I need the best soil for tomatoes in pots

I am in a rent house so I don't plant anything in the ground, its all in pots. I am in zone 10. Last spring (EARLY) I planted a tomato(a variety that others are growing here with excellent results) in a pot. Had full sun. Had plenty of drainage holes, volcanic rock at the bottom. The tomato plant grew only so-so. I don't think it was anywhere near the size/foliage spread of one planted in in a garden. This pot actually is a large galvanized wash tub, so the plant sure had more than enough room. I used a mix...some sand, but mostly Miracle-Gro potting soil. At the price of Miracle-Gro, it should be THE BEST, but the plant only produced three or four fruit. There are lots of honeybees around. I thought that maybe it was just that tomatoes don't do well/produce much fruit when potted...however a relative of mine said that he once grew tomatoes in pots, and they produced lots of fruit. SO I guess I don't have the right soil or fertilizers. I watered them ocassionally, as all the potted plant, with MIracle-Gro solution. What did I do wrong, or is there some better soil I can put in the container?
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Zone 10, full sun and a metal container? It's just a guess but I bet those roots fried. If the plant had to keep repairing roots, it wouldn't have much energy to produce fruit.

How much did you water it? Someone told me that tomatoes in containers can use up to a gallon of water a day.
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I agree with everything except the word "metal". *ALL* containers will be troublesome once the soil reaches a certain temperature. They need to be shaded somehow, and, as you said, they need lots of water.
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Paint them white.
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Hey, talking about soil for tomatoes...
Someone gave me one of those little Grape Tomato kits that come with seeds, hanging pot and soil and the soil was a little brick of Coconut Fiber which expands in water. They swear this fiber "holds water for less frequent watering" and is "a new, environmentally friendly growing medium for all your indoor, gardening and potting uses".
It's from this company: http://www.triumphplant.com/html/soil_less_sensation.html
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I had amazing success with potted cherry tomato plants using packaged Garden Soil, plastic pots & tons of water.
I agree with FragileWarrior that the metal container wasn't the best choice in full sun. Our tomatoes, both container-grown and ground-planted require thorough waterings every day to thrive.
--
Tara


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FIrst, zone 10 doesnt have to be hot. its a cold hardinesss number, only, could vary from SF to SoCal coastal, to AZ to FLA . all different summers. Dont think it was the container. I have used galvanized tubs and Im in zone 9 and our summers have over 100o days and galvanized tubs were not as hot for roots as dark plastic. Theyre shiny and reflect the heat, I would think.
Soil/water: Most potting soil types are very sandy, if you added sand, the drainage could have been too quick. As FW and sc stated, water could have been an issue, particularly if you watered 'occasionally' Did you check the dryness by digging down about 2 inches to see if it was dry? Toms would need more water than other smaller potted plants. I know all the sources say, don't use garden soil, but I have found that my garden soil works 100 times better than purchased soil. As long as it isn't clay. ( note: I dont care for Mir Gro, Its not the BEST to me) To keep the soil evenly moist, use a mulch on the surface, and water regularly. Did you water until the water ran out of the holes?
Fertilizer. You may have used too much fert. Most purchased soil now has fert already in it. ( I don't like that). Mir. Gro is usually very high in Nitrogen. When tomatoes are really well fertilized, they sit back and say, " I am so well fed I will live forever. I don't need to produce any fruit." So use less fert and dilute it more than the package says.
I hope you get a better crop this year. Emilie
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wrote:

I agree completley with Emilie. I would rather use some soil from my garden mixed with some compost than to use all purchased soil. Potting soil may work well for annuals, but is not the best for veggies. I prefer to add fertilizer as needed during the growing season. I usually use Miracle Grow, sparingly. That soil that you used last year is probably a good choice for this year. Plant the tomatoes back into the same soil and cover with some mulch to keep in moisture. I think you will be more pleased this year.
DP

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Miracle Gro potting soil isn't very sandy at all, its mostly dark humus. that's why I thought it might be good to add some sand and help drainage. It gets up to about 98 deg here in summer. THe galvanized container gets full sun. By the end of June all tomatoes will start dying from the heat (for everybody). So maybe some partial shade would help? ALso I will definitely mulch it thickly and water every day this year. thanks, geronimo

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Sand will not address the heat issue. You need to find a way to shade THE POTS, but not THE PLANTS. The simplest way would be to set up a screen using burlap, available in rolls at real garden centers. Not pretty, but cheap and easy to manage. Another way would be to put the plants where the pots will be shaded by low shrubs, patio furniture, etc.
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I have good luck with any good potting mix. What is even better is a good growers mix. You want a loose mix. One year I used regular garden soil and it turnd into hard pan(much like cement) I agree that sand made your water rush through the soil so quickly the roots probably never had a chance to take up the water and plant nutrients. I have had great success growing tomatoes in containers.
I also find the small cherry types do well,any small size tomato like Roma , or small salad size tomatoes do well,forget the large beefsteak they do not do well.
It is true too much nitrogen will stimulate a tomato to produce too much foliage at the expense of fruit production. Look at the fertilizer numbers on your plant fertilizer label. The first number is the Nitrogen number,over 15 is too high. the second number is the one that stimulates root growth, fruit and flower production (that is good if it is 30 or higher)the last number in the formulation is the potash and should also be low or all you get is root production.
Instead of granular fertilizers use the water soluble fertilizers designed especially for tomatoes. Schultz Plus,Miracle,even Walmart and lesser knowns make a formulation specifically for tomatoes and fruiting plants. The label will have directions for feeding plants either every 14 days or for daily watering. I personally lightly feed container tomatoes every 7th watering. First give the soil a good drenching with plain water,this helps saturate the soil well to prepare it for feeding, then water again with the feeding solution.
Plants in containers on hot days may require watering sometimes twice per day on a really hot day.
Do your tomatoes get at least 5-6 hours of sun per day? They require it to produce well. Bees that pollenate dislike really hot weather. Last summer was a real scorcher nationwide,I noticed the bees were not as active on the days of high temps. I noticed them working early in the day and disappearing when it got really hot.
Good luck with your garden this year.
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Along with nitrogen based fertilizers, tomatoes are calcium hogs. Several fertilizers/tomato foods have calcium, or you can use bonemeal (which is a more organic approach, and usually is purchased in bulk). However, if you aren't in the mood to shell out a few bucks, save your egg shells and steep them in boiling water. Let 'em sit for a few hours, strain out the chunks/shells, and then use that water on your 'maters. This creates a 'calcium brine,' though the percentage of calcium is low, repeated waterings with this formulation are both effective and cheap.
Bueno Suerte.
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geronimo wrote:

Hi a Nursery pot of 10 gallon size with 2 parts miracle grow and one part perlite and regular feedings of Miracle grow seems to be indicated here. Tomatoes need drainage.
They don't like wet feet. Place the plant in a south facing spot which should give it some needed heat. Mind that it won't set fruit over 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Derryl Horticulturist

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cocoly granular water soluble fertilizer is batter used in tomato ,I used it and the effect is good .I never see so big tomato. you can try it .
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On 4/28/2015 12:37 AM, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Use my recipe for do-it-yourself potting mix at <http://www.rossde.com/garden/garden_potting_mix.html . For tomatoes, use only a single handful of blood meal and increase the bone meal by a handful. The blood meal is nitrogen, which promotes leaves at the expense of flowers and fruit. The bone meal is phosphorus, which promotes flowers and fruit. Do not forget the Epsom salts, which is magnesium sulfate and which promotes additional shoots. Also include some compost, which contains the soil bacteria that will make the nutrients available to the tomato roots.
--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean, see
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On Monday, March 5, 2007 at 7:34:06 AM UTC-8, geronimo wrote:

Dunno if this has been covered, but did you provide DRAINAGE?
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On 4/28/2015 3:03 PM, Hypatia Nachshon wrote:

Now I see why I could not find the original message. It was posted 8 years ago. I suspect Cocoly -- a Chinese fertilizer company -- has been trolling for the purpose of injecting spam. Cocoly is now in my filter for rejection of messages.
--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean, see
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On Tuesday, April 28, 2015 at 3:58:41 PM UTC-7, David E. Ross wrote:

Dern it, why didn't I notice the 2007 date! Good detective work, David.
It should have been obvious, come to think of it, that anyone touting Miracle Gro SOIL!!!! was a troll.
HB
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rec.gardens:

I wouldn't waste the electrons trying to filter them. They will surely never return.
At least we got your potting soil recipe out of it. That made it all worthwhile.
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Once upon a time on usenet Hypatia Nachshon wrote:

So *there's* the original post above yours. :-)
FWIW honey bees won't do any good when it comes to tomatoes. Bumble bees are far and away the best pollinators of tomatoes, the need to be 'buzz-pollinated'. All of the commercial growers here with their acres of glass houses use only bumble bees.
--
Shaun.

"Humans will have advanced a long, long, way when religious belief has a
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