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

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Old February 22, 2016   #1
encore
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Default garden lime

just picked up some mayville garden lime from menards on the way home from the DRs. don't know if this is the right kind to use for the rain gutter grown system soil mix or not, it's called mayville garden lime zone89-89 quarry lime, whatever that means, lol calcium 22%----magnesium 12%---total neutralizing powder 102%, in terms of calcium carbonate. what ever that means? anyone know what that all means and if that would be fine for the rain gutter grow systen soil mix? thanks---tom
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Old February 23, 2016   #2
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If it says Garden Lime AND you got it in the garden center then there should be no worries.
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Old February 23, 2016   #3
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Garden lime = calcium carbonate.
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Old February 23, 2016   #4
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I was going to start a thread with a question about Garden lime, but thanks, I'll piggyback here. I use it in peat mixes for containers. I understand it's purpose - to reduce the acidity of the mix - especially to help control BER.

Now my question : Do you need to add lime to a peat based mix that will be used for potting up and growing seedlings to the point they are ready to plant out or put into a larger pot? Do you need it when you are not going to grow to the fruit stage in the mix? Does the acidity harm the basic plant at that stage?

Actually, that was three questions, but thanks for the answers.
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Old February 23, 2016   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfollett View Post
I was going to start a thread with a question about Garden lime, but thanks, I'll piggyback here. I use it in peat mixes for containers. I understand it's purpose - to reduce the acidity of the mix - especially to help control BER.

Now my question : Do you need to add lime to a peat based mix that will be used for potting up and growing seedlings to the point they are ready to plant out or put into a larger pot? Do you need it when you are not going to grow to the fruit stage in the mix? Does the acidity harm the basic plant at that stage?

Actually, that was three questions, but thanks for the answers.
Well they wont grow if the pH isn't right.
There I answered all three.

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Old February 23, 2016   #6
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The general rules I follow with PH

Tomatoes like 6.0-6.8 PH
Potatoes like 5.5-6.5 PH
Leafy Veges like 6.5-7.2 PH

All three grow fine in my garden, so that's about all the info I've looked up on those. The reason for adding amendments like lime is to get the preferred PH levels you need.

For 4 years now, I've told myself that I want to plant our potatoes in an area 50' away from our garden where the soil is 5.5PH. And for the forth year, I forgot. I need to see if I can find a few seed potatoes tomorrow to give it a shot.
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Old February 24, 2016   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by encore View Post
just picked up some mayville garden lime from menards on the way home from the DRs. don't know if this is the right kind to use for the rain gutter grown system soil mix or not, it's called mayville garden lime zone89-89 quarry lime, whatever that means, lol calcium 22%----magnesium 12%---total neutralizing powder 102%, in terms of calcium carbonate. what ever that means? anyone know what that all means and if that would be fine for the rain gutter grow systen soil mix? thanks---tom
The main purpose of garden lime is to raise the pH of the soil. Blindly adding garden lime is not a good practice. Only add lime to soil if your pH is too low and you want to raise the pH.

Rain gutter grow system soil mix.... I have no idea what that is, but if you want to raise the pH it will most likely work.
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Old February 24, 2016   #8
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larry hall the creator of the raingutter growing system, got back with me and said that's the exact same lime he uses, so i'm good to go. the soil mix i refer to is what he uses, pretty much--peat---compost---perlite--lime--a bit of epsom salts, and 10-10-10 fertilizer around top edge of bucket. ----tom (thanks for all the responses)

Last edited by encore; February 24, 2016 at 11:21 AM. Reason: forgot something
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Old February 24, 2016   #9
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Well, based on the Ca:Mg ratio - that standard 2:1 - that is likely dolomite limestone.

If you are chasing that golden ratio of 7:1 to 10:1 Ca:Mg - dolomite will never get you there before you end up with too much Mg and locking out K. Ideally, you want your soil to have about 65% calcium...which comes from many different sources outside of your liming amendments.

You are better off going with a more pure calcium carbonate source like oyster shell flour (western US) or aragonite (eastern US). These amendments can impact soils positively for up to 5 years where a standard ag lime or dolomite is often applied yearly to control pH.

Where I live the native soils are sandy loam and therefore tend to leach Mg rather quickly. I offset this by using other amendments like gypsum and sul-po-mag.

Given the media you say you are using, you can assume, 1c of lime per cu ft of peat moss to bring the pH into the proper range.

Last edited by TheUrbanFarmer; February 24, 2016 at 11:38 AM.
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Old February 24, 2016   #10
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I too find lime a bit confusing, not the WHY of using it but the different forms of it. As in....dolomite, fast acting, hydrated, pelleted, powder, etc.

I finally ended up going with Espoma which is listed as dolomite on back of package, it was much more expensive for the amount but I got tired of trying to figure it all out so figured better safe than sorry. I purchased several bags as I am making loads of potting mix this year.
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Old February 24, 2016   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jillian View Post
I too find lime a bit confusing, not the WHY of using it but the different forms of it. As in....dolomite, fast acting, hydrated, pelleted, powder, etc.

I finally ended up going with Espoma which is listed as dolomite on back of package, it was much more expensive for the amount but I got tired of trying to figure it all out so figured better safe than sorry. I purchased several bags as I am making loads of potting mix this year.

I can tell you Hydrated lime is the same thing as slacked lime pickling lime AKA calcium hydroxide and so on.
This is the stuff that will take the skin off of you and also what they use to make hominy.
Makes cement and stucco pliable to a degree.
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Old February 24, 2016   #12
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My plants don't read books, they don't know tomatoes are not supposed to grow in ph 8.4. I won't tell them.

You can come and get all the lime you want.
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Old February 24, 2016   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheUrbanFarmer View Post
Well, based on the Ca:Mg ratio - that standard 2:1 - that is likely dolomite limestone.

If you are chasing that golden ratio of 7:1 to 10:1 Ca:Mg - dolomite will never get you there before you end up with too much Mg and locking out K. Ideally, you want your soil to have about 65% calcium...which comes from many different sources outside of your liming amendments.

You are better off going with a more pure calcium carbonate source like oyster shell flour (western US) or aragonite (eastern US). These amendments can impact soils positively for up to 5 years where a standard ag lime or dolomite is often applied yearly to control pH.

Where I live the native soils are sandy loam and therefore tend to leach Mg rather quickly. I offset this by using other amendments like gypsum and sul-po-mag.

Given the media you say you are using, you can assume, 1c of lime per cu ft of peat moss to bring the pH into the proper range.
Now we're getting somewhere.
This is what people need to look at to understand that ph is not what you are trying for.
You are balancing elements. When this is achieved, pH will go where it needs to be.
You Should not be trying to achieve a pH number and think your good to go when you get the soil to that number and just need to add fertilizer.
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Old February 24, 2016   #14
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In general, I find there are some folks who enjoy doing science experiments as much as growing tomatoes. I get that it could be fun. haha. However, my "common sense" approach to vegetable gardening (and tomatoes) usually works out fine...with a little knowledge/experience mixed in. My seedlings have been growing fine with a quality potting mix or seed starter mix....either one. Part of the fun of doing anything (in my opinion) is getting better. This is where knowledge/experience/science comes in. The journey is the fun!
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Old February 24, 2016   #15
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More often than not, people fail to understand soil as a living ecosystem and think via their inputs they are in control. I suppose with chemical fertilizers that is the case as everything is in a plant available ionic form - but I've never considered that to be a good thing.

Please understand I'm not "preaching" or trying to convert anybody to changing their ways or even stating my methodologies to be superior. I'm merely sharing my understanding and approach to gardening, much like the rest of you.

I value data. I value science. It can confirm my anecdotal observations or obliterate them entirely. Ultimately though, proper science results in higher efficiency of resources. The more efficient my garden becomes, the more return I see on investment.

The plant responds to environmental influences above the soil and sends signals to the roots, which then secrete exudates that control and direct soil biota within the rhizosphere to custom tailor the soil to the plants specific needs...and this includes soil pH.

Much in the same way a plant knows when it's time to begin producing fruit due to seasonal changes, the chemical signals being sent to the roots change. This change in chemicals attracts specific microbiology to the roots and allows for a shift in microbial populations, which directly alters what nutrition the plant is receiving...or essentially, what raw organic material is being "broken down" within the soil system.

It's all highly complex, but is all self-regulated by the plant itself...this is why diversification of soil amendments is highly recommended in an organic system. The more diverse the raw inputs, the more diverse the bacterial population will become. The more diverse the bacterial populations, the more responsive the ecosystem is to various root secretions and therefore, the healthier the plant will ultimately be.

This doesn't even take into consideration the actual chemistry of soil with things like CEC and ensuring the nutrition that becomes available for plant uptake actually stays within the soil and does not leach out... (calcium bentonite is of huge benefit in this regard)

All this is to say I agree with PureHarvest in saying proper pH is merely a direct consequence of a properly amended soil in the first place...

Last edited by TheUrbanFarmer; February 24, 2016 at 08:31 PM.
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