Potting mix for tomatoes

bulllakeFebruary 22, 2014

Is this a reasonable mix for a 15 gallon root pouch :
1. 1/3 peat
2. 1/3 Miracle Grow Garden Soil
3. 1/3 Perlite
4. 1/3 cup dolomite lime
5. 1/3 cup epsom salt
6. 2 cups Azomite
7. 5 cups Tomato Tone
8. 5 cups ( 16 Oz. ) worm castings

This post was edited by lakedeyes on Sat, Feb 22, 14 at 16:04

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

1) I would never use MG Garden Soil in ANY container. Says not to right on the bag and it compacts badly just like dirt does..

2) Have you checked out the many discussions about good container mixes over on the Container gardening forum? Worth reading for lots of good info on 5-1-1 mix.

3) Nothing wrong with peat or perlite in the proper proportions.

4) Azomite - use the label instructions for container size. Too much is worse than too little.

5) That much Tomato Tone + worm castings up front will get you lots of big bushy plants with little fruit set. Fertilizers in containers have to be staged throughout the growing season since the nutrients leach out every time you water. So an upfront heavy loading only stresses the young plants, triggers heavy leaf growth, and then gradually washes out.

6) Same with epsom salts. I like using them, many don't, but watering with them in a diluted form throughout the season is much more effective than any up front load is.

Hope this is of help.


    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 3:17PM
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Thanks , Dave , for your feedback . Espoma recommends
1.25 cups of TT per 8 QTS. of mix , unless I read the instructions wrong . Will the worm castings hurt ? Gotcha on the MG .

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 3:37PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

There are several options for potting soil :

-- ready bagged: MG, Fafard, Promix ...
-- "mix-your-own: 5-1-1 and its variations. This is basically a "BARK _ BASED" mix , with 70% pine/fir bark fines, 15% peat moss and 15% perlite. Then you add lime and fertilizer.

For more reading you can go to "Container Gardening" forum. I highly recommend it.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 6:45AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Another point is that potting soil for tomatoes is no different from that of peppers, eggplants , etc. Potting mix is just a MEDIUMS. The companies that bag and market them, add nutrients to them, for the convenience of the consumer. So, when you mix your own SOIL-LESS mix, you have to add the needed nutrients and balance its pH. That is why using 5-1-1 needs some education and experience, while a newbie can use a MC product without any problem, but then he/she has to pay extra for the "tv-dinner" convenience feature. .

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 9:10AM
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My nightshade family plants (tomatoes, eggplant and peppers) all HATE Miracle Grow mixes. They like the blue stuff just fine but those mixes they HATE (shaking leaves in shudders). I use Metromix 360 and feed Miracle Grow and Epsom salts after a good soaking every 2 weeks. 1t MG and 1T Epsom salts in 1 gallon of water about an hour or so after a deep watering. I also reuse potting mix by upending on a tarp - top in first and bottom on top. Earthworms are always present and they go in the middle. This year I plant to have a water garden in a 300gallon galvinized trough and will use fish poop from that in the garden when I change the water by a 1/3 every month or so.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 7:02PM
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Growing tomatoes organically, in a container can be very difficult. Tomatoes tend to be heavy feeders and organic ferts are not directly available in the same way that synthetics could be. Organics must first be broken down by microbial colonies that are present in dirt and are largely absent in sterile potting mix. Those who grow successfully in containers generally use various specialty products to introduce and maintain those microbes.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 9:51PM
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