Potting mix for container tomatoes.........

greenhouser(Middle TN Zone 6)July 3, 2008

What potting mix are you folks using for your tomatoes? And do you only grow determinate vines in containers?

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bbasham78

I use Miracle Grow Moisture Control potting soil, mix in Soil moist and Osmocote, worm casings tea and I beleive some epsom salts. until tonight I didnt know there was such a thing as determinate/indeterminate. Just dumb luck i guess they have never gotton too big. I am not growing upside down yet (my tomatoes aren't either):).

    Bookmark   July 3, 2008 at 12:32AM
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greenhouser(Middle TN Zone 6)

bbasham78

Last year I got good results from bags of composted cow manure, bagged topsoil and soil conditioner from Lowe's. I mixed in some bone meal, wood ashes and blood meal. This was for my greenhouse toms. I was wondering what everyone else was using.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2008 at 1:15AM
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elkwc(6b)

I will just say if you do searches on the various forums there is numerous threads about this. I searched them and use a combination I came up with from reading many of them. The one thing is some of the additives some use aren't available everywhere especially here where my closest big box store is 120 miles away. So I used what I had available to me. My feeling is many try to keep it where they will drain well. JMO. JD

    Bookmark   July 3, 2008 at 7:18AM
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rocklandguyZ8,SC

I'm using MiracleGro Potting MIX, and they are doing great! So far, there isn't much difference from those plants in the garden... Paul

    Bookmark   July 3, 2008 at 7:47AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

In my experience most any good brand name potting mix, a soil-less one, will do fine. I use mostly ProMix but also have plants growing in Scotts, MG and Expert Gardener. I add time-release fertilizer to most containers.

The problems develop when folks use garden dirt in containers. I avoid all the things called "topsoil" for the same reason - very poor drainage and compaction problems that suffocates roots. Have also read several complaints about MG Garden Soil for Vegetables in pots. But then it says on the bag not for use in containers.

If you want to mix your own the standard recipe is 1/3 each of peat, vermiculite and compost. Over on the Container Gardening forum you can find hundreds of discussions on container mixes.

Dave

    Bookmark   July 3, 2008 at 11:05AM
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bate181

i planted a variety in a bag of standard MG potting mix and its my best looking plant out of ~15 plants. it looks so good i bought two more bags to plant directly in to

    Bookmark   July 3, 2008 at 12:25PM
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trudi_d

I agree with Miracle Grow Moisture Control. It's a great fave for containers, and it's also what I use to wintersow seeds.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2008 at 12:58PM
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greenhouser(Middle TN Zone 6)

Thanks... interesting. I used a lot of sand and that stuff they call "soil conditioner" so it didn't compact and drained real well. Yes, I did add peat but very little perlite due to the cost. I'll hop over to the container group and check them out.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2008 at 1:26PM
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containerted

I agree with Digdirt. Any good soil free potting mix. Here in northeast Georgia, I also have access to a product called "Jungle Growth Professional Mix". It's really about the same as MG, but I've done some tests and find JG does a better job. I also add a little extra sand and a shovel full of "North Georgia Red Clay" (finely ground up) in each 18 gallon container. I don't know what the clay does chemically, but it seems to put a little more zip in the taste of the fruit - at least for me it does.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2008 at 2:37PM
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tn_veggie_gardner(7)

I'm with the majority here...MG Moisture Control Potting Mix & a little epsom salts watering. Maybe once they start to flower, i'll probably toss in some MG water every week or two.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2008 at 6:56PM
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mike34

"I'm with the majority here...MG Moisture Control Potting Mix & a little epsom salts watering. Maybe once they start to flower, i'll probably toss in some MG water every week or two."

What is the rate of epsom salts?

    Bookmark   July 4, 2008 at 12:51AM
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tn_veggie_gardner(7)

1 teaspoon per watering for about 3-5 plants (how long jug lasts before I refill it). I do that every week or so.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2008 at 1:39AM
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greenhouser(Middle TN Zone 6)

To: containerted 7b

It probably adds micronutrients not in the bagged product or usual fertilizers many of us use. I too added a little rich back organic topsoil from the woods behind the house. I don't reuse the soil tons grew in before for new plants. Used soil goes in the flower beds. :)

    Bookmark   July 4, 2008 at 1:05PM
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snoggerboy(RSA)

I live in southern hemisphere and have followed the Tomato forum to learn from you. I have also come across the terra preta articles and have tried to mimmick that in my container mixes.
The cherry tomatoes grew more than 2inches per day in mid season!
I use some Soil in my mix as ingredients are too expensive.
I combine equal parts homemade Compost (mostly leaves and chicken manure) some Coco Peat and small quantity Vermiculite then add Charcoal and Terracotta shards (bricks-very porous type)and a handful of fine composted pine bark. I include some bonemeal and a little lime.
At planting I put down a line of composted chicken manure, organic fert(purchased) Epsom salts and a bit of bone meal again.
During growing season I give some fish emulsion. The tomatoes grew on into winter as our winters are very mild and some still have fruits on the vines.(july = your december!)
I ordered some Mortgage Lifter, 2 black varieties (Brandywine & Krim) and Delicious to try in my homemade earthboxes this coming season.
These type of seeds are not available here.
It took 3 months to arrive!
Good growing!

    Bookmark   July 5, 2008 at 3:24AM
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lilacs_of_may

I also use MG potting mix. I mixed in some time release fertilizer when I planted the seedlings and have watered with MG food once since then. I have some epsom salts, but I haven't used them yet. I only just found out about them a couple days ago on these forums. One teaspoon in a 2 gal watering can?

    Bookmark   July 5, 2008 at 4:05AM
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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

lilacs_of_may - I have always used 1 tablespoon of epson salts per gallon of water (2 tbsp. per 2-gallon watering can) the times when I have added it but if you want, you can always try less, see how your plants respond, and then adjust accordingly.

As for the rest of the thread, as noted, there are many different combos of soil mixes (whether home-made or bagged) that people have used and had success with. It's mostly a matter of making sure the result drains well and matches a person's watering habits (and/or mother nature's environmental conditions), I.e., if you are in an area that tends to have a high level of summer rainfall or you find you have a heavy hand when watering, then a mix that holds water is not a good idea. The reverse applies if conditions tend to be hot/dry and you don't have the time to water daily or twice daily, and thus a mix that retains moisture may work best. Gardening is always an experiment!

    Bookmark   July 5, 2008 at 9:47AM
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farkee(Florida)

Snoggerboy, thanks from mentioning terre preta. It was mentioned on the soil forum and you reminded me that I wanted to do more reading on the subject. Very interesting. Let us know how your mix does. I am interested in reading about methods that may improve agricultural yields in areas with fewer resources. Plus I love to try anything new (at least new to me) but there is no way I could make charcoal in my urban area :)--still like to read about the research though. Interesting that you can use peanut shells and rice hulls to make charcoal.

Here is a Cornell Link: terre preta is NOT the same as slash and burn

(PS good luck with your new varieties)

Here is a link that might be useful: Terre preta (Cornell)

    Bookmark   July 5, 2008 at 11:04AM
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snoggerboy(RSA)

Farkee - yes the terra preta bug bit me - I just had to try.
My Tomatoes did very well in it lsat season as did greens in raised beds. We'll see how they do a second season.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2008 at 12:06PM
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elkwc(6b)

This is my first year for containers and has been mainly an experiment. The think I tried to find reading the threads was materials I could obtain and that would be reasonable if in the future I decided to do several. The MG would be high to me if using it straight in many containers. Several use pecan hulls or corn cobs. I finally saw the hulls 2 at a store in this area and going over tomorrow in the pu to buy some to have on hand. Most of my mine was a blend of Pro Mix with a little MG moisture control, a small amount of horse manure from the horse pen, some alfalfa/manure compost, some humus, peat moss and added some epsom salts, bone meal with a smidgen of blood meal. The mix seems to be light and I thought drained well. But even with the days in the upper 90's and 100's I've been able to go a week between waterings. I let the plants tell me when they need it. They have grown well and are setting. Sure I will tweak the mix some. I try to use what I can buy cheap that is left at the local stores after the gardening season is over. My plan is too remove it this fall and mix in some pecan shells, compost, bone meal and manure and then fill the containers back up and let them set till spring. The main thing is let the plants tell you when they need fed and watered. With this hot weather I almost overwatered those in my garden and they were going a week between. If mulched good water will go further than we realize. JMO. JD

    Bookmark   July 5, 2008 at 3:45PM
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snoggerboy(RSA)

Farkee - I now have gone a step further by soaking my home made char in a EM solution befor mixing it into the potting mix.
I do hope the microbes will be benificial to the tomato plant's roots

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 9:13AM
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old-injun

OLD-INJUNÂS SECRET TO GROWING TOMATOES IN CONTAINERS

1- 2/3 MIRACLE GROW POTTING MIX MIXED WITH 1/3 COW OR CHICKEN MANURE.(BLACK COW OR BLACK HEN)
2- MIX 4 TBLS OF SLOW RELEASE FERTILIZER (12-12-12) TO EACH 5 GAL OF MIX
3- ADD 3 TBLS OF DOLIMITE PER 5 GAL OF MIX
MIX ALL TOGETHER.
4- DRESS AROUND PLANT 6 INCHES FROM STEM WITH 4 TBLS OF SLOW RELEASE FERTILIZER
5- USE 5 GAL CONTAINERS OR LARGER
6- FERTILIZE WITH LIQUID FERTILIZER (12-12-12) EVERY WEEK AT A RATE OF 1/2 TEASPOON PER GALLON OF WATER
7- WATER 1/2 GALLON OF WATER DAILY (BEFORE NOON) PER 5 GAL POT
8- SPRAY WITH COPPER AND FUNGICIDE (SUCH AS DACONIL) EVERY 7 DAYS, STARTING 2 WEEKS AFTER PLANTING.

AFTER 5 YEARS OF EXPERIMENTING. THIS WORKS. GOOD LUCK.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 3:45PM
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