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Tomatoes in a wire mesh trough

I’m a newbie to growing veg really. I’ve acquired a mesh trough from the post room at work and intend to grow some tomato plants in it. I’ve lined it with some coconut matting. Do I need to add a plastic liner too or will it be okay as it is. See pic below. Appreciate any and all help. :-)


  • Blue OnionBlue Onion Posts: 2,995
    Yes, it will need to be lined with plastic.  Tomatoes are thirsty plants.  The bags from the compost work fine.. just cut some holes in the plastic along the bottom to allow for good drainage.  
    Utah, USA.
  • FireFire Posts: 18,946
    ... or perhaps better, slits on the side, a bit raised, so that there is a little reservoir.
  • Thanks Blue Onion and Fire.  So, if i go for the little reservoir idea you mention Fire, do you mean cut slits in the plastic a couple of inches up from the bottom all the way up the sides and will it not encourage root rot if there are no drainage holes in the bottom of the trough? Also, do i just line it with several pieces of the plastic rather like i did with the coir matting - i.e. a piece for tge bottom and one each for the short and long sides, overlapping as i go? 
  • FireFire Posts: 18,946
    edited May 2018
    That's just my take, but with very thirsty / full sun plants, like tomatoes, I think it's a good idea. They do this often with hanging baskets. I would say some holes, not more than an inch above the bottom, on the sides of the plastic. I line my troughs with old compost bags, turned inside out. As tomato plants are usually such big plants (cordon or bush) I don't think root rot would be a problem. I dearly wish I had lines all my planters this way - it would have made such a difference to watering. :|
  • Blue OnionBlue Onion Posts: 2,995
    Following on Fire's idea, you could put some sort of low plastic trays in the bottom to better retain the water.  Cut some disposable salad containers down to an inch tall.. and sort of fill up most of the bottom with them.  They will act as reservoirs for the water, without trapping too much.  The surrounding soil will 'wick' it out if there is too much, and eventually the roots will seek it out.    
    Utah, USA.
  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,530
    Congratulations on an inspired bit of upcycling!
  • Thanks Josusa. Yes, I’m all for upcycling/recycling - makes for much more interesting containers I find. :-)
  • Kitty 2Kitty 2 Posts: 5,150
    Would a growbag, put in sideways fit? Slit the plastic all the way across the top side and poke drainage holes in the bottom. 
    Depends of course on the size of your trough.
  • I’ve got a 75 litre bag of multipurpose compost. Good idea though Kitty. I’m wondering though - as growbags are not very deep and people often grow tomatoes in them, does that mean that the plants are shallow rooting and don’t need much compost. I want to give my tomatoes a good start but I don’t want to waste resources either. I’d say the trough is about a foot deep or slightly more. 
  • Kitty 2Kitty 2 Posts: 5,150
    Tomatoes are deep rooting Debbie. I usually plant them in florists buckets with holes drilled in the bottom for drainage.
    I suggested a growbag as I thought it might be an easy solution as the liner and the compost in one 😊.

    I've never used a "flat" growbag, much too shallow IMO, you get a better depth by cutting them in half and standing them up on end.
    I just buy them for the rich compost inside.

    Some heavy duty plastic for a liner sounds right for your needs. Old compost bags as others have already suggested will be fine.
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