“To us, it’s obvious that a rigid container, with ribs and U-grooves that facilitate good drainage, will give better results when growing blueberries than grow bags do”, explains Javier Magaña, director of Compostas Masvi. The Jalisco substrate manufacturer tested growing blueberries in a 25-liter pot with U-Grooves, developed by Plantlogic.
Compostas Masvi is a substrate manufacturer in Jalisco specialized in the production of substrate based on pine bark compost and coconut fiber, who have been using Plantlogic pots for 7 months to measure the effectiveness and performance of their substrate in blueberry production.
The importance of the container
To carry out this test in Compostas Masvi, they selected a 25-liter pot with high legs and U-grooves that would allow them to keep a precise production control while facilitating handling since they had previously experimented with grow bags.
Regarding the problems they have faced in blueberry cultivation in grow bags, Magaña explains: “We saw that growers who used bags had a lot of volume reduction of substrate and we wanted to check if it was due to the type of substrate itself or due to the container. Furthermore, we were told that in terms of durability and ease of use, the pot is much better, since it simply has to be filled with substrate and you get rid of other problems”. According to Janvier, he has seen a failure rate in blueberries in bags not because of the bag itself but because of the combination of coconut and bag. "Which is damaging the blueberries, and in pots, you don’t see that problem. In addition, the trend is towards pots due to environmental issues”.
For Janvier, the main advantage of Plantlogic pots is in handling: "We come from the pine industry where we learned over 20 years that the container is essential to determine the quality of the plant, and it’s obvious that a rigid container, with ribs and U-grooves that facilitate good drainage will give you better results when growing blueberries. Grow bags will never be the same as the pot, even in the arrangement for irrigation”, he explains, and adds that an advantage of using pots is their ease of use and that it requires less labor to install. According to Janvier: “The greatest advantage that the pot has over the grow bag is that it requires only one person to fill it up, while bags require a minimum of two people, since one has to open the bag and the other has to fill it with substrate. With pots a single person can carry out the entire maneuver, and in 30-40 thousand containers it is noticeable in cost and labor”, he argues.
Design and innovation
Plantlogic´s 25-liter round pot with u grooves is developed to maximize drainage and oxygen uptake to maintain healthy roots and plant vigor. Its 1.18 in (3 cm) tall legs prevent root contact with soil and pathogens.
One of the most important innovations of this pot is its pyramidal base that forces water to drain at the outside edges, minimizing the wet zone. Non-draining central holes allow oxygen uptake in the center of root mass and prevent growing down. In addition, this pot has three different U-groove spacing options for 16 mm irrigation pipes that facilitate fertigation in greenhouses.
Regarding pot design and the experience using it in their greenhouses, Janvier comments: “These pots are much more comfortable, due to the ease and practicality of placing irrigation pipes. In addition, it makes the change much easier when you want to open or close the pipe since the maneuver is relatively quick. It is an excellent innovation, and it should stay”.
Long term savings
One of the main factors that determine for blueberry growers to choose grow bags over pots as their first choice is often cost, as pots can lay up to five times the cost of a bag. Janvier says there are hidden costs that must be considered and included in your investment if you decide to use bags. "It must be taken into account that grow bags require a base to separate bag from soil and allow drainage, so it is necessary to consider the cost of bricks or concrete bases, as well as labor to carry out this work and add it to the final cost."
Regarding savings, Magaña explains: “I think that savings in labor is marginal, in the long term the saving is that pot is going to be cheaper than the grow bag because it can last you for years. In addition, although at the beginning it isn´t noticeable, in two or three years the quality of the root that the pot will develop when compared with the bag is that you will harvest more in a pot. We have test plants in pots for over fourteen years and the plant still produces; hardly a bag would have lasted 14 years”, he adds.