Soil for Tomato Plants

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Old 03-26-12, 12:09 PM
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Question Soil for Tomato Plants

I built a raised bed planter so I could put in some tomato plants. The soil around here, they tell me, is heavy clay, but it's more like concrete! I've tried the last 3 years to grow tomatoes in it and they were terrible.

Now that I have the raised bed planter I'd like to put in soil that tomatoes can grow in. Can I get some suggestions on what soil mixture to put into this box so I can get the same tasty tomatoes my wife's grandfather used to grow!
 
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Old 03-26-12, 01:50 PM
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You would probably have better luck asking your neighbors or people at your local greenhouse who know the area and the soil. You could send a soil sample to your local extension office for suggestions, but IMO if you have heavy clay soil my first inclination would simple be to add some sandy soil to make its consistency lighter and to increase drainage. You probably need to resist the tempation to water the tomatoes too frequently since clay often looks dry on top but is often very wet below. Watering deeply once a week would probably be sufficient. The soil may be lacking certain nutrients, so the soil test will help in that regard. I think calcium and lime are often lacking in heavy soils, but the soil test will tell for sure.
 
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Old 03-26-12, 02:16 PM
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Another thing to consider...many newer tomatoes just don't have the flavor of those sweet, tart, juicy ones you remember. You need to do a little research and find some of the older types. They may be more prone to disease or not be as hardy, but they have the flavor.
 
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Old 03-26-12, 03:08 PM
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Yeah, I tried growing the heirloom tomatoes and they were just as bad as the new ones. I'll ask about the soil at the garden csnter, when they open, they always have such nice looking plants and I turn them into schrubs!

DUH! (slaps self in head) Just had a thought, why I never thought of this before is beyond me! I'll ask the garden place for some of their soil mix they sell, and grow their tomatoes in, instead of trying to buy just topsoil in the 40 lb. bags! They sell their mix and it is probably less expensive then buying it at the Menards, Lowes or Home Depot!
 
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