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  • SIP question

    I am working on making SIPs from recycled buckets to up-pot a lot of cuttings started last year. These buckets are mainly white 5 gal containers that held food products ( dill pickles, beef broth, mayo, donut filling etc) or 4.5 gal containers that held joint compound. Plus a few odds and ends that are slightly smaller or are gray. They all are the same diameter and fit together nicely. My thought was that the best use would be to have the 5g containers as the fig pots holding potting soil since they are larger and would have slightly more room for roots, and use the 4.5g pots as the reservoir. I think this is preferable to a larger reservoir. I have attached a pic with the 2 options using one of the 5g gray buckets instead of the white ones for contrast. Sound like the best plan?
    Ed
    SW PA zone 6a

  • #2
    Ed, you could go either ways depending on your priorities: longer periods between waterings vs larger root ball. Whichever bucket you put on the bottom, there are ways to allow for a maximum sized reservoir involving the use of screws or fasteners.
    Frank Tallahasee 8B
    North Florida Figs

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    • #3
      The roots will grow out the bottom of the planter into the reservoir any way.
      If you have a reservoir with a slightly larger volume it will hold more roots.
      You can also set up one of the many automatic fills for SIP reservoirs, so thay do not have to hold a large volume of water.
      Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

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      • #4
        Thanks for the input, all. For me, I think it is more valuable to have more space for roots, I can fill the reservoir as often as it needs it. This isn't the desert sun here in PA. I imagine at most every other day I would need to water them - we will see
        Ed
        SW PA zone 6a

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        • #5
          I vote for more root space. I repotted 3 SIPs last week, but this time I added weed fabric at the bottom of the buckets to prevent a mess of roots going into the water supply. Based on last year's performance, it looks like I'll have to root prune every 2 years. The weed fabric should make it easier to pull out the tree when I repot.
          Frank ~ zone 7a VA

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          • #6
            Having the 4.5 gal bucket on the bottom (for the water reservior) makes the most sense to me. It will hold plenty of water for the volume of potting mix you are talking about. The only issue I see is to pay attention to how high the bottom of the top bucket is suspended from the bottom of the bottom bucket. This will determine your water reservoir size. The buckets I use are all identical in size and the bottoms of the two buckets are about 4 inches apart or so.
            Steve
            D-i-c-k-e-r-s-o-n, MD; zone 7a
            WL: Verdolino, Figue Jaune, Nantes Maroc, Lussheim

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            • #7
              The idea is great and I have a few smaller SIPs and like how the figs grow there . My issue with the larger containers made out of the HD buckets is the look.
              My wife is totally against having them everywhere . I would need to find something more pleasing for the eyes
              USDA z 10a, SoCal. WL: De la Roca, Lampeira Prush, Bass’ Favorite Fig, Raspberry Tart, Cavaliere

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              • #8
                Greenfig,
                Any Container or Manufactured Planter can be turned into a SIP planter.
                This Google search for sip planter plans shows dozens of examples... https://www.google.com/search?q=sip+...ed=0CAkQ_AUoAg
                .
                Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

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                • #9
                  Pete,
                  It is hard to miss that note in a larger font
                  Yes, of course . The beauty of the HD buckets is the price and availability , hard to beat that ! I would need about 40 SIPs in the ideal world. Still looking for the suitable containers .
                  USDA z 10a, SoCal. WL: De la Roca, Lampeira Prush, Bass’ Favorite Fig, Raspberry Tart, Cavaliere

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                  • AscPete
                    AscPete commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Sorry, I was shouting : )
                    You can actually find decorative planters for sale at local and internet stores. The containers constructed of HDPE would be sturdier and last longer. Even Home Depot has a line of Square 14" Containers that are available in a few colors for under $10.00. Good Luck.

                • #10
                  Greenfig,
                  One common approach is to paint the buckets a nice uniform color. Color would depend on your location -- those up north might want to paint them black to get extra warmth, but in the south or southwest, where the sun is stronger, that would cook the plants.
                  Jim
                  Jim -- Central NJ, Zone 6b

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                  • #11
                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErT_B0L6qMU

                    just another verson of the mini sip
                    Brian
                    Chackbay LA Zone 9A

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                    • #12
                      Jim,
                      Thanks for a suggestion!

                      Is it common to cover the SIP's open soil with plastic? Or it is ok to leave it open or cover with mulch?
                      USDA z 10a, SoCal. WL: De la Roca, Lampeira Prush, Bass’ Favorite Fig, Raspberry Tart, Cavaliere

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                      • #13
                        The practice of covering the top of sips with plastic comes from the earth box system where a cup of fertilizer is spread across the top one time only for the entire season. Keeping the top open would allow the rain to quickly wash it away.
                        Other reasons to keep the top covered include preventing evaporation and keeping airborne fungi, bacteria, bugs, cats, out of the growing medium.
                        With fig plants, however you could go either way, IMO.
                        Last edited by FMD; 02-23-2015, 05:23 PM.
                        Frank Tallahasee 8B
                        North Florida Figs

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                        • #14
                          Make sure to cover the top with either mulch or plastic black tarp/ plastic. Weeds will get out of control quickly. Last year was a nightmare.

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                          • AscPete
                            AscPete commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Hello Dom,
                            Welcome to Our Forum Community.

                            How long do you go between root pruning in your 5 Gallon Buckets? Thanks.

                        • #15
                          Well hello there nypd5229. How are things in chilly NY?

                          Welcome to this wonderful forum. 😃
                          newnandawg 7b Newnan, GA

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                          • #16
                            Last year I had weeds growing from a few so I mulched the tops (and it looked better and kept soil from being splased out with rain) ,and then had squirrels burying walnuts in my pots. Think I am going to try the plastic cover this year.
                            Ed
                            SW PA zone 6a

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                            • #17
                              I had great success covering my SIPs with black plastic. I did add a layer of mulch to make a mound before covering so the rainwater runs away from the trunk. I haven't tried without the cover, but I've heard from others, among FMD, that they still perform great.
                              Frank ~ zone 7a VA

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                              • AscPete
                                AscPete commented
                                Editing a comment
                                Kerry (Drivewayfarmer) also doesn't use covers on his larger SIP.

                            • #18
                              Hey hey hey, Dom is here!! Welcome back to the new F4F-not forum. Mike, Dom is from New England, if I remember correctly. Dom, are you still growing all your figs in Sips?
                              Frank Tallahasee 8B
                              North Florida Figs

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                              • #19
                                I thought that s/n looked familiar. Glad you're here Dom!
                                Frank ~ zone 7a VA

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                                • #20
                                  Thank you! I'm done with this cold and snow. LOL

                                  Root pruning depends a lot on the variety. I have had some last 3 years without pruning and some need the roots trimmed by the end of the first year. For me the growth of the actual tree has not had a bearing on the amounts of roots.

                                  This year I am weeding out a few and moving to larger 20 gallon tubs. Had a bad year but I think it was time to change fertilizer to higher P.

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                                  • drivewayfarmer
                                    drivewayfarmer commented
                                    Editing a comment
                                    Really nice to see you posting here Dominick.
                                    Look forward to your list of 5 current favorites on that thread.

                                • #21
                                  I vote for growing anything in a SIP. I don't want to rain on everybody's parade....BUT if you've had the chance to grow a fig tree in a SIP, then you'll know that once the tree find the water, it will grow rapidly. I would use those vertical buckets if they were 10 gallon or more buckets. The 5 gallon ones are too small in my opinion. You will be repotting your trees sooner than you want. Just my 2 cents.
                                  Dennis
                                  Charlotte, NC /Zone 8a

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                                  • #22
                                    Thanks for the comment Dennis. I have to keep them a size I can carry up and down stairs to my cold storage area. I agree 5g is ideally too small, but if I keep the trees pruned to a manageable size I'm gonna see if I can make this work with the 5g size, and expect to have to do root pruning every other year. I am going to have a few inground trees in protected locations (next to shed, garage and pool) which will get pruned back and covered for the winter but the bulk of my trees have to be small.
                                    Ed
                                    SW PA zone 6a

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                                    • #23
                                      Yeah up here in New England. Basically I use to go straight from rooting cups to the SWC. Took this season off from rooting. Time to cut down and weed out. Plan to keep a lot less and grow them larger in bigger containers.

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                                      • #24
                                        Thanks Kerry. I have to re-evaluate a bit because I have a few newer ones that have not fruited so it may change.

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