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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 17, 2006   #1
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Parma, OH
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Default What does soiless mean?

Why is soil bad? I thought it was all just dirt with mulch on top to keep the moisture in.

And what is "real topsoil"?

Help a dirt noob out please.
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Old February 17, 2006   #2
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Kevn-Soiless growing medium is what is used in containers for more than one reason. I will give you a couple that come to mind, and lets hope others chime in.

You need to use a light soil because regular soil, garden soil is too heavy and will compact down in the container and thats bad.

You also can carry soil diseases to your container if you use garden soil-thats why a lot of the soiless medium are marked sterilized.

See Spuds formula for his soiless medium in the 5 gallon container thread.
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Old February 17, 2006   #3
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"Soilless" mixes can be composed of peat moss, cocoa fiber, perlite and vermiculite. There are many variations.

One of main uses for these mixes is for seed starting. Ordinary garden soil/dirt often contain pathogens that will kill your seedlings.

Soilless mixes are for the most part sterile; therefore free of the disease carrying pathogens that can cause many problems for seedlings.

I've heard of folks sterilizing their garden dirt by baking it in their oven. I wouldn't bother using this method. The price of seed starter mix is not too hard on the wallet/pocketbook. :wink:

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Old February 19, 2006   #4
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You can get all the soilless mix you want, bagged up, at Wal Mart, Lowe's, Ace, Home Depot, or any place that deals in gardening. You will be amazed at how many bags it will take to fill a bed, then after a year it will naturally compress a little, but that's okay since you can till it up loose again, even though you might have to add some more. Many disagree with me, but I like to have a little natural dirt in my beds. That's what plants grew in for eons, and Mother Nature just has some good stuff in there. I don't use much, but a little. I like green sand, too, but only add a little to the potting whole when I plant. It seems to have some strange power of its own, as well.

Most any bagged mix you can find will work okay. I'm lucky to have a guy here in the junk business who gets in all sorts of stuff. I can get most any type of bagged mix for a dollar a bag. I also have a cotton gin nearby and they have a lot of what they call gin trash, and people here love to grow tomatoes in it. He will bring me a dump truck load for free. Heaven only knows how many yards that is. I can get an 18 wheeler load for $100. I'm lucky to have some pretty good stuff here, very cheap.

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