Does anyone have a recipe?
A good healthy soil with a pH in the 6.2 to 6.8 range and balanced nutrients. A soil well endowed with organic matter that is evenly moist but drains well.
Since the only good way to know if the soil pH is in the proper range and if the nutrients are balanced is with a good, reliable soil test contact your local office of your University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service and inquire about having a soil test done. That and these simple soil tests can help you get your soil there.
2) Drainage. Dig a hole 1 foot square and 1 foot deep and fill that with water. After that water drains away refill the hole with more water and time how long it takes that to drain away. Anything less than 2 hours and your soil drainsÃ¯Â¿Â½ too quickly and needs more organic matter to slow that drainage down. Anything over 6 hours and the soil drains too slowly and needs lots of organic matter to speed it up.
3) Tilth. Take a handful of your slightly damp soil and squeeze it tightly. When the pressure is released the soil should hold together in that clump, but when poked with a finger that clump should fall apart.
4) Smell. What does your soil smell like? A pleasant, rich earthy odor? Putrid, offensive, repugnant odor? The more organic matter in your soil the more active the soil bacteria will be and the nicer your soil will smell.
5) Life. How many earthworms per shovel full were there? 5 or more indicates a pretty healthy soil. Fewer than 5, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, indicates a soil that is not healthy.
I'm looking for a fertilizer recipe also. My soil is great. I want fertilizer.
If your soil is great you do not need "fertilizer". If you need "fertilizer" your soilk cannot be great.
I'm not using my soil because I'm concerned that it has toxins and other crap in it. Previous owners used the property as a dump so I am forced to use raised beds for a garden. Need ideas on what to use to fill my beds with and a fertilizer also.
Have a look at this book.
Here is a link that might be useful: COF
Ahh, if the original post had clearly stated that you were growing tomatoes in containers the answers would have been different. I have for years grown tomatoes in containers using my compost as the growing medium.Some people say that cannot be done and then describe various potting mixes that are all organic matter, as is compost, with no thought to the plants nutrient needs. There are recipes out there, one I have linked from Cornell uses compost, peat moss and perlite, but I've not found that type of recipe necessary.
Here is a link that might be useful: Organic Potting soil
The COF book link is interesting reading and looks like a good organic fertilizer but again it may be too expensive for me at this time.
Forgot the obvious!! Growing in raised beds.
I've looked at the Cornell site but I find it too expensive to build a planting medium with peat, perlite/vermiculite etc.
What I have that I can get inexpensively or free is yard waste compost, horse manure with sand, pine bark fines and cow manure.
What can I make with these???
That mix will likely be deficient in Mg and Ca, so some clay, limestone, wood ash and/or epsom salts could go a long way to rounding out that nutrient combo. In a raised bed, that's got to be a fast draining mix, so a calcium-containing clay like bentonite could help form better soil structure too. But those are all pre-seedling soil amendments, not soluble solutions (except the epsom salts).
Tomatoes are the most commonly grown vegetable in home gardens in America, according to the University of Illinois. Because tomatoes are naturally acidic, vinegar can be used as a natural fungicide as well as a fertilizer on these tasty and nutritious plants. Vinegar is a natural substance that has a wide variety of uses. It is acidic, but not toxic, which means it is safe to consume. For that reason, it can be used on edible as well as non-edible plants without harming them, as long as it is used in moderation and diluted with water.
Tomatoes are prone to fungal diseases, especially during periods of wet spring weather. A combination of apple cider vinegar and water can prevent and treat leaf spots fungi, mildews and scab diseases. Combine 3 tbsp. of cider vinegar with 1 gallon of water. Put the solution into a spray bottle and spray your tomato plants every morning.
Fertilize your tomatoes with a mixture of water, ammonia and vinegar. Combine 1 cup ammonia with 2 cups of white distilled vinegar, then add it to 5 gallons of water. Use a watering can to sprinkle this mixture over your tomato plants and the surrounding soil. Do this about once every two weeks in the spring. This will encourage fruiting.
I totally disagree with wilsons843. I just used vinegar on my plants and it burned my cantaloupe, squash, and pepper and tomato plants. And I used it a ratio less than what was recommended.
I use two things. On the leaves I spray a simple compost tea. In the first couple of inches I put a tomato fertilizer. Not the red stuff Miracle Gro sells. The people I talked to get big plants and no tomatoes with the red MG. Maybe they used too much. They certainly plant their tom plants closer together than recommended.
I brew a couple of 5 gallon buckets of compost tea each year. I have a little fish bait aeorator, and use some blackstrap molasses. A little seaweed extract if I have that. Since one long article I once read suggested different benefits with differing brew times, I mix 1 day tea, two day tea, and four day tea. The tea hopefully will slow the wilts and blights a bit.