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Sat Mar 3, 2012, 04:33 PM

Question about tomatoes and soil.

I grow tomatoes in large pots, and I understand that I cannot continuously grow tomatoes in the same soil.

This morning someone who is an expert on gardening told me that I also should not reuse the soil from a pot in which I grew tomatoes. She said that tomatoes deplete the soil so much that it is best to just throw it away.

Does anyone have any experience or expertise about this?

Thanks in advance.

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Reply Question about tomatoes and soil. (Original post)
JDPriestly Mar 2012 OP
Viva_La_Revolution Mar 2012 #1
JDPriestly Mar 2012 #3
NRaleighLiberal Mar 2012 #2
JDPriestly Mar 2012 #4
HopeHoops Mar 2012 #5
JDPriestly Mar 2012 #6

Response to JDPriestly (Original post)

Sat Mar 3, 2012, 04:52 PM

1. Mine goes in the compost

everything I've heard says new dirt every year. I suppose you could mix it 50-50 with finished compost and do ok.

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Response to Viva_La_Revolution (Reply #1)

Sun Mar 4, 2012, 12:46 AM

3. Thanks.

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Response to JDPriestly (Original post)

Sat Mar 3, 2012, 05:03 PM

2. It's not depletion so much - you can always add food - it is the buildup of diseases.

Tomatoes, by the end of the season, can typically suffer from bacterial, tomato spotted, verticillium or Fusarium wilts - spread by fungal spores or insects chewing on the leaves - and that works itself into the soil. And there is no way to fight the bacterial, viral or fungal agent that causes these afflictions.

So I just dump it all into a pile and use it for other pots (greens, flowers, herbs) or in my garden beds.

It isn't a guarantee there would be issues, but certainly a likelihood....I also bleach the pots each year before using them just to be sure.

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Reply #2)

Sun Mar 4, 2012, 12:46 AM

4. Thanks.

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Response to JDPriestly (Original post)

Sun Mar 4, 2012, 10:37 AM

5. Nightshades DO like the same soil. It is important to lightly fertilize them throughout the season.

 

Go light on the nitrogen or you'll get hedges with small fruits. You can get organic "tomato" food at any garden center and it works well for eggplant and peppers as well. I go heavy on potash with the potatoes. I grow most of mine in-ground and we're always flooded with tomatoes. Even after the stalks die off, the damn things keep producing. The most important thing with container growing them is to avoid keeping the feet wet. That leads to blossom-end rot and overall low productivity. In a well-dug raised bed that is rarely a problem.

I can't say I've had a problem with reusing container soil. You still have to mix in some light fertilizer and top dress periodically throughout the growing season.

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Response to HopeHoops (Reply #5)

Sun Mar 4, 2012, 05:39 PM

6. Thanks. I have a shallow raised bed on cement.

I just don't have the space for planting without using containers.

I will follow the advice I have received here.

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