Tomatoes/ vegetables in Earthbox what soil to use?

pectinMarch 15, 2011

Someone told me to use some soil [professional grower] in the soil... will that work? Just want to be sure. What type of soil need to put in?

Main Soil: Top soil,

or miracle grow soil or some portion

crushed egg shells, some portion

epsom salts, some portion

tomotoes fertilizer [cannot remember name] - some portion

other special ingredients

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geeboss(7)

Use of Soil i.e. earth will be too heavy and will compact. A better choice is the use of Potting Mix or Soiless Mix. Use either MG or Sta Green Potting Mix for your Self Watering Container.

George

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 9:26PM
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taz6122(N.W. AR.6b)

Peatmoss/perlite/pine bark fines also called orchid bark. Potting mixes would still compact too much without some amendment IMO. You can add some bark and perlite to the potting mix as well.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 9:47PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I use ProMix BX is all of mine but have also used Sta Green Potting Mix and Metro Mix 360 in the past with fine results. Many use MG potting mix but some have found that the MG with Moisture Control keeps the plants too wet. Otherwise most any quality soil-less potting mix will work IMO and the addition of some bark fines can benefit. But there is no need for dirt/soil of any kind or eggshells or epsom salts or any of the other weird additives.

Earthbox calls for a 2" band of a well balanced granular fertilizer in each container and many find that supplemental feedings of a liquid fertilizer throughout the season is also needed. Earthbox also recommends a small amount of dolomite lime be added, approx. 1 cup I think it is, to each container before planting.

Dave

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 10:13PM
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pectin

I thought egg shells can help with the calcium deficiency? I get weak tomato stalks sometimes

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 10:42PM
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suncitylinda

Egg shells wont break down soon enought to help. Use dolomite lime as is rec by Earthbox.com. My tomato starts are like trees; I keep them outside all day everyday and only bring them in when below 40. If you cant do that some use a fan. You can bury a weak tomato stalk with dirt and it will grow roots. Linda

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 10:51PM
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pectin

Are there any differences in dolomite lime? Like those from earthbox web site or the ones in Home Depot or lowes? Just wondering.. sometimes I think there might be. Do I get the fast acting ones for the lawn or is there some type of dolomite limes I need and how much to put in an earthbox?

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 1:04AM
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sandy0225(z5 Indiana)

promix bx, brk, (HP if you tend to overwater). a good tomato fertilizer, used according to directions once a week. use white vinegar in the watering water if your ph is high, 1-4 T per gallon of fertilzer water according to your water ph results. You don't have to worry about lime, or eggshells, or any of that other stuff if you do this. PH tends to creep up over time in soil-less mixes, but the vinegar will counteract this, and make the ph lower and make your fertilizer more available. For best results in containers, use a more short variety of tomato, like celebrity bush, early girl II, so that you dont have to water as often if you tend to neglect plants.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 8:05AM
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tn_veggie_gardner(7)

ProMix is an excellent choice, but if you can't afford it, something with the ingredients taz specified works great. That's what I use.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 9:19AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I thought egg shells can help with the calcium deficiency? I get weak tomato stalks sometimes

No, egg shells is an old wives tale. And weak tomato stalks aren't caused by calcium anyway but by insufficient light.

Most quality potting mixes already contain some lime to balance the pH of the peat in them. But Earthbox recommends a small amount of additional dolomite lime be added to the mix - you can double check how much on their website but I think it is one cup. They have all the planting and using directions on their website.

Any dolomite lime is fine to use - whatever you can get in a small bag - as long as it is dolomite-type for a slower release to maintain pH. Personally, I would never use vinegar around my plants.

Once the plants are established in the boxes and after they set first fruit I give them a supplemental fertilizer feeding of a liquid fertilizer diluted to 1/2 strength 1x every 7-10 days poured into the water tube.

Last year I also switched to using burlap for the box covering rather than the black plastic as it helps keep the soil and roots cooler and allows for more air to the roots.

Dave

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 10:37AM
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suncitylinda

Dave - I deal with hot climate also. Do you use twine to anchor the burlap in place? thanks, Linda

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 10:52AM
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ferretbee(5b)

I had the best results in my Tomato SWCs last year with a mix of 3 parts Dr. Earth Potting Soil (orange bag), 2 parts aged Pine Bark Fines, and 1 part Pearlite. I also added Lime as recommended.

My SWC Peppers and Eggplants preferred 3:3:2 of the above mix.

My Cucurbits in SWCs didn't like this mix.

I think that the quality of Miracle Grow Potting Mix varies by region. I had very poor results with it in just about everything.

Raybo (Earthtainer) and Al Tapla (who posts on the Container forum) have shared a lot of great info about potting mixes.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 10:32PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Dave - I deal with hot climate also. Do you use twine to anchor the burlap in place? thanks, Linda

Hi Linda - yes you can but you know what works even better is those picnic table cloth spring clips - the ones that snap over the edge of the table to keep the cloth from blowing away.

Book binder clips work well too. And with them you can cut the burlap bigger and let the burlap hang over the sides of the Earthbox. Works great as a sun screen if you have the black planters. Of course you can do that with string too.

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: Book binder clips

    Bookmark   March 17, 2011 at 12:04AM
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rnewste(8b NorCal)

Hey ferretbee,

Thanks for the feedback. This year I have moved to Sunshine #4 Mix, in addition to the Bark Fines and Perlite in the 3:2:1 Combo Mix.

Curious as to why the cukes did not do well in your Mix. I've just started Diva and Sweet Success in the 3:2:1 Mix 3 days ago.

Raybo

    Bookmark   March 17, 2011 at 1:46AM
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taz6122(N.W. AR.6b)

Lack of nitrogen?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2011 at 6:45AM
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lathyrus_odoratus(5A-IL)

I've used a similar concoction to Ferretbee. I tried using other soilless mixes in my EBs in prior years and my soil was always too wet and completely gross by the end of the year. Last year my tomatoes were the best yet since I started growing in containers. I tried using a a peat potting soil in two boxes mixed with the bark and perlite and a coir based one in two other boxes. Both performed the same.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 2:44AM
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suncitylinda

Dave - Thanks. Great trick with the clips, kind of like a glorified clothes pin! Will try it this year. Linda

    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 10:21AM
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