Soil Questions

yumtomatoes(10a/FLA)August 4, 2011

So from an earlier thread, I have to throw out my soil from last year since I had blight. And from reading here I know not to use the Miracle Gro Moisture Control, but the regular Miracle Gro potting soil instead.

What about soil amendments? I was using Tomato Tone last year and thinking about adding some bone meal, too, to help with blossoms. Then I was reading here about lime to add to prevent BER.

Is the Tomato Tone enough or do I need to add more to the soil, like bone meal and lime?

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zzackey(8b GA)

I was told not to add lime unless I tested the soil. I live just above Florida. This is what the ag agent told me. Soil testing is about $7.00 here.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 2:03PM
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thanks zack. I am growing in containers so it is a bit different since I have to water so much it washes out the nutrients. I should have specified that I grow in containers.

Where I live, we have nematodes in the soil and I use the word soil loosely, since we don't have dirt but rather sand in the ground here. It is very difficult if not impossible to grow a good tasting tomato in worm filled sand like we have where I live so we have to stick to containers.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 2:20PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

There are many good brands of container mix so Miracle Grow is far from your only choice. The #1 preferred soil-less mix is ProMix BX.

Most all brands come with lime already added to the mix. Bone meal is very slow acting, benefits the following year, not the year applied. Tomato Tone is fine but liquid supplements have more practical applications in containers after planting than powdered supplements do.

It never hurts to mix in a powdered supplement when filling the containers and before planting. But there is no one-brand-beats-all. Read through the many fertilizer discussions here for specific recommendations, especially Raybo's EarthTainer discussions or browse the many discussions on fertilizers over on the Container Gardening forum. Lots of good info there.

I have to throw out my soil from last year since I had blight.

That is what I would dispute. If you can afford replacement with a better quality, great. By all means do it. If not, then there are many methods of soil remedioration available.


    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 2:42PM
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Thanks, Dave. About the liquid supplements, can you give me some brand names so I know what to look for when I go to the nursery?

I can afford new dirt since I am only planting 1 :( maybe 2 due to space constraints.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 2:55PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Just a few of the many brands/types discussed here:

Maxicrop, Fish Emulsion, Liquid Kelp, Liquid Seaweed, Alaska Bloom, Dyna Grow, Earth Juice, Fox Farm, Liquid Miracle Grow, Compost tea, BioMarine, Aggreen, Worms Way, Nachurs, etc.


    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 4:51PM
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I have fish emulsion and liquid seaweed, but I was under the impression that those added nitrogen mostly and some micronutrients. I would rather use organic if possible but what about phosphorus, potassium and calcium?

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 5:08PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

phosphorus, potassium and calcium

Might want to check your labels as it varies from brand to brand but fish emulsion usually offers across the board nutrients, balanced N-P-K in 5-1-1 or 4-2-3 as well as various micro-nutrients. Seaweed and kelp blends do too. Straight seaweed is normally a blend of P and K.

Calcium is a separate supplement if you need more than is included in the usual micro-nutrients. Seldom needed as few soils are low in Ca++ ions. Lime is the primary source of calcium and most all soil-less potting mixes already contain lime.

There are OMRI and MSDS chart nutrient breakdowns available for all brands of fertilizers if for some reason the label doesn't include that info. And all the ones I listed above are organic except MG and Dyna Grow. But if using containers then using just organics can be a problem. There is no soil bacteria in the potting mix to break them down into useable nutrients like there is in dirt. That's where compost tea comes in handy.

There are literally 100's of brands of organic supplements available so you have to do some research on the various brands to learn exactly what each contains.

Hope this helps.


    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 9:26PM
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Dave brings great posts. He knows more at this point than I do. But I will bring up one truth. You will get great and knowledge-filled information here, which has helped me greatly, most likely more than any other website save Aggie Horticulture. Based on your post, I hope you remember the value of failing through experimentation.

Love the idea of killing your plant,while remembering how and why you killed it. As well as many other plants that do well, remembering how and why they survived. Reading is great, but do not let that get in the way of the quicker path of learning.

Take care,

    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 10:48PM
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When I was growing in containers, I used regular potting
soil (Kellogg's, I think - a CA company) and Miracle Grow
for Tomatoes. That's it.

I had wonderful results. So good that my teepee style
cages (the ones made by the Slinky Corp) bent over to a
horizontal position.

I would reuse the soil after two years. After the first
year, I'd add some amendment to refresh the organics in
the potting soil. The year after that, it went into the
flower beds. I'm not sure why I chose two years as the
life of potting soil. I didn't know about this forum then
and I know now that I could have gone longer.

Some folks think that MG is the devil incarnate, but I've
used it for 30+ years now and haven't had any problems.
I use the old saying "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".

I've tried a few other fertilizers, but the MG seems to
give me the best results. Of course, that works for me.
You do have to experiment a bit to find what works
for you, your soil, your conditions, etc.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 12:07AM
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I found that the MC miracle grow works great as a mulch, especially for container plants.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 8:04AM
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wow, lots of info here I will need to digest it all. Thanks!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 11:28PM
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