Container grown tomatoes

Thu Jun 15, 2006 11:32 am

Planted tomatoes in containers for the first time this spring. The plants are not as bushy as ground grown tomatoes - not doing as well as I expected.

Pots are about 5 gallon plastic containers with drain holes. Put about 2 inches of gravel in the bottom of the pot and a mixture of commercial top soil and manure for soil. One tomatoe plant per pot.

What did I do wrong?


Thu Jun 15, 2006 12:26 pm


You really need to watch container grown plants carefully for soil moisture level. They do not have the ability to pull moisture from deeper in the soil, as they can when in the ground. Therefore, you typically have to water them more often.

Another factor may be soil pH. Was the manure fresh or "aged"? Depending on how much manure you mixed in, the soil may be too acidic.

Describe what is happening to the plants.

Thu Jun 15, 2006 6:55 pm

Container tomatoes are watered daily. Commerically packaged top soil and cow manure. Wild guess on the mixture, some where around 40% manure. 1/2 day sunlight.

Plants have a nice tall straight stems with few leaves. Two or three tomatoes per plant.


Thu Jun 15, 2006 7:29 pm

Hmmmmm....that is a quandry. Can you move them to a location where they get sun most of the day? Tall stems with few leaves sounds like not enough sun. I haven't had much success with commercial packaged "topsoil". I'm not sure where it comes from or how it's processed, but it doesn't seem to have the organic matter, nutrients and minerals that the real topsoil in your garden has. To satify my curiousity, I just may send some to have it analyzed and see what turns up. Try giving the plants a little soluble plant food once a week with their water. I believe Miracle Gro makes one specifically for vegetables. The manure will help over time, but it takes a while for it to break down enough so that the nitrogen becomes available to the plants. Good luck with those 'maters :!:

Thu Jun 15, 2006 9:27 pm


Will try the Miracle Grow.


Sun Jul 23, 2006 12:30 am

A service man stopped by. He commented that his tomatoes looked exactly like mine. Comparing notes. We both purchased packaged manure and top soil from the same store.
Researched a bit. Some of the manure sold in stores contains mostly rotted saw dust - very low nutritional value for plants.

Last edited by Eugene on Sun Jul 23, 2006 8:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

Sun Jul 23, 2006 3:21 am

We had walks and driveway replaced. Beverly wanted flower beds next to the walks. I went to the Local Lowes to get some bagged top soil. They had a number of broken bags. I made an offer to take all off their hands. I found it to be mostly clay that dried to a rock like hardness. Fortunately I have a lot of compost tht I have worked in to it but it still needs more to keep it frieable.