Tomato plant in a pot

I had an extra seedling this year that looked pretty healthy, so I put some stones in a pot (it is a big pot and I didn't have enough spare dirt to fill it, so I put eight or ten inches of dirt on top of the stones and transplanted the seedling to the dirt.
The problem is that the water runs through the dirt and stones and out the hole in the bottom of the pot, so every day the plant, while it has been growing well, loses the structure of the leaves (it almost looks dead) until I water it, when it regains its vitality and looks healthy until the next day. And the early maturing tomatoes have rather advanced end stage rot.
So I am looking for a way to solve the watering problem for next year. I am thinking of removing the stones and filling the whole pot with good dirt, and burying a bowl at the bottom of the pot, reasoning that when I water, some water will filter into the bowl and keep the plant happy. I've been told that standing water in the bottom of the pot is not a good idea, but I grow my seedlings in dirt over a tray of water, and they grow extensive roots in the water.
We are in a moderate climate, subject to freezing. The last vortex was brutal here, killing many plants and trees (all the peach trees, for example, were killed). But our garden seems to have survived. I had an arborist look at my sweet cherry tree; I wanted it pruned, but he recommended cutting it down. I pruned it myself (it is no longer a pretty tree) and it survived. providing a bumper crop. Our pie cherries also produced well, as did the strawberries and blueberries. The vegetables have struggled, possibly because we had a lot of rain, so we don't have ripe tomatoes yet, but plenty of beans, and the corn is within days of being ready.
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On 9/10/2015 7:53 AM, Not@home wrote:

DO NOT block water from draining out of the pot. The soil will get too soggy, and the plant will die.
Blend your own potting mix per my do-it-yourself recipe at <http://www.rossde.com/garden/garden_potting_mix.html . This mix will drain well but also remain moist. Some commercial potting mixes seem to "lock up" moisture as they start to dry; my recipe gives a mix that makes its moisture available to plant roots until it is almost dust-dry.
For tomatoes, use only 2/3 of the indicated amount of blood meal; nitrogen promotes growth at the expense of flowering and fruiting. Add a little extra bone meal; phosphorus promotes flowering and fruiting.
Rain? What is rain?
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David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean, see
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On Thursday, September 10, 2015 at 7:53:55 AM UTC-7, Not@home wrote:

Honestly don't see the problem. Put a big saucer under the pot so the runoff from your watering method will be saved.
Your idea of removing the stones and replacing with "good dirt" is a winner. Follow up with a big capacity saucer underneath and you should be home free.
Occam's Razor...
HB
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On 9/10/2015 10:53 AM, Not@home wrote:

Deer and shade have forced me to planting my tomatoes in pots.
Have to water frequently but while pots drain, there is a catch container underneath and as long as there is water in it, I figure it can wick to roots.
Also sounds like you have blossom end rot caused by lack of calcium. Every year I mix a handful of limestone with dirt in the pot.
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Frank wrote:

Never heard of a fence?!?!?
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On 9/10/2015 4:44 PM, Brooklyn1 wrote:

You left "shade" out of my reply.
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I grow just about all my veggies in tubs.
You need good size ones, such as folks use to plant patio evergreens. Decide carefully where you want it to be, as they are quite heavy to move around after they are filled.
Make sure there are drainage holes (some tubs some with them merely indicated in the plastic and need to be drilled out) and layer the bottom of the pot with stones or broken crockery to provide drainage.
You can use garden soil if yours is in decent shape, or create a mix, or buy a bag or two from a big box store. Use common sense, tweak it a bit with some compost or other decent organics.
Insofar as preventing blossom end rot - well, that can certainly be calcium deficiency, or it can be the variety of tomato you are growing, also. All my tubs have the same soil mix. I had a hard time with a couple of new-to-me heirlooms this year that got blossom rot. None of the other pots suffered, so I tend to believe some varieties are more susceptible. Live and learn.
http://i59.tinypic.com/2yoyjjk.jpg
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On 9/11/2015 7:45 AM, Boron Elgar wrote:

Pots look like mine and I do what you do.
Lot of tomatoes and cucumbers this year except wet spring may have led to more fungus. My tomato plants pooped out early as did others I know.
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Boron Elgar wrote:

Tubs will do nothing to protect plants from foraging deer unless fenced, in fact raised plants make browsing more comfortable for deer... you obviously have no deer.

There are planter dollies available at low cost or it's easy to make ones own.

Plastic tubs don't permit air to reach roots, use unglazed pottery or wooden containers. It's very easy to build ones own wooden tubs (cubic or rectangular) and attach casters/wheels at each corner I much prefer wooden planters, large plastic and pottery tends to crack, not only from the weight of wet soil but more from the pressure exerted be expanding roots. When constructing wooden planters leave a gap between boards to allow for expansion and for air to reach roots. Cedar privacy fencing lumber makes great planters, is reasonably priced, and won't rot for many years.

Do not place plants close to a wall that receives direct sun or the plants will cook.
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On 9/10/2015 3:11 PM, Frank wrote:

Water stress (periods of too dry) does it, too.
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On 2015-09-10 14:53:48 +0000, Not@home said:

Improve water retention while still promoting good drainage with appropriate soil amendments. Coir fiber is great. Vermiculite and perlite are helpful and not prohibitively expensive if bought in bulk. Aged manure and/or organic composts in the proper amounts are nice. Also, always apply a heavy layer of non-nutritive organic mulch atop the soil to reduce evaporative loss and prevent roots overheating, and avoid using dark-colored pots.
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On 2015-09-10 20:13:21 +0000, Amos Nomore said:

5-10% playsand or other fine washed sand by volume also helps. Unaltered bentonite clay can also be good when added to well-draining soil in small quantities - but never combine with sandy soils.
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On 11/09/2015 6:13 AM, Amos Nomore wrote:

Drat. I should have read all of the thread before posting my response. It seems you and I have given advice that is almost the same.
I love coir and would join a fan club to promote and support it's use. I even use it in my garden beds to lighten up very heavy soil when I don't have enough well rotted cow poo.
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On 11/09/2015 12:53 AM, Not@home wrote:

Wow. Why didn't you use broken up polystyrene boxes rather than rocks? Moving posts with rocks in the bottom must be interesting.
But to your question... You use the word "dirt", not "soil" which I find odd so am wondering what it is you have used.
8 or 10 inches of soil in the top of a big pot doesn't sound like enough soil TMWOT. I'd be using a greater depth than that and I'd use either a good quality potting mix to which I'd added seed raising mix (it fills in thelarge gaps in the 'good quality' potting mix that is for sale here. To that I'd add also coir and some well rotted bulky animal manure (horse/cow/elephant) and/or leaf mould or use home made compost with the addition of those other ingredients. I'd also put mulch on the top of the pot and try to put the pot where it got shade in the afternoon so the roots didnt'cook in the afternoon heat. I wouldn't let it sit in water but try to make sure the mix the plant grew in was water retentive but not evaporating and/or baking.
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On 9/10/2015 10:53 AM, Not@home wrote:

I'd say that if you have the time to water twice a day and tend the plants in ordinary pots of any sort, more power to you. If, on the other hand, you just want to grow tomatoes in a container that doesn't tie you down so much you need to either buy something like an 'Earth Box' or simply make your own. I do the latter. A planter made from a 5-gallon plastic bucket and a few bits of PVC pipe and sheet plastic can be made in an hour or so if you are handy and have tools available. It holds enough planting mix to actually grow a determinant tomato plant such as 'Patio' and it largely self-waters so that it needs attention only every few days. I put the divider in mine between 1/4 and 1/3 up from the bottom; higher gives more water capacity and lower gives more room for roots.
Example: http://squarepennies.com/2012/06/diy-earth-boxes-from-5-gallon-buckets.html
Definitely stick with a determinant variety since trying to support an indeterminant in a container is nearly impossible to do well.
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On 9/15/2015 2:31 PM, John McGaw wrote:

BTW: I don't use the exact method shown in the link. Mine uses a single bucket with a solid plastic divider to separate the soil from the water chamber but the theory is the same no matter how you do it. Mine is just cheaper and lighter but I have a full shop to fabricate the plastic bits in and many folks don't.
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wrote:

Veggies in tubs rarely need watering twice a day and the earth box is not deep enough for decent tomatoes, as well as requiring water as often as tubs filled with soil.
Been there, done that.
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On 9/15/2015 3:43 PM, Boron Elgar wrote:

I've been there and done that too and I get tomatoes every year from my containers with very little effort expended. The OP's original complaint was that water was simply running through the pot and that would probably mean frequent watering if soil moisture is to be maintained.
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On 9/15/2015 1:09 PM, John McGaw wrote:

Much depends on the size of the pot and the charateristics of the potting mix. I have dwarf citrus in 22-inch pots that get watered twice each week. I get more lemons than anyone could use, and I do not know what to do with all the kumquats. They are planted in home-made potting mix that I cited earlier in this thread.
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David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean, see
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