Containers forum: Drainage holes

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south-central alabama (Zone 8a)
olhippie
Mar 21, 2018 7:37 PM CST
I have (2)—- 17 gallon containers. They are about 20" across top and 14" on bottom. Going to try tomato and peppers in them. Will be first time for containers. Can anyone tell me about how many holes to put in bottom for draining..
Name: Frank Mosher
Nova Scotia, Canada (Zone 6a)
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fwmosher
Mar 21, 2018 8:58 PM CST
Those are huge containers! How tall are they? If very tall, I would pack it with old flower pots, etc, until you have about 10" of soil on the top. If they are low in height, just fill them with soil. As to drainage holes, three is standard, in a triangle pattern. Don't know the material, but if "plastic", try drilling a small whole first, and if it doesn't crack and split, you will be okay. If it does, you have to use a heated soldering to melt the holes, in a fragile plastic. Cheers!
south-central alabama (Zone 8a)
olhippie
Mar 22, 2018 6:23 AM CST
Thank You Frank,
Will let you know how the holes go. Will drill them later today. It's fairly thick plastic.
Name: Larry
Burleson, Texas (Zone 8a)
fredeboy1
Mar 26, 2018 4:31 PM CST
Be sure if you have the holes in the bottom to place some pottery pieces or large stones over them to prevent dirt or potting soil from sealing the hole drainage. Also if setting on a solid surface put some shims under the container to break the seal and allow drainage.
Good Luck
south-central alabama (Zone 8a)
olhippie
Mar 26, 2018 6:14 PM CST
Didn't have any problems with plastic cracking when drilling the holes. I have been wondering if I needed to have it off the ground a little.
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
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pod
Mar 28, 2018 5:46 AM CST
Yes, if you deal with fireants in your area, I would have it raised off the ground so you can observe any ant activity.

I wouldn't put rocks or clay pot pieces in the base. I cover the drain holes with old fiberglass screening. It retains the soil and allows drainage. It usually only lasts a season before the screen gets too plugged to allow good drainage but is easily replaced.

I would suggest you not use garden soil in the container as it tends to compact to easily. If you do, improve the drainage.

Container growing is not a mystery. The primary things are water and fertilizer. To me, that is easier to provide than in ground. Good luck!

Be content moving inch by inch because, by days end, the inches, will add up to feet and yards.

Fulfilling ambitious objectives is usually done one step at a time.
south-central alabama (Zone 8a)
olhippie
Mar 28, 2018 6:59 AM CST
I'm hoping it want be to hard. I do have ants. Depending when the rain gets here tomorrow and how much, I plan on filling and setting out some tomatoes and peppers in them over the weekend. Was wanting to plant some things on Good Friday, but may be to wet.
Name: Christie
43016 (Zone 6b)
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cwhitt
Mar 28, 2018 7:10 AM CST
fredeboy1 said:Be sure if you have the holes in the bottom to place some pottery pieces or large stones over them to prevent dirt or potting soil from sealing the hole drainage. Also if setting on a solid surface put some shims under the container to break the seal and allow drainage.
Good Luck

I will often put a used coffee filter at the bottom over the drainage holes to catch the soil - seems to work really well.

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Name: Christie
43016 (Zone 6b)
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cwhitt
Mar 28, 2018 7:31 AM CST
I have 2 giant pots on my patio also -- I plant peppers, cherry tomatoes and/or red or sweet potatoes in them. The potatoes don't produce very much, but the vines are very showy. And the peppers do better in the pot than in the ground. In the fall, I remove part of the soil and then over winter I dump coffee grounds, banana peels etc in the pots to fill them back up - by spring it is all fairly composted - works very well for me.
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Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
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RoseBlush1
Mar 28, 2018 7:56 AM CST
pod said:Yes, if you deal with fireants in your area, I would have it raised off the ground so you can observe any ant activity.

I wouldn't put rocks or clay pot pieces in the base. I cover the drain holes with old fiberglass screening. It retains the soil and allows drainage. It usually only lasts a season before the screen gets too plugged to allow good drainage but is easily replaced.

I would suggest you not use garden soil in the container as it tends to compact to easily. If you do, improve the drainage.

Container growing is not a mystery. The primary things are water and fertilizer. To me, that is easier to provide than in ground. Good luck!



I agree about not using rocks or gravel at the base of containers. Old advise was to use shards of old pots. It worked just fine to hold the soil and allow drainage and didn't clog up.

I now use chunks of styrofoam or the packing popcorn that comes with various packages that get delivered up here. It's light weight and a layer of either type of material will keep the soil from leaking out and doesn't clog up and need to be replaced ... Smiling

I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
south-central alabama (Zone 8a)
olhippie
Apr 24, 2018 6:13 PM CST
Here's a picture of the containers with the tomatoes and peppers in them. Ended up with 3 containers instead of the two. Like I said, this is first time with containers. May have more questions later.

Thumb of 2018-04-25/olhippie/017a84

Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
May 4, 2018 11:24 PM CST
olhippie said:Here's a picture of the containers with the tomatoes and peppers in them. Ended up with 3 containers instead of the two. Like I said, this is first time with containers. May have more questions later.

Thumb of 2018-04-25/olhippie/017a84



You want decent 1/4" holes for water drainage (small holes clog). But you also need something to hold the soul in. Landscaping fabric will do well, but quite frankly, old cotton undershirts work very well. Chunks of broken pots and styrofoam don't work at all. Too large.

south-central alabama (Zone 8a)
olhippie
May 16, 2018 12:20 PM CST
Added another container and put some cayenne peppers in it. All are looking good so far. Just wondering if anyone uses a watering trough like tractor supply has. Been thinking about using one of them instead of several separate containers. Had a updated pic but I deleted before posting this.
Name: Karen
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plantmanager
May 16, 2018 12:43 PM CST
I've seen a lot of people using the animal watering troughs they sell in the tractor supply store. They come in small rounds and ovals, and in much larger sizes too. They're not hard to drill and make great containers for planting.
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Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
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pod
May 16, 2018 7:36 PM CST
I've never used those watering troughs but have three of the cattle mineral tubs. I have citrus trees planted in each of them. If you have any cattle ranchers around, they may have excess of these tubs that you could beg, borrow or steal. The price was right...
Be content moving inch by inch because, by days end, the inches, will add up to feet and yards.

Fulfilling ambitious objectives is usually done one step at a time.
south-central alabama (Zone 8a)
olhippie
May 16, 2018 8:03 PM CST
Tractor supply had some kind of special day going on Saturday. I went to check it out and while there walked around looking at equipment and saw the metal oval watering troughs. The ones I looked at were 2'x2'x6' and 2'x3'x8'. Had all sizes. Had some thick plastic ones 12" deep. Would 12" be deep enough for tomatoes and peppers?
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
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pod
May 16, 2018 8:10 PM CST
I think it would be deep enough but may require more watering than a deeper one.

Most of the time when planting, the depth is not as critical as the width of the container.

I am one of those gardeners that likes to pull up my plants at the end of their season to look at the root system. Amazingly many sprawl out rather than down.

Be content moving inch by inch because, by days end, the inches, will add up to feet and yards.

Fulfilling ambitious objectives is usually done one step at a time.
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
May 17, 2018 7:16 AM CST
I've read about people using children's swimming pools for temporary raised beds to grow veggies.

Basically, the pools hold the soil in place and the plants roots grow through the bottom for greater depth. Those roots are just anchor roots and don't really feed the plant, so keeping the soil in the pool / container is more important.
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
south-central alabama (Zone 8a)
olhippie
May 21, 2018 2:08 PM CST
If I remember right, my containers are about 16" tall. The potting mix is 4" from top. So I'm actually growing in 12" container. Everything is looking good so far. I ended up drilling (4) 3/8" holes in the bottoms. If I decide to keep growing in containers, I'm going to consider at least one of the 12" deep troughs from tractor supply. I may can even get a couple of them free.

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