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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 7, 2018   #1
AlittleSalt
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Default Container Mix Recipies

I have been looking up container mix recipes today. These are two examples of the many I found. Your input would be much appreciated. I want to grow tomatoes in 5 gallon buckets.

From the Old Farmer's Almanac https://www.almanac.com/blog/gardeni...n-potting-soil
Basic Container Mix Recipe

Ingredients
1 bucket (2-½ gallons) peat moss
1 bucket (2-½ gallons) vermiculite or perlite
1 half bucket (1-¼ gallons) screened compost or composted cow manure
2 cups fine sand
2 cups pelleted time-release fertilizer
½ cup lime (to counter the acid of peat and keep the pH level near neutral)

From: https://www.planetnatural.com/potting-mix-recipes/

Cornell Soilless Mix (adapted for organic growers*):

  • 1/2 cubic yard peat moss or coconut coir
  • 1/2 cubic yard perlite
  • 10 lbs. bone meal
  • 5 lbs. ground limestone
  • 5 lbs. blood meal
* This soilless mix was developed at Cornell University for commercial growers, but is easily adapted for home use. I have substituted select organic fertilizers in place of synthetic fertilizers.
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Old March 7, 2018   #2
edweather
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I prefer a soilless mix known as 5-1-1. 5 parts pine fines, 1 part course perlite, 1 part peat. Add 1 tablespoon of dolomitic lime per gallon of mix. Have been using it for years and it works great. Not sure we're allowed to link, but if you do a search, you'll get lots of hits.
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Old March 7, 2018   #3
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I grow tomatoes in the ground, although, sometimes a stray one, or two, in containers. I grow all my peppers in containers. They're all old cattle feed tubs. IDK...40 gallon? My mix is dirt. Bought a pickup load of topsoil...added in some leaves, composted manure, and coffee grounds. It's been there for three years. Every spring I "spruce" it up a bit with more leaves, manure, and coffee grounds...and bout a half shovel full of wood ash. The worms love it, and it produces peppers like crazy!

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Old March 7, 2018   #4
pondgardener
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Robert,

Check the link below for some additional information. Post #18 has a link to a presentation pdf that Tania had done and may have some pertinent information as well.

http://www.tomatoville.com/showthread.php?t=31658

I have tried the mix listed below that I clipped from another container growing forum with good results.

I'm a little late in chiming in, but I wanted to experiment before I posted. Now that I've had great results, I'll share my experience. Ray's Earthtainer guide calls for a 3:2:1 mixture of ProMix, bark, and perlite. However, people are constantly asking for home-brew mixes. And to be honest, based on Ray's formula, it couldn't be easier. ProMix is fine, if you want a bagged mix. The only thing it really contributes is a wetting agent, and some mycos. The wetting agent, IMO, is completely unnecessary for a SIP. The mycos can be supplied from ANY good organic fertilizer.

So, based on several sources, the ProMix is roughly 70% peat, and 30% perlite. It is 3 whole parts of the 3:2:1 mixture. So, if I figure what part of the complete mix it is, I find that the 3 parts ProMix translates into 2.1 parts of peat, and .9 parts perlite. That makes the overall mixture 2.1 parts peat, 2 parts bark and 1.9 parts perlite. Or, 2:2:2, which reduced to lowest terms, is a 1:1:1 mixture of peat, bark, and perlite.
How simple is that? And it works extremely well.
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Old March 7, 2018   #5
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Thank you edweather. The 5-1-1 is one I have read about. Linking, I'm not sure about the rules here?

Goodloe, I have always grown in ground too. I also added dried oak and elm leaves for years with excellent results.

However, I now have RKN and Fusarium Wilt race 3 in my soil. That's why I'm trying to find a Mix recipe to grow in 5 gallon buckets. I am new to container growing.

Thank you George. It took me forever to get this post posted as my wife and grandchildren came in to make popcorn for a movie they had to tell me about...for the hundredth time.
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Last edited by AlittleSalt; March 7, 2018 at 09:44 PM. Reason: The last part
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Old March 7, 2018   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pondgardener View Post
Robert,

Check the link below for some additional information. Post #18 has a link to a presentation pdf that Tania had done and may have some pertinent information as well.

http://www.tomatoville.com/showthread.php?t=31658

I have tried the mix listed below that I clipped from another container growing forum with good results.

I'm a little late in chiming in, but I wanted to experiment before I posted. Now that I've had great results, I'll share my experience. Ray's Earthtainer guide calls for a 3:2:1 mixture of ProMix, bark, and perlite. However, people are constantly asking for home-brew mixes. And to be honest, based on Ray's formula, it couldn't be easier. ProMix is fine, if you want a bagged mix. The only thing it really contributes is a wetting agent, and some mycos. The wetting agent, IMO, is completely unnecessary for a SIP. The mycos can be supplied from ANY good organic fertilizer.

So, based on several sources, the ProMix is roughly 70% peat, and 30% perlite. It is 3 whole parts of the 3:2:1 mixture. So, if I figure what part of the complete mix it is, I find that the 3 parts ProMix translates into 2.1 parts of peat, and .9 parts perlite. That makes the overall mixture 2.1 parts peat, 2 parts bark and 1.9 parts perlite. Or, 2:2:2, which reduced to lowest terms, is a 1:1:1 mixture of peat, bark, and perlite.
How simple is that? And it works extremely well.
That's some good reading and info.
The post #18 shared in that thread is a PDF https://app.box.com/v/Tomatoes-in-Containers
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Old March 8, 2018   #7
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What you use should take into consideration how you water them. Using a 5-1-1 mix with manual watering is just asking for poor results. It is for bottom self watering or maybe drip irrigation.
Also be careful with that lime, it is very likely the peat you buy is ph adjusted unless it specifically says it isn't.
A mixture of peat and compost and some perlite is a good mix for manual watering. UK people use compost only with jolly good results as well.
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Old March 8, 2018   #8
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Hey brother, consider this. Use something like Pro Mix, coco, or other media for container growing, then use a fertilizer formula that is tailored for tomatoes. Your results will blow you away if you follow the directions, the taste will be exceptional, yields will be the best you can get too. Professionals do it this way for a reason.

Last edited by AKmark; March 8, 2018 at 04:02 PM.
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Old March 8, 2018   #9
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I did some window shopping today at Walmart (I get a 10% discount there).

PREMIER Sphagnum Peat Moss 2.2 cu. ft. $7.97
I did not find any coconut coir.

Black Kow cow manure 50 lb. 0.5-0.5-0.5 $4.77
Earthgro Organic humus and manure 40 lb. $1.82
Timberline cow manure and compost 40 lb. $1.82

Burpee Vermiculite 8qt. $4.48

Miracle Gro Perlite 8qt. $4.73

I ran out of time to look for time-release fertilizer, blood meal, bone meal, and ground limestone. We didn't look at other stores yet either.
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Old March 8, 2018   #10
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Robert,

Unless you were already aware of it, make sure you use a face mask/respirator. Perlite and vermiculite can have some hazardous dust to breathe in when you dump out the contents to mix.
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Old March 8, 2018   #11
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George, that is a very good and important point to bring up.

In my research, I read sites and saw on videos that a face mask/respirator is the first step in the process of mixing your own mix. For some people, the potting mix itself can be an irritant to the eyes and lungs. Back before 1990, some vermiculite contained asbestos - a site explaining this https://laidbackgardener.blog/tag/is-vermiculite-toxic/
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Old March 9, 2018   #12
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My sister had some major lung issues when doing some repotting with MG potting mix.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlittleSalt View Post
George, that is a very good and important point to bring up.

In my research, I read sites and saw on videos that a face mask/respirator is the first step in the process of mixing your own mix. For some people, the potting mix itself can be an irritant to the eyes and lungs. Back before 1990, some vermiculite contained asbestos - a site explaining this https://laidbackgardener.blog/tag/is-vermiculite-toxic/
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Old March 9, 2018   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlittleSalt View Post
I did not find any coconut coir.
That's probably a good thing. I don't exactly have vast experience with coco but when I used it I had pretty poor results. I think the low pH of peat is the reason peat is so good for easy 'hydro'. Lime has to be added to adjust, and then the result will have a buffering effect, so (in theory) you should have less pH swings.
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Old March 9, 2018   #14
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Don't over complicate it, I didn't.
One thing I noticed in one recipe is vermiculite OR perlite.
This makes them sound like they do the same thing.
They dont.

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Old March 9, 2018   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zeuspaul View Post
My sister had some major lung issues when doing some repotting with MG potting mix.
I sure hope your sister recovered quickly.

When I was younger, I was a mason. I often wondered about the effects of breathing mortar dust while mixing a batch of mortar.
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