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Tomorite Growbag seems worse than others!



I bought a Tomorite Tomato growbag (£4.99) and am trying it out in my greenhouse next to cheapo Westland growbags (£1.80) and an expensive sack of horticultural compost (£8).
So far the Horticultural one is doing the best, with the cheap Westland ones not far behind and the Tomorite one miles behind...

By the way Tomorite/Levington and other brands belong to Scotts Miracle Gro -- no email address anywhere!


  • OldfoolOldfool Posts: 9

    There does seem to be a wide variation in compost quality now (a view endorsed by a professional gardener just last week) I've given up just relying on grobags and made troughs which I fill with a mix of home made compost, grobag rubbish, and John Innes No.3, with a sprinkling of Fish Blood and Bone. The results are good.

  • cathy43cathy43 Posts: 373

    thanks for this post, I thought I was doing something wrong this year, obviously I should have stuck to the usual cheap bags, that is the only thing that changed. thought i was being good to them!

  • I have been to their HQ/warehouse which is just off the M18 north of Doncaster if that helps.

    I am currently doing some tests using the cheapest compost from B&Q and applying a bacterial probiotic soil conditioner to see the difference in growth and plant strength by adding good bacteria which protect against any diseases left in unrotted compost.

    It seems that we get large bits of wood, plastic and other bits of detritus as standard in bags of bought compost now.

    The results of using this probiotic look really interesting and some very marked differences in plant growth for tomatos and courgettes!


  • Edd

    Sorry, totally different technology .........or rather bio technology.

    These are specially selected naturally occuring strains of bacteria and fungi which have identified, isolated and screened for their beneficial activity.

    The natural microorganisms produce a variety of compounds which provide significant benefits to plants.

    • Some produce compounds that will inhibit the growth of pathogens by creating a barrier reducing access to the plants roots
    • Some produce compounds that increase plant growth
    • Some have the ability to grab nitrogen out of the atmosphere (nitrogen fixation) to increase growth.
    • Some have the ability to release phosphorous that is bound in the soil but not always readily accessible to the plant (phosphorous solubilizing bacteria)
    • Some can degrade/compost old organic matter found in the soil releasing these in-situ nutrients for the plant
    • Some colonize the roots or the area around the roots (rhizosphere) ensuring they are in the correct physical area to protect and/or nurture the plant.

    They are used to replace the natural bacteria present in soil, compost or other growing media that may have been lost through environmental conditions, biocides, pesticides, etc and to condition the soil/compost.

    I agree worms are another very good method to improve the soil but by adding bacterial strains you know are active and beneficial is another highly beneficial way of improving plant health.

    In fact i think both technologies would work very well in unison based on an experience we had last year. 

    We did a test using the bacteria on some potato fields and the one thing we noticed was on the treated soil there was a massive amount of earthworm activity compared to the untreated area.

    We don't know why as we are not worm experts, but the yield improved, rejects decreased and we could only think that the bacteria and fungi were creating a good soil environment for the earthworms, who in turn kept the soil aerated and light to ensure good potato growth and also consistent shapes/sizes.....

    Maybe you could advise if this make sense as you seem to be more Au Fait with worms and as i said i am only guessing as we can't think why there was a huge difference in earthworm numbers between treated and untreated areas.

  • Sorry Edd,

    Strains can be 'harvested' and isolated from many different sources, locations, environments, etc, etc. 

    Hundreds/thousands could be sampled and only one may be better than the strains you already have in your existing library and they don't just come from wormeries.

    A good example is that one of the strains was discovered in a stream in the USA yet had properties and activities that are very beneficial to plants/soil.

    I am not an expert on worms so would not offer a comment, i only know about the strains and their specific activity, so would only comment on what i know.



  • Edd

    I think we are attacking the same problem just from different angles. Both are great solutions, perhaps used together they would be even better.

    The focus of the tests we are doing is to find a simple, low cost solution to help people get the most from their soil or compost in the easiest, most cost effective manner that allows them to quickly turn inert soil/compost into beneficially biologically active soil/compost.

    You can buy a growbag for under £2, 3 tomato plants at £1 each so you are not investing a huge amount of money, but if they fail to thrive you have wasted several weeks and you don't have anything at the end of it, which is very frustrating.

    Wormeries are brilliant, but not everybody will want to invest the time and money to create a wormery, so we are trying to find other solutions that may be a better fit for people who may have limited space or commitment to creating a wormery.



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