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Did I goof?

Posted by urbuyd 8 (Texas) (My Page) on
Wed, Apr 11, 12 at 16:28

Three days ago, wishing to avoid having to till the soil in my backyard, I planted six little tomato plants ("Early Girl"), each in a 15"-17" pot (five terra cotta & one plastic) in a sunny spot. As I was initially filling the pots with the contents of two jumbo bags of Miracle-Gro garden soil, I noticed the message on the back of the bag: "NOT FOR CONTAINERS". Why would that be? Each pot got about an eighth of potting soil too, but did I goof? What dire consequences can I now expect?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Did I goof?

Any type of soil is totally unsuited for containers for various reasons, the main one being is water retention. Read Tapla's posts on the container forum to understand container soil. Consider making your own 5-1-1 mix.

I made this same mistake about 15 years ago on my first attempt to grow tomatoes in containers. I filled it with Black Earth thinking it would be fine. My plants turned black and withered and died. I thought I was giving them good soil. Don't make the same mistake. Best to use a fast draining soil less mix. Good luck!

RE: Did I goof?

MG Garden Soil compacts and drains poorly. Even with ideal conditions if used in containers it results in root rot and a very stressed plant. Stressed plants are much more prone to stunted growth, nutrient deficiency, reduced production, pests, and diseases.

It's Ok to add to an in-ground garden but definitely NOT for containers. Hopefully you will not leave the plants in it in pots, especially such small pots. That size will work for one of the dwarf varieties but not for an indeterminate like Early Girl.


RE: Did I goof?

Yes, you goofed. But I've read posts from people that did the same and their tomatoes grew fine. If it is a problem, your tomatoes are going to grow extremely slowly and will ultimately probably only produce a tomato or two.

You can take your chances with what you bought or get a bag of potting mix instead of the garden soil.

To grow an Early Girl, you are probably going to want a 5-gallon bucket. Not much chance at success with a 12-17" pot except to get them started.

You don't need to till to grow a tomato. Just dig a little hole and stick it in there and water it.

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