Containers in high tunnel

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere on other posts, I’m gearing up for the first full season in the high tunnel, which we completed last fall. It’s an NRCS gothic 32x48 coverered in solawrap.

We’ve divided it into 5 4’ wide beds with 6 2’ wide paths flanking each. I’m planning to do some experimenting with growing fruit in at least one of the beds. There are species that are going to need to come out and be overwintered in my basement or wood shop (Tamarillo, pomegranate) and some that could possibly stay in the ground (maypops, figs with protection). In both cases, containers make sense to me, though I’m considering sinking the containers into the beds to moderate temp and soil moisture. I’ll be watering the beds with low pressure drip tape and plan to run a loop of 1/4 soaker tape per container.

I’m wondering specifically in regards to Maypop and Fig whether there is something I can do to discourage them sending roots through the bottom of the container. I know that maypop can get quite rangey with its suckering, and figs rooting through the container will tend to eliminate some or all of the benefit of growing in containers over time. I imagine I’d probably have to lift the containers out periodically and could do some root management then. I keep trying to think of something that might work similarly to air pruning, for example, in preventing or at least minimizing this tendency. Copper had occurred to me as well.

Anyway, lots of clever types here with growing know how to spare, so if any of you guys have thoughts or ideas, I’m all ears.

Also love to hear your recommendations for things worthy of cultivation in high tunnels. I do have a couple of non-hardy mulberries (DMOR9 and Worlds Best/Thai Dwarf) I’m going to try, but I’m not sure if it’ll be worth it. I had a passing thought of a kaki or two, but then I’ve got soooo many persimmons and my wife is indifferent about them. I’d really like to try some NZ Fejioas in there. They look promising. Wife was keen on the pomegranate, I know it’s iffy at best. We’re trying out Kazake. I have a bunch of citrus and kumquats. Not sure I intend to haul them all that way, but might if it seems worth it. Lots to figure out!

Mine are sitting on oversize pavers.

For anything where suckering & runners aren’t a concern (i.e. not the maypops), it seems like it would be easier to simply plant in the ground and then dig them up carefully and prune heavily if you want to move them back out.

For the maypops and other stuff that will try to escape the container, I probably wouldn’t bury those unless I was ok with them getting out. Putting pavers under them like Richard suggested would help too.

That being said, I’ve planted some maypops in a raised bed in my greenhouse this spring, and I’m just hoping it’ll be somewhat contained by the compacted gravel path around the bed. I’m sure that’s excessive optimism.