Vera Greutink wrote:Metal containers are long lasting but can heat up excessively if they are in a sunny spot. This can be beneficial for some heat-loving crops (peppers, aubergines) but can be fatal for fruit trees in winter.
Vera Greutink wrote:If the pot heats up on a sunny day, the tree thinks it’s spring and starts to produce sugar. But because the plant is not actively growing at that moment, the sugar is not used and turns into alcohol, which can kill the plant.
Jay Angler wrote:For serious container growing, I take a half a 55 gallon drum, drill some drainage hole about an inch up from the bottom so that some of the water pools in the bottom and then I ask the local bike shops for broken bike wheel rims and fasten them inside or outside at the top of the rim depending on the fit. (I generally have to saw the rim open and fit things.) This keeps the barrel round and allows me to move them more easily if I need to. My oldest ones don't need the "rim treatment" - like everything else, they're using less plastic because it costs more to clean and return the barrels than it does to buy a new one!
Bianca Humphrey wrote:I’ve grown all my plants in containers because of renting. I got cheap black plastic storage containers that have the rope handles. I found that they did well for my fruit trees but anything smaller they lost the soil too quickly - you would water them and it would run straight out. Since moving to our new house, the pots have cracked at the base. But mulching and adding chicken poop to the top has really done wonders for the water draining issue. So as long as the soil is good it shouldn’t really matter what you plant in. Containers are great for the hot weather because you can move them out of the sun. Which in Australia we are having a massive heat wave.
F Agricola wrote:'Vera Greutink wrote:
If the pot heats up on a sunny day, the tree thinks it’s spring and starts to produce sugar. But because the plant is not actively growing at that moment, the sugar is not used and turns into alcohol, which can kill the plant.'
I don’t know if that assumption is correct – it may be more likely the warmer soil promotes early budding when the surrounding air temperature is too cold, causing frost burn. The biggest fear is most metal containers are cheap galvanised ones, where the zinc and other chemicals adversely affect plants.
I find containers that retain heat – terracotta/metal give seedlings a very big head-start in late Winter early Spring, much like a cold frame.
Plastic pots are almost a necessary evil and far too convenient. I like them for cultivating from seed – better control, and to harden-up seedlings before planting out into the garden. But mostly, they are very polluting simply because of the number produced and their throw-away nature.
Toilet rolls and shaped newspaper tubes are excellent alternatives for quick turnover – assist with input of carbon into the soil as well.
In regards to water retention: unglazed terracotta/clay are good for arid loving plants. Even the glazed ones dry out too quickly in our Temperate and Subtropical climates, though they are good for indoor plants because it’s easy to gauge critical moisture levels.
Hollowed tree trunks and sandstone rocks are REALLY good for ferns and orchids – the wood and rock mimics their natural growing environments.
I found that they did well for my fruit trees but anything smaller they lost the soil too quickly - you would water them and it would run straight out.
Kc Simmons wrote:
I've also used the woven plastic feed sacks as "grow bags" when I didn't have anything else on hand, but they tend to work best for dormant trees/shrubs in winter because they break down too quickly in the sun.