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Should I try planing in the ground?

Posted by shodorov 7 (My Page) on
Thu, Feb 27, 14 at 17:49

I have been growing tomatoes with varying levels of success (mostly due to seed, seedling source) for 5-6 years. I am up to 6 DIY "Earthboxes" made of 18gallon storage bins.

I place the containers in the same spot in my yard and every year I get "volunteer" plants sprouting up... I used to always remove them but last year I left them alone and they did much better than my containers every did (I blame that on my april vacation and an overzealous watering by my mother in law ;) )

SO: I can block off a section of my smallish yard with landscape timber, mix in some composted manure from home depot and try to plan seedlings in that... but the question is - should I?

everything I read was always about tomatoes go in containers... I never even tried to grow them in ground

your opinions please.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Should I try planing in the ground?

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Thu, Feb 27, 14 at 19:51

everything I read was always about tomatoes go in containers

If i understand your question correctly then the vast majority of tomato plants are grown in the ground. Only a small number are grown in containers.

But that isn't the same thing as direct seeding them into the ground. They are first started indoor in small containers (cell packs, small cups, etc.) and then transplanted into the ground after they are 6-8" tall and all threat of frost has passed.

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: Growing tomatoes from seed FAQ


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RE: Should I try planing in the ground?

by "volunteer" I mean seedlings from tomatoes that fell to the ground the year before and I never cleaned up. I always start indoors under lights and then transplant to my containers but Im thinking I should just plant them directly in the ground...

The question is, why dont more people do this? why do I see so many containers on the ground and not plants int he ground...


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RE: Should I try planing in the ground?

If you have a long growing season, you can sow them outside , in the garden bed or in container. I have done it, back in GA. No problems. Also have got a lot of volunteers.


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RE: Should I try planing in the ground?

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 28, 14 at 10:06

I always start indoors under lights and then transplant to my containers but Im thinking I should just plant them directly in the ground...

The question is, why dont more people do this? why do I see so many containers on the ground and not plants int he ground...

I can't say why you see so many in containers around you. It must be a local thing. Around here I'd never see a tomato plant in a container but there are huge gardens full of them.

Even the big majority of the questions posted on this forum are about tomato plants growing in the ground, not in containers.

And you can bet that commercial tomato growers sure don't grow them in containers. :)

Dave


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RE: Should I try planing in the ground?

  • Posted by qaguy Sunset 21/LosAngeles (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 28, 14 at 20:07

Go ahead and plant them in the ground. You'll be amazed
at the results.

I haven't the foggiest idea why you see so many container
grown plants. Have you asked these folks why. Maybe
they know something you don't?

If you ask, come back with their reasoning. I'm curious.
We may be able to help fix a local problem.


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RE: Should I try planing in the ground?

The soil around here is pretty clayish and is kind of high in salt but I guess Ill give it a try anyhow!

whats the opinion of amending with composted manure?

I have tomatotone as well, should I use that in the garden or stick with using it in the containers only?

thanks


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RE: Should I try planing in the ground?

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 28, 14 at 22:39

Plants in the ground still need to be fed and Tomato Tone is fine for that. You just don't have to feed as often as you do in containers.

As for composted manures, sure within reason and as long as it has been well composted. It is recommended that it be added to the soil no later than 90-120 days before harvest and at least 30 days before planting. So most of us who use it apply it and till it in 4-6 weeks prior to planting and then again in the fall after the crops are harvested.

Dave


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RE: Should I try planing in the ground?

The soil around here is pretty clayish and is kind of high in salt but I guess Ill give it a try anyhow!
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
What you can do is to mix the potting soil that you were going to use in container, in the the ground hole and plant your tomato. That should take care of clay soil. Even a 50/50 potting mix/garden soil should do much better than just planting in pot. I would only plant in pots IFF I didn't have garden spot. In Ground planting is much better for plants and it is much easier to take care of them as far as watering and fertilizing are concerned. .


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RE: Should I try planing in the ground?

  • Posted by qaguy Sunset 21/LosAngeles (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 1, 14 at 16:22

I have caliche soil which is also heavy in clay. Add your
compost and as much other organic matter as you can.

I've dug in grass clippings for years and it helps a lot. So
does coffee grounds.

I use grass clippings for mulch during the season and dig it
in after the tomato season ends. The clippings as mulch
helps keep moisture in your clayish soil (which, like mine,
should dry out very quickly).


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RE: Should I try planing in the ground?

Why not build some raised beds? That way you can fill them with a perfect soil mix of compost, peat, sand, soil, etc. My backyard is a mix of sand, clay and gravel. Without my 3'x8' raised beds, I couldn't grow anything. And your plants will never drown in heavy rains with a raised bed. Think of them as just big containers.


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RE: Should I try planing in the ground?

I agree with yardenman. Raised bed is life savor for plant where you get a lot of rain and/or your soil has poor drainage. With an established soil/garden, raising it 8 + inches will be enough. 12" will be ideal, I think.


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RE: Should I try planing in the ground?

I was thinking of raising a bed with lanscaping lumber...

what should I fill it with? does normal homedepot garden soil + composted manure work ok, or should I use potting mix in the bed with tomatotone instead (just like my containers)?


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RE: Should I try planing in the ground?

You say that the ones in the ground are doing much better. If so, then before you do anything to the soil, why don't you see how the tomatoes grow without any "help?"

One reason to avoid growing tomatoes in the ground is gophers. If you have gophers where you are, that is something that you will need to address in some fashion.

--McKenzie


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RE: Should I try planing in the ground?

If you decide to make raised bed, over and above your existing garden, 6 -8" on top of it should be enough.

What to fill it with ? It depends how big an area you want to raise. Sure, bagged stuff (Garden soil + compost) from HD should be fine. But if you want to make, for example, over 100 sqr-ft raised bed, you are better off to buy the stuff in bulk, in cubic yard. A good garden mix (soil + compost) cost around $40./Cu.yrd.


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RE: Should I try planing in the ground?

  • Posted by qaguy Sunset 21/LosAngeles (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 3, 14 at 0:49

And if you do import stuff, make sure it's well incorporated
into your existing soil. A spading fork is an excellent tool
for this sort of thing. Or a rototiller if it's that large an area.

If you don't get them well mixed, you could end up with a
boundary layer between the two types of soil. That's not
a good thing. It can cause problems with water pooling
and bad root penetration.

I don't know your location, but here in SoCal there's a
product called Kellogg's AMEND. Its supposedly aimed
at clay soil. I used a lot of it (well incorporated with the
native soil of course) and my tomatoes grow like
wildfire.


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RE: Should I try planing in the ground?

Plant-based compost may be better than animal manure where the soil is high in salts. Salt can build up over years of planting. If you have a defined bed at least a little above grade, salt may accumulate where the soil level is the highest (you can remove some of it). Try not to make the highest soil level where the plants are.


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