Best commercial potting mix for tomatoes 101- Top potting soil for tomato

Best commercial potting mix for tomatoes- Top potting soil for tomato

Tomatoes are one of the most popular fruits in the world and with good reason. They are delicious and versatile, and you can use them in a variety of dishes. However, choosing the right potting mix for tomatoes can be tricky. So it is obvious that you think, which is the best commercial potting mix for growing tomatoes?
With hundreds of different potting mixes available, choosing one that is right for you can be challenging.
Here, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to choosing the best commercial potting mix for tomatoes.

Read on to find out more about potting mixes, as there are a variety of different potting mixes available to choose from. Depending on what you are growing, you may be looking for a potting mix that is specially formulated for tomatoes, herbs, or vegetables.

Whatever type of farm potting soil you choose, it is vital that you choose an organic one to ensure that you are getting the best possible results. The best organic potting mix is made of organic materials. These materials include things like compost, manure, mulch, and vermiculite. It is important to make sure that your potting mix has the right amount of moisture as well.

Best commercial potting mix for tomatoes 101

Here is the list of essential ingredients for tomato plants while choosing the best potting mix for tomatoes-

Acidic soil

Tomatoes, for example, flourish on soil with a slightly acidic pH. Other herbs or fruits, on the other hand, grow best in neutral soil.

Peat Moss/Sphagnum moss for tomatoes

Sphagnum moss and peat moss are two different materials that are commonly combined for additional nutrients.
Sphagnum is a living moss that grows on the surface of marshes. Sphagnum moss has a neutral pH. The moss is marketed alone or in combination with other organic components to aerate the soil after drying.

Peat moss is a form of dead moss collected from the bottoms of marshes that are high in nutrients and similar to compost. Peat moss is nutrient-dense and can take hundreds or thousands of years to grow.
This chemical causes the pH to increase to a more acidic level. It improves moisture retention when paired with sandy soil. It promotes soil aeration when coupled with clay soil, resulting in loose soil.

Earthworm castings help in better growth of tomatoes

Earthworm castings, also known as vermicast, are earthworms’ rich waste. This nutrient-dense organic fertilizer not only improves soil fertility but also aerates potting mixes, improving drainage and moisture retention.

Coconut fiber for your tomatoes

Coconut fiber, a more environmentally friendly alternative to peat moss, exhibits similar properties as peat moss. It aerates the soil in the garden, allowing it to drain while simultaneously enhancing water retention. When added to organic soil, this material will balance the pH levels of moderately acidic soil.

Alfalfa meal is essential for tomatoes

Alfalfa gives essential nutrients to the soil, such as vitamin A, phosphate, nitrogen, and potassium. It is frequently supplied in the form of pellets, which may be easily combined with organic potting soil for container plants or raised beds.

Dolomite Lime is another requirement for tomatoes

Dolomite lime is a fertilizer that provides calcium and magnesium carbonate while also correcting the pH of the soil. This should be used only if no other organic fertilizers, such as those listed above, are used because too much dolomite lime may be hazardous to tomatoes, which are like balanced soil.

choosing the best potting mix for tomatoes

List of best commercial potting soil mix for tomatoes

Miracle-Gro Potting Mix for tomatoes

Miracle-Gro Potting Soil is perfect for tomatoes due to its lightweight composition, which allows for proper drainage of potted plants. It has an NPK ratio of 0.21-0.11-0.16 and can feed your plants for up to six months. That alone sets it apart from conventional potting mixtures.

This potting mix contains peat, compost, and sphagnum peat moss, as well as perlite and a wetting agent, and is created from processed forest products. It may be used both inside and outside the garden:
The majority of gardeners use Miracle-Gro Potting Mix because it contains plant food, which is essential for reducing plant shock when repotting tomatoes.

The components of the good potting mixes also encourage good drainage, which is necessary for tomato root development and root rot prevention. It also has no pests. Easily find this potting soil mix on amazon.

Miracle-Gro Potting Mix for tomatoes

Black gold Natural & Organic Flower And Vegetable Soil potting mix for tomatoes

As an ideal soil for container-grown plants, you can combine it with compost to nourish newly potted tomatoes. It is an excellent organic tomato potting soil that is devoid of synthetic elements.
It contains-

  • Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss
  • Earthworm Castings
  • Horticultural Grade Perlite
  • Coconut Coir
  • Dolomite Lime (Calcium and Magnesium)
  • Organic Wetting Agent

The soil has an appropriate particle size, which aids in soil aeration and provides the oxygen required by plants for plant functions.

The loose consistency also promotes appropriate drainage, letting your tomatoes blossom beautifully and producing the most incredible quality organic tomatoes. It is suitable for all sorts of potted and in-ground plants.

List of best commercial potting mix for tomatoes

Espoma Organic Vegetable and Flower Soil commercial potting mix for tomatoes

Espoma is well-known for providing all-natural and organic plant care solutions.

Among the other gardening soils, Espoma Organic Vegetable and Flower Soil is the best gardening soil for tomatoes. Although it is better for in-ground planting, it also works well for your pot plants.

This potting soil is 30% to 40% additional soil additions such as Canadian sphagnum peat moss, peat humus, and earthworm castings to promote adequate drainage. Find it on amazon online.

best commercial potting mix for tomatoes

Fox Farm Ocean Forest Potting soil mix

Fox Farm has developed as a prominent producer of plant care products in recent years. They are known for their unique design and the high quality of their plant care products.

Combining nutrients from land and water creates a nutrient-dense environment for potted plants. It includes 0.3% nitrogen, a phosphorus content is 0.45%, a potassium content of around 0.05%, and 1 % calcium.

This potting soil contains sphagnum peat moss, seasoned forest products, and sandy loam to promote well-aerated roots and plant growth. It has a soil PH of 6.3 to 6.8, which is within the acidity range that is ok for tomatoes.

It works like magic on tomatoes, buy this premium potting soil online.

Fox Farm Ocean Forest Potting mix Soil

Michigan Peat Garden Magic Potting mix Soil for Tomatoes

This potting soil has organic components that provide the soil bulk while allowing it to drain fast, reducing tomato root rot.

You can make it up of the following ingredients: • Perlite • Sand • Reed sedge peat.

This organic potting mix also has water retention capabilities that protect your tomato plants from drought stress and allow them to survive brief periods of drought. It is appropriate for both indoor and outdoor tomato plants. It is available on amazon.

The majority of gardeners like this potting mix in container since it is easy and successful in tomato cultivation.
Tomatoes don’t usually need a lot of soil amendments, but they do need soil that’s rich in organic matter.

 

Michigan Peat Garden Magic Potting mix Soil for Tomatoes

Making your own potting soil mix at home is less expensive than buying it from a shop.

Recipe for Homemade Tomato Growing Potting Mix.

Here’s how to prepare mix potting soil for potted tomatoes.

Recipe 1:

  • Garden soil
  • Sphagnum peat moss
  • Perlite, vermiculite, or sand

Fill the pots with an equal amount of each and mix.

Recipe 2:

Ingredients for a potting mix for tomatoes

  • Crushed eggshells
  • Garden soil
  • Bone broth

Combine all of the ingredients in equal proportions to produce a fantastic tomato planting mix!

Recipe 3 for pot mix for tomatoes:

  • Pre-soaked Coir Peat
  • Vermiculite
  • Compost
  • Vermicast (humus)

Combine equal portions using a trowel and store the mixture in a jar. Use it only when necessary.

Recipe for Homemade Tomato Growing Potting Mix.

So, to sum up, there is a wide range of commercial potting mixes available for tomatoes; also, you can make your own potting mix which is organic and saves money too!

How to rejuvenate old garden soil – While repotting, Old potting mix and more

Rejuvenating potting mix – How to rejuvenate old garden soil

A potting mix will be depleted of nutrients over time, this is a reality that most gardeners don’t realize until their plants stop growing or show poor signs of growth.

But why does potting mix get depleted of nutrients over time?

  • Leeching of nutrients through drainage and continuous rains.
  • Slow release of organic matter through drainage.
  • Plant’s growth, age, and root system.
  • Heavy feeder plants

To understand how plants deplete the potting mix, let’s understand that plants are:

  • Light feeders
  • Medium feeders
  • Heavy feeders

Consumer in place of feeder for easy of understanding that plants that are are heavy consumers deplete the potting mix of nutrients faster than light consumers.

There are 3 ways you can keep your potting mix fertile.

Top up method – How to add nutrients to old potting soil

Just like a prepaid mobile recharge to keep the phone services running, the top-up is probably one of the best methods to keep your potting mix full of nutrients and fertile. How to do that:

  • Prepare a uniform mix of the following items in the given proportions:
    • 500 grams vermicompost
    • 500 grams of cow manure powder
    • 100 grams neem cake powder
    • 100 grams of mustard cake powder
    • 100 grams bone meal powder (only for acidic potting mix)
    • OPTIONAL: 100 grams of wood ash
    • OPTIONAL: Handful of perlite, it won’t hurt to add a bit of drainage and aeration but it is not necessary.
    • OPTIONAL: Handful of cocopeat if your plant needs to retain more water.
  • When you are plant is due for watering, spread a 1-2 inch layer of this mix on the surface of potting mix in your container.
  • Water slowly first only so that the top mix is wet. After you finish watering all containers with this addition. Then water again from the first container but this time do deep watering till the water starts draining out. This is not necessary to do but in my experience, I have noticed that the first round of water settles the mix well on the surface so that when you water again, it gets distributed uniformly.
  • This method works great for perennials and fruit trees.
  • It takes anywhere between a fortnight or month for organic fertilizers to break down and start providing nutrients to plants therefore this is a great slow-release feeding method.
  • This method also helps in mimicking the natural ecosystem in forests where layers of organic matter on the surface are formed over years, proving home to helpful fungi, bacteria, and food for the plant.

Rejuvenate while repotting

When your plant outgrows your container or if the container is broken or when your plant is struggling for space to grow then it is time to repot your plant.

Repotting is a great opportunity to make up for the loss of nutrients in the soil.

There are two ways to re-pot:

  • Repotting with the entire pot ball of the plant: In this method, you extract the plant with the entire mix that has formed the shape of the container over time. This is usually done when you did not expect the plant to outgrow the pot so fast.
    • Make sure the plant is not watered for a day or two.
    • Extract the plant gently by tapping the sides and loosening the mix.
    • Fill the new container with the fresh potting mix, press it to clear air pockets
    • Put the full ball so that the surface of the plant matches the surface of the new container.
    • Fill potting mix across all sides pressing firmly.
    • Water thoroughly.
    • Keep in partial shade for a day or two.
  • Repotting with root pruning and trimming: In this method as the name suggests, you prune the excess roots (mostly the thin fiber-like from the sides) from the plant.
    • The steps are similar to the aforementioned but once the plant is extracted, gently dust off the potting mix from all sides to expose thin fibrous roots.
    • Then using a sharp sterilized scissor trim the roots. To reduce the size of the ball.
    • Don’t do it excessively unless you plan to make a bonsai out of the existing plant.
      If roots are outgrowing the old container from the bottom, you may chop them off too.
    • Get rid of the clay soil as much as possible.
    • Now prepare a liquid mix of 5ml liquid Humic acid + 1 ml of liquid seaweed extract in 1 to 1.5 liter of water and drench the plant after you finish adding the potting mix. This will help the plant recover from the shock, promote faster root growth, and also promotes microbial activity in the mix.

Rejuvenate old potting mix – Rejuvenating old potting soil

Potting mix is a precious commodity in your Terrace garden. When you have a lot of plants this may certainly add to your expenses unless you are making your compost, getting cow manure for free. But whether or not you have a zero-budget garden, it is a good idea to reuse old potting mix after rejuvenating it. But let me tell you that this is a tedious process although the result is rewarding.

How to rejuvenate old potting mix

Before we talk about rejuvenating potting mix, let’s understand how to choose a potting mix for reuse:

  • If your plant suffered through bacterial or fungi infection or was affected by insects in some way, then I would not recommend it for reuse. However you still want to use it, you may have to use it by worm composting[7] according to research at Cornell University (NY USA)
  • Don’t reuse potting mix if you have grown heavy feeders last year. Such potting mix has a higher level of nutrition depletion.
  • Check for Ph levels
  • This works great for vegetables and kitchen gardens.

How to rejuvenate old potting mix: Here is the step-by-step way to rejuvenate your old potting mix:

  • You would need a large plastic sheet, a large container with drainage holes, a trowel, and a rake if possible. Large plastic bags.
  • Spread your mix on the plastic sheet, a rake comes in handy here. Remove pieces of roots any unwanted stones etc. Loosen any clumps that may have formed.
  • Wash your mix: Take a large barrel with drainage holes, covered with a plastic net. Fill it with soil and saturate it with water.
  • Once the water stops draining, pour the potting mix back onto a plastic sheet, spread it, and leave it in the sun till fully dry and fluffy
  • 50/50: Once the mix is dried, take an equal quantity of the fresh potting mix and mix them both.
  • OPTIONAL: To adjust Ph add Neem cake or bone meal powder or lime.
    Put this mix in bags and leave them in dark & dry storage for about 2 weeks to cure and brew.
  • That’s it your rejuvenated potting mix is ready.
  • When you use it to plant, don’t forget to add the Humic + Seaweed mix mentioned while repotting.
  • You may do this process 2 times for your old mix and in some cases maybe 3. After that, your mix loses its ability to recharge itself.

Is potting mix same as soil? Ingredients of potting mix

Is potting mix same as soil? Ingredients of potting mix

When you refer to the soil in gardening it is often a confusion between a potting mix and gardening soil. So what is a potting mix and why it is not soil and it should not be called so?

Plants grow perfectly well in healthy, well-amended garden soil so why can’t we use the same soil in our containers?

  • One reason is drainage, on the ground in a garden bed gravity acts on the soil from deep underground, allowing excess water to drain down and away from plants’ roots. But in a container, the force of gravity can only pull water to the bottom of the container, where it may or may not find a drain hole to escape.
  • At the same time, water is also drawn upward and is held in the soil by capillary action – the same force that pulls water slightly up the straw as it sits in a cup of water. (Remember ground clearance characteristic of a good container?) And the thinner the straw, the higher the water is pulled.
  • Similarly, water gets pulled upward into the pores of soil – particularly in the tiny pores of our clay-heavy soils – where it’s held. So even with a good drain hole, some of the water just won’t be able to escape in a container filled with garden soil. And too much water in the soil for too long can cut off air circulation around the roots, which can stress or even kill a plant.
  • Another reason is contamination of soil by chemicals, sewage, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides. To understand why a potting mix over garden soil is preferable, understand what a potting mix is.

Potting mix

Like soil, potting mix provides support & nutrition for plants but it is not soil. It’s a growth medium formulated specifically to help plants live happily in pots forming a comfortable ecosystem to support their growth.

Instead of garden soil, commercial potting mixes contain a combination of peat moss or coco peat, composted material like vermicompost, tree bark, cow manure, perlite, and vermiculite – and sometimes a few other components, depending on the mix.

Because of these ingredients, a good potting mix holds just the right amount of moisture while letting the excess drain away easily. It also maintains an airy, “fluffy” structure whether wet or dry. Potting mix just makes container life a lot easier for plants.

Soil less potting mix

In layman’s terms, soil-less potting mix (media) is something that does not have dirt/garden soil/mitti as an ingredient.

Advantages of soil-less potting mix over the soil- based

  • Planters with mixes weigh 50-70% lighter than traditional mixes.
  • Plants grow better because its fluffy and loose nature.
  • Roots grow better and faster as they have more breathing space.
  • Potting mix encourages moisture retention and excess water drainage, roots of the plant breath better.
  • Adding periodic manuring or organic additives like bone meal, mustard cake, neem cake, etc. is easy and efficient. You rarely need hoeing. This can mimic the surface of the soil in the forest thus help build a great ecosystem for the plant to grow.
  • Goes without saying that this mix holds nutrition longer than regular soil-based mixed.
  • To some extent, you can be sure that your mix will have lesser fungal, pest, or insect infestation as normal garden soil/dirt may be contaminated.
  • Re-potting becomes easier and efficient.
  • Removal of weed is easier.

Ingredients of potting mix

There are no rules when it comes to creating a potting mix but certain organic ingredients have been in use for such a long time in gardening for their obvious benefits. Let’s understand why I chose these organic ingredients for my potting mix recipe

1. Vermicompost

Vermicompost (vermicompost, vermiculture) is the product of the decomposition process using various species of worms, usually red wigglers, white worms, and other earthworms, to create a mixture of decomposing vegetable or food waste, bedding materials, and vermicast (worm poop).

  • Vermicompost is a great source of organic carbon and other necessary nutrients for plants.
  • You can easily buy vermicompost these days from your local garden store or nursery.
  • You may also use garden compost or homemade compost as well. Homemade compost is a great way to reduce kitchen waste.

2. Cow manure

  • For decades cow manure (gobar khad in Hindi) has been used extensively in Indian farming methods and gardening because of its ease of availability.
  • Cow manure is made up of digested grass and grain. Cow dung is high in organic materials and rich in nutrients. It contains about 3% nitrogen, 2% phosphorus, and 1% potassium (3-2-1 NPK).
  • Cow manure also contains high levels of ammonia and potentially dangerous pathogens. Therefore it must be aged or composted before its use as cow manure fertilizer.
  • Cow manure is an economic and easily available source of organic carbon, organic matter, and other plant nutrients. Which makes it an excellent ingredient for my potting mix.

3. Coco peat

Coco peat, also known as coir pith. coir fiber pith, coir dust, or simply coir, is made from coconut husks, which are byproducts of other industries that use coconuts.

  • Coco peat does not have any nutritional value but it’s completely organic and has great water holding capacity. It also acts as a neutralizer for heavy mediums like vermicomposting and cow manures.
  • Coco peat is used to add further light-ness, water holding capacity, and conditioning to the potting mix.

Commercially available cocopeat blocks have a higher level of salt contains which may affect the quality of your potting mix and therefore subsequently hinder the growth of your plant, therefore before mixing it into your mix, soak cocopeat overnight in a tub or bucket with a hole in it to wash away salts.

4. Perlite/vermiculite

Perlite is the name of a naturally occurring mineral. A type of volcanic glass, created when the volcanic obsidian glass gets saturated with water over a long time. Natural perlite is dark black or grey colored amorphous glass. For use in gardening, the hard mineral glass needs to be processed into a light, white color, that resembles styrofoam, To complete the transformation, crushed perlite needs to be heated quickly to 900 degrees Celsius.

The process leads to the expansion of the crushed pieces of the mineral between 7 and 16 times their original size and volume, creating that lightweight tiny popcorn.

Advantages of using perlite in your potting mix:

  • Perlite retains its shape even when pressed into the soil.
  • It has a neutral pH level
  • It is non-toxic and natural
  • It is super porous and contains pockets of space inside for air. It can retain some amount of water promoting moisture in the mix and while allowing the rest to drain away

Similar to perlite, Vermiculite is a hydrous phyllosilicate mineral that undergoes significant expansion when heated.

Differences between perlite and vermiculite:

  • Both are naturally occurring mineral additives that have many of the same qualities.
  • Both improve soil quality, especially aiding with aeration.
  • Perlite is known to be more effective at aerating soil.
  • Vermiculite is better at retaining moisture.
  • Perlite is somewhat cheaper than vermiculite.

Neem cake powder

Neem cake is organic manure is a bio product obtained in the process of cold pressing of neem tree fruit and kernels, and the solvent extraction process for neem oil cake.

The AZADIRACHTIN content in neem cake organic manure protects plant roots from various fungi & pests and also works as a soil conditioner. Due to this Neem cakes have been reported to have been (a) antifeedant (b) attractant (c) repellent (d) insecticide (e) nematicide (f) growth disruptor and (g) antimicrobial.

Neem cake manure performs the dual function of both fertilizer and pesticides.

Advantages of using Neem Cake Powder in your potting mix:

  • Protects the root from various fungal infections.
  • Neem cake improves the organic matter content of the soil, helping improve soil texture, water retention capacity, and soil aeration for better root development.
  • Neem cake manure can also reduce alkalinity in the soil by producing organic acids when mixed with the soil hence ensure the fertility of the soil. It’s a great acidity enhancer for plants needing acidic soils.

Bone meal powder

Bone meal is a mixture of finely and coarsely ground animal bones and slaughterhouse waste products. Bone meal is primarily used as a source of phosphorus, calcium, and protein.

As a fertilizer, the N-P-K (Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium) ratio of bone meal can vary greatly, depending on the source. From a low of 3-15-0 to as high as 2-22-0. , though some steamed bone meals have N- P-Ks of 1-13-0.

IMPORTANT: According to recent Colorado State University research, plants can only get phosphorus from bone meal if the soil pH is below 7.0 (acidic soil). That is because in alkaline soil high calcium content will bind to phosphorus and create calcium-phosphate that is unavailable to the plant. Therefore adjusting bone meal quantity for potting mix specific to plants is desirable.

Another thing to note is that while buying bone meal as powder, make sure that it is sterilized/steamed. This is important for proper storage and to avoid the development of fungus on the powder itself.

Mustard cake powder

Like Neem Cake, the mustard cake is also a byproduct obtained from mustard seeds after extracting the oil from the seeds. When mixed as an additive to potting mix, it adds to essential both macro-nutrients and micro-nutrients.

Potting mix recipe example

Here’s my tried and tested potting mix recipe.

  • 30% Vermicompost
  • 30% Cow Manure
  • 20% Cocopeat (Washed)
  • 10-15% Perlite/Vermiculite
  • 10% Additive (Mix of neem cake powder + bone-meal powder + mustard cake powder)

Mix all the ingredients and if possible put them in a sealed large barrel or bag and leave them to brew for about a week. This is optional but I have experienced that it gives good results.

IMPORTANT: While this recipe works for a large variety of plants I can’t say that it is a universal mix. For example, some plants need more moisture, while some don’t. Adjustment in cocopeat and/or perlite is advisable for particular plants.

How to measure potting mix proportions

Proportions are as simple as they sound but they may often confuse. Here are two simple methods to get good accurate proportions:

By Weight:

If you have a weighing machine, following a recipe becomes much simple for example 300g vermicompost, 300g cow manure, 200-gram cocopeat, 100gram perlite, 30g+30g+30g (neem cake + bonemeal + mustard cake powder). This would make a 1 kg potting mix.

By size:

Take a small container or mug now measure as 3 containers of vermicompost, 3 containers of cow manure, and so on. Now add a handful of each additive neem cake powder etc in one container. You get the idea. Right? A bit of approximation here but do not worry it will work just fine.

to add bone meal or not…

When I first made this potting mix I added bone meal powder as aforementioned however once I had learned that bone meal is advantageous only when the potting mix is acidic, I stopped adding it to the primary mixture, instead, once my mix was ready and if I am growing any plant that loves acidic mix I add bone meal to that.