Hey, there, sugar donuts! Today, I’d like to draw your attention to a comment left on this post by The Other Girl:
Hi Gen! As I prepare to plant my tomatoes, I have to ask what you use as a growing medium in your pots? One could spend a small fortune on potting soil and a lot of the commercial mix has chemical fertilizers added – something I’m guessing you shy away from.
This is a great question that I’ve gotten multiple times via my Twitter, text, and private message.
Seriously, people, as I mentioned here, you have nothing to lose by leaving these messages as public comments. The Gen Person will not allow anyone to tease you on Her Almighty Comment Board!
I answered The Other Girl’s question in the comments section, but I’d like to post it for you here. It includes a basic and relatively inexpensive recipe for a homemade tomato mix, should you not be into expensive pre-made mixes or some of the involved processes I get myself into. And I get myself into a lot of involved processes ’round here.
Here’s my answer:
Hi, The Other Girl!
If you’re buying a ready-to-use potting mix, I like the ones by Happy Frog and Fox Farm’s Ocean Forest Blend (both are, yes, pretty pricey). The Ocean Forest has been giving me GREAT results…it’s natural, with organic plant food materials in the mix, along with microrhizae (a beneficial fungus) that colonizes along the plant’s root structure and aids it in nutrient uptake. This year I’m really big on symbiotic relationships and beneficial bugs, so I’d try that if you’re looking for a ready-made thing. In some of my larger containers and the raised beds I built for my mother, I made a layered mix that turned out very well. It was a layer of pine straw (acidifier, soil lightener, drainage, etc.), then “organic” cow manure (well-rotted), then a light and fluffy very basic soil mix, with healthy amounts of bone meal, blood meal, and microrhizae mix turned into it (Espoma is a good brand for these). Then I repeated the layers and topped the whole thing with more straw for mulch. Put your stakes/cages in, dig your hole, crumble some eggshells into the bottom, and put in your plant, with a few of the bottom sets of leaves under the soil line. Then fill and firm the planting hole, make a mix of epsom salts and lukewarm water, and water the tomato thoroughly. The tomatoes I’m putting through this process are LOVING it. Every day they look bigger. And that’s saying a lot, consider the storming and fluctuating temps we’ve had.
Hope that helps, and keep me posted! Let me know if I can help with anything else!
So while you can make it more complicated than that, this is a great and simple way to start your tomato plants off right. So they can grow healthy and strong and eat their metal cages and then cause you to have fear feelings.
I like having fear feelings caused by overzealous tomato plants. But that’s just who I am these days.
What are your tomato secrets? Are there any super special soil recipes floating around out there? You KNOW how I feel about sharing recipes…