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General discussion regarding the techniques and methods used to successfully grow tomato plants in containers.

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Old March 10, 2016   #31
kevrow73
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Default Adding soil in the mix

Last year I made the mistake of adding soil to to my container mix. Through the summer the mix remained moist which I thought was good at the time. My yield of tomatoes was however poorer than normal and on pulling up the plants at the end of the season I found that the root ball on each plant was very small compared to normal.
There’s a thread I’ve read here regarding seedlings needing good drainage. By increasing the drainage properties of the mix and not overwatering, the roots are forced to grow longer to look for water and with that you get a healthier plant.
I’m guessing that the same applies to adult plants, if I’m wrong please correct me, in any case I won’t be making the same mistake again.
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Old March 12, 2016   #32
Ed of Somis
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Kev, many of us have learned things the hard way over the years. Good drainage is paramount in the world of container growing. Native soil should never be used...including a soil that you may think is "sandy". A good quality "potting mix" is what you want...if you are not making your own. "Moisture control" type potting mixes are not good (unless you are planting a hanging basket or the like)....that will dry out quickly. Keep in mind...trying to salvage a bad Non-draining mix by adding things like perlite, etc...is a losing proposition. A little trick I use (if I am lazy and don't want to make my custom mix) is add 1/3 cactus mix to my purchased quality potting mix. Hope this helps...
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Old March 13, 2016   #33
kevrow73
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Default Learning from mistakes

Thanks for the advice Ed, that’s the beauty of gardening you learn from your mistakes and there’s always next Year. I’ve struck it lucky this time with a very good deal on some good quality potting compost.
I'll keep your cactus mix in mind but I have to admit that I had never heard of it before. As you live in California my initial thought was that they were some type of granules derived from a dead cactus, doesn’t a cactus store water? And what good is it to me no deserts in the UK. Two minutes later with the aid of Google DOH!! Oh Yea I get what you mean.
I can only add, I’m still learning and I’ve never tried to grow a cactus, well not yet.
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Old April 27, 2016   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sodak View Post
I use homemade "Mel's mix" from the square foot gardening guru.
I found sq ft too jungle like but like the mix.
Basically 1/3 of each of the following:
Perlite
Peat Moss
Compost manure - differing manufacturers of this.

Dump similar amounts of each by volume on a tarp and flip back and forth several times. Then load your pots or raised beds.
I use Texas Tomato food with it and it works well.
Bless your heart for mentioning the tarp method.

I was so tired of mixing in a tub and kept wishing for a small cement mixer. The tarp is much more convenient and a great way to mix many pots worth of soil in one go. Too heavy for me to flip a lot of soil at once but with the flat side of a rake to spread it out and then flip the edges inward it worked great and my old shoulders don't hurt as much as they would mixing soil the old way.
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Old April 28, 2016   #35
kevrow73
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I sieve the raw ingredients through a steel mesh placed on top of a wheelbarrow. You can then use the back of a spade to brake up larger peaces such as manure or compacted peat moss.
This produces a very light mix that you can shovel over again to mix even further if you need to. It works well for me and can be done with very little effort.
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Old April 28, 2016   #36
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I'm looking into a small, used cement mixer to mix mine.
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Old April 28, 2016   #37
Ed of Somis
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Kev...the cactus mix is simply a commercial potting mix that is very light and drains extremely well. Added to conventional potting mixes...it enhances the fluffy/light mix that we are looking for.
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Old April 28, 2016   #38
My Foot Smells
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I read through entire thread and no mention of sand? Drainage and sand go hand in hand....
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Old April 28, 2016   #39
fonseca
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Sand (builders or sharp) is inexpensive and works great, but it is also very heavy. If my 10 gallon growbags had 1/4 to 1/3 sand in the mix, I wouldn't be able to pick them up to relocate, and remixing each year would be more backbreaking than it already is.

I do use sand in my 1 gallon herb containers, the weight is useful to keep them from being blown over.
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Old March 8, 2020   #40
hornstrider
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Default What is the right recipe/mix for tomatoes in containers?

We are in Central Texas and my daughter-in-law is going to plant some of my tomato plants in a 2X8 raised cedar planter box. She would like to know what advice you have for potting mix, mix recipes, and anything special you recommend for growing tomatoes in containers.
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