatoes, or cherry tomatoes. Be sure to read descriptions for flavor and the best use for each variety. Tomato Tip 3: Be Proactive The best way to keep your tomato garden healthy is to: Use a high-quality, peat-based growing medium.

Avoid using topsoil, or anything that contains clay or sand. Be sure to incorporate perlite or vermiculite for aeration and drainage. Mix one pound 1 lb. Water regularly or let the Automatic Watering System do it for you , since water is crucial for growing tomatoes. Be sure to keep the reservoir full, and never let it run dry. You can fill until the water begins to flow out of the overflow drain.

Use a trellis for your tomato plants. Indeterminate tomatoes grow on a vine and need the proper stability to grow to their maximum potential. Problems With Growing Tomatoes So now you have your tomatoes planted. If this situation sounds familiar, here are a few examples of what may occur to your tomatoes and a few suggestions on how to resolve your issue. Reason: Most of the time, cracking or splitting in the tomato is due to the tomato absorbing too much moisture all at once.

If there is a very dry, hot spell that is followed by a cool, heavy rain; the tomato plant may soak up all that extra moisture into the fruit and—with only so much skin to cover the outside—cracks may occur.

Cracked tomatoes are fine—especially heirloom tomatoes, which are prone to cracking—and still edible! To prevent further cracking, make sure you are providing enough water to your plants. Keep the water reservoir full. For future reference, you can buy crack-resistant tomato varieties like big boy, big beef and black cherry.

Reason: Black spots on a tomato plant can probably be contributed to a type of fungus causing cankers on the plants. Reason: Tomato Hornworms. Solution: Try just picking them off or hosing down your plant with water. There are also organic treatments that contain the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis Bt to get rid of these pests. Note that if you find a hornworm with white rice-looking eggs on it left , let it be.

Parasitic wasps lay their eggs on them to use as a host, causing the hornworm to die. Reason: A common disorder with tomatoes and sometimes peppers , Blossom End Rot—also known as BER—can be caused by: A lack of calcium and magnesium—which is why it is so important to add dolomite at the start of every growing season.

Infrequent watering. Make sure the water reservoir never runs dry! Rapid growth. Solution: When fruit begins developing, check the tomatoes regularly as they grow.

At the bottom of the fruit where the yellow blossom withers up and falls off , you may start to see what looks like a dark water stain, which will start turning brown—and eventually black if not caught early enough. Tip the system toward the overflow drain and empty the reservoir.

Add the solution to the reservoir and fill as usual the following day. As new fruit begins to set during the first 2 weeks after treatment, it could still be prone to BER, so you should continue monitoring regularly and discarding affected fruit.

Bonus Tip: Add 1 tsp. Tell us in the comments below: What type of tomatoes are you growing or plan on growing this year?

Do you have any tips you can share with us? This maintenance-free, award-winning, high-tech growing system controls soil conditions, eliminates guesswork, and more-than-doubles the yield of a conventional garden; all with less fertilizer, less water and virtually no effort!


Inside the Box

I did buy the planting kit from Earth Box it was expensive. My first complaint is that planting an Earth Box is a back breaking job. I can not see how anyone with physical limitations or back pain can do this. My mother in law purchased these last year to make gardening easier for my father in law who has heart and lung problems. He loves planting and growing.


How to Make an Earth Box!

The same is true for other vining and climbing crops. You may be surprised, but there are a lot of common fruits and vegetables that hail from either vining or climbing types. These types are in dire need of structural support to thrive and maximize their yields: that is, they literally need stakes, cages, or trellises to grow and climb on. They also need occasional pruning to help them grow. Read on for helpful hints! Carefully research the plants you want to grow to ensure you know what type of support is best for them. You can opt to build your own support, or use one of our convenient staking solutions.

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