Evaluation of Soilless Growing Media in Container Grown Vegetables for Home Gardeners
Volume 16, Issue 1 - June 2023
Editor: Linda Chalker-Scott
One of the most important factors for successful container gardening is the use of a growing mix that will support fruit and vegetable production. In this study, three container mixes were evaluated for their use as growing media for tomato, cucumber, and sweet potato. Evaluated mixes included Old Castle topsoil, Pro Mix (BX) and a Louisiana State University (LSU)-developed potting media called Garden Greaux™. All plants received irrigation daily to maintain substrate field capacity. Cucumber and tomato count and total harvested weight were doubled in the LSU substrate mix as compared to both Pro Mix (BX) and Old Castle topsoil yields. Sweet potato count and weights were also greater when grown in the LSU potting media. Sweet potato yielded 3 times the count and 8 times the weight compared to Pro Mix media and greater than 4 times the count with 8 times the weight when grown in Old Castle. While tomatoes and cucumbers are commonly produced in containers, sweet potatoes are not, as sweet potato roots are especially difficult to produce in containers. This project was inspired by the LSU sweet potato breeding program at LSU to evaluate the roots harvested from containers. Overall, the LSU packaged substrate outperformed the other two mixes and produced acceptable produce quality.
Keywords. Vegetables; tomatoes; cucumbers; sweet potatoes; container-grown; soilless growing media; edible food production.
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