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Beginners soil question

I'm new to gardening and have a question on which garden would be best for me. I will be starting seeds indoors soon, then trasplanting to one of two garden options. I will be planting Paul Robeson, beefsteak, and black pineapple tomatoes,

Option 1: use 18 gallon buckets and fill with compost, Pete moss and worm castings. In each whole for a tomato I would mix in rock rust and espom salt. Then water the plants with compost tea.

Option 2: use old rail road ties from my grandfather's old raised bed gardens. They may have been soaked in creasut(sp?) over 10 years ago. I would then use the same soil mixture above to fill thebed.  The problem with this is that the ground under the raised bed is poor and rocky. It use to be a flower bed with Lilly's of the vally, it was also mulched with quarts rocks years ago and over time have been worked into the soil. I know the obviate answer would be to move the bed but the spot I have is the only spot my wife will allow me to grow. Any advice, tweaks, or ideas would be greatly appriciated thanks in advance.
















  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,052

    all sounds hugely compliated to me. Topsoil with added well rotted garden compost / farmyard manure, with fish blood and bone would do it for me.

    In over 30 years in professional horticulture, I've never even heard of "rock rust"

  • treehugger80treehugger80 Posts: 1,923

    I would not use creosote soaked wood for anything I was growing food in. Why would you use Epsom salt in compost (is it a ye olde fashioned way of growing??).

    use bog standard multi purpose compost in a large pot, feed once fruit starts to set on tomatoes using either tomato feed or home made comfrey juice.

    when potting up don't go from a little pot to a massive pot as the toms wont grow as well as moving them thru a couple of pot sizes first

  • Firstly I would shy away from timber that might have been coated in something that could harm me (no matter how old) particularly with foodstuff. I use that timber for plants and flowers but not food.

    If you don't have the time or inclination to dig over the bed you could use deep wooden boards to add height and then add top soil with good quality compost. I also add nettle/comfry liquid manure. As I have clay soil I also add sand to loosen up the soil.
  • ZenjeffZenjeff Posts: 644


    Volcanic rock dust is a organic fertiliser which I have read as excelent results image

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,052

    OP mentioned " rock rust" Thought I'd been missing out on something.image

  • AkillysAkillys Posts: 3

    Lol yeah I meant to say dust. From what I'm reading I'll go with the buckets. This is my first attempt at growing tomatoes or really anything. However, I have done a large amount of research.  I  figured adding the espom would just add to the nutrients in the soil. I will also be adding red worms to each bucket. Any ideas on what i could add to each hole when transplanting to prevent blossom end rot?

  • AkillysAkillys Posts: 3

    Also any thoughts on tomato-tone?

  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,123

    Akillys me thinks you've done too much research. Tomatoes are the easiest of crops to grow they need water, sunshine and food when the first truss has set. You can grow them in  9 inch pot and get great results with MPC and nothing more. I'm sure your grandfather raised great crops with not a lot more than garden soil and horse manure like mine did.

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