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

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Old May 14, 2017   #1
hockman4357
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Default Local Nursery Supply Potting Mix

Our local Nursery Supply makes their own potting mix with the following ingredients:

Magnolia Farms Potting Mix
1) Fir bark dust
2) Steer manure
3) Pumice
4) Green sand
5) Lime

Unfortunately, I don't know the exact percentages but wondered what y'all think about this for growing container tomatoes. I need to get busy planting in the next couple of weeks, and I am exploring possible potting mix recipes as well as those sold in retail stores. Any specific suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!!

Last edited by hockman4357; May 14, 2017 at 02:45 PM.
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Old May 14, 2017   #2
dmforcier
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Bark dust ?? That doesn't sound encouraging. Fir/Pine bark fines (1/8-1/4") are desirable as the large particle size helps drainage. But "dust" sounds like something that would clog up drainage. The rest are okay depending on percentage.

Have you grabbed a handful? How does it feel? Can you post a picture?
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Old May 14, 2017   #3
hockman4357
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Originally Posted by dmforcier View Post
Bark dust ?? That doesn't sound encouraging. Fir/Pine bark fines (1/8-1/4") are desirable as the large particle size helps drainage. But "dust" sounds like something that would clog up drainage. The rest are okay depending on percentage.

Have you grabbed a handful? How does it feel? Can you post a picture?
I'll pick up a small amount of the potting mix early next week and post a picture. There seem to be many potting mix recipes for growing container tomatoes. If someone has a specific recipe that has yielded excellent results, I sure would appreciate your sharing it with me!
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Old May 14, 2017   #4
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How many containers and how many cubic feet are you looking at.
How much is it a yard and so on.
The lime throws me off big time.
You might already be getting it in your water like me.
Some of these people are way high.
A wee bag of decomposed granite at the nursery is way over priced.
I can get a yard of it for around 35 dollars.
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Old May 16, 2017   #5
MichelleInWASt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hockman4357 View Post
Unfortunately, I don't know the exact percentages...
That right there has also been my biggest frustration. None of them seem to offer that info. I can see why so many folks here either mix their own or bite the bullet and pay the big bucks for the big brand name.
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Old May 16, 2017   #6
hockman4357
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The Magnolia Farms Potting Mix did not look like the right consistency for container tomatoes to me. Back to the drawing board. I grow my tomatoes in 15 gallon black nursery containers. This year I will grow 14 tomato plants with 1 in each container.

I've been researching a couple of Potting Mix recipes as follows:

#1 Al's 5-1-1 Potting Mix

5 parts fine bark mulch
1 part peat moss
1 part course perlite
Dolomitic lime to adjust the pH and add calcium and magnesium. About 1/3 cup per 6 gal mix
A slow release fertilizer with micronutrients per manufacturer instructions.

You need to mix it up and let it sit for a week or two to let the pH adjust.

#2 OLD-INJUNÂS SECRET TO GROWING TOMATOES IN CONTAINERS

1- 2/3 MIRACLE GROW POTTING MIX MIXED WITH 1/3 COW OR CHICKEN MANURE.(BLACK COW OR BLACK HEN)
2- MIX 4 TBLS OF SLOW RELEASE FERTILIZER (12-12-12) TO EACH 5 GAL OF MIX
3- ADD 3 TBLS OF DOLIMITE PER 5 GAL OF MIX
MIX ALL TOGETHER.
4- DRESS AROUND PLANT 6 INCHES FROM STEM WITH 4 TBLS OF SLOW RELEASE FERTILIZER
5- USE 5 GAL CONTAINERS OR LARGER
6- FERTILIZE WITH LIQUID FERTILIZER (12-12-12) EVERY WEEK AT A RATE OF 1/2 TEASPOON PER GALLON OF WATER
7- WATER 1/2 GALLON OF WATER DAILY (BEFORE NOON) PER 5 GAL POT

Both of these Potting Mix recipes can be made from materials readily available in Oregon. Walmart is carrying Greensmix Pine Bark Mulch in 2 cubic foot bags and the texture appears about right for the 5-1-1 mix. The perlite is available in 6 cubic foot bags for $30.

I need to get ready for tomato planting.�� Any suggestions and specific recommendations would be greatly appreciated!!!
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Old May 16, 2017   #7
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Good research. I've used Al's mix, though mine tends more toward 4:2:1 with MGMC Potting Mix in place of peat. It is truly oriented to drain well rather than retain moisture, and while it saved my crop during a long wet spring, it required twice-a-day watering in the dry heat of summer with big pepper bushes. Big toms are really thirsty. 15 gal pots will help a lot. If you're in the rain belt along the coast, the mix will do you very well. If you're on the drier east side, you might try want to test an alternative alongside.

#2 - that's a LOT of manure, and he wants to add more ?? and water on a schedule? I might try his mix in a couple of pots, but I'd be hesitant to carry through with the rest. But others here have more experience with large toms in containers than I. Let's see what they say.
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Old May 16, 2017   #8
hockman4357
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Originally Posted by dmforcier View Post
Good research. I've used Al's mix, though mine tends more toward 4:2:1 with MGMC Potting Mix in place of peat. It is truly oriented to drain well rather than retain moisture, and while it saved my crop during a long wet spring, it required twice-a-day watering in the dry heat of summer with big pepper bushes. Big toms are really thirsty. 15 gal pots will help a lot. If you're in the rain belt along the coast, the mix will do you very well. If you're on the drier east side, you might try want to test an alternative alongside.

#2 - that's a LOT of manure, and he wants to add more ?? and water on a schedule? I might try his mix in a couple of pots, but I'd be hesitant to carry through with the rest. But others here have more experience with large toms in containers than I. Let's see what they say.
I live in Roseburg, OR which is about 2 hours inland from the coast. Typically temps in the Summer run in the 80's and 90's with very little rain. Are you suggesting that your 4:2:1 mix would work better in my neck of the woods than the 5:1:1 mix?
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Old May 16, 2017   #9
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No, I'm saying that they are functionally equivalent, though I would tend more toward the peat-heavy mix in a drier environment. From looking at Google Maps, I'd estimate that you get a lot of rain annually compare to e.g. Bend. Yes your summers may be dry, but what about April and May?
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Old May 16, 2017   #10
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We do indeed generally get a fair amount of rain in April and May and sometimes pretty cold temps. Generally, it is mostly dry from June through September. I generally plant my Toms the last week of May.
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Old May 17, 2017   #11
hockman4357
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I'm really interested in growing my container tomatoes in the 5-1-1 potting mix this year. I'm struggling finding the right Pine Bark Fines. Walmart has bags of Pine Bark Mulch. I have included a picture for the critical eyes of experts. Will this work satisfactorily? I'm really hoping to purchase a product that doesn't require sifting. If this won't work, what product should I look for here in the Pacific Northwest?
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Old May 17, 2017   #12
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That's mulch?? It looks more like chunks of dirt. When you squeeze it in hand, does it hang together?

Just by eyeball, I'd say not appropriate.
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Old May 18, 2017   #13
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Do they have any examples of flowers or vegetables grown in this mix? Could you get a container full for an experiment?

It looks good to me. Well thought out. I wish I could get it here.

Local nurseries here use a municipal waste that may contain sewedge sludge. The landscapers buy it in droves for shrub beds. I bet many homeowners get it for their raised bed too. Yuck!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hockman4357 View Post
Our local Nursery Supply makes their own potting mix with the following ingredients:

Magnolia Farms Potting Mix
1) Fir bark dust
2) Steer manure
3) Pumice
4) Green sand
5) Lime

Unfortunately, I don't know the exact percentages but wondered what y'all think about this for growing container tomatoes. I need to get busy planting in the next couple of weeks, and I am exploring possible potting mix recipes as well as those sold in retail stores. Any specific suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!!
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Old May 18, 2017   #14
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Are you using self watering container?
Because that 5-1-1 mix is way too light for traditional top watering, unless you sit all day at home. You'll just have big problems with ber. For traditional watering bark isn't really needed, as long as you have a coarser peat.
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Old May 18, 2017   #15
hockman4357
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I water my 15 gallon container tomatoes with drip emitters once or twice a day in the Summer just until water runs out the bottom holes.
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