Urban_Garden
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Can I transplant tomatoes to pots of garden dirt?

So my tomatoes are starting to outgrow their little snug peat bag thingies and are growing roots through the netting. Unfortunately, I have used up my ‘garden allowance’ and cannot purchase anymore potting soil. So I was curious, can I place the tomatoes in pots of soil from outside?
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SarahSarah
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I tried to do that last year and none of my tomatoes in pots did very well. I think it was lack of drainage and poor quality soil. This year I made sure to put lots of holes in the bottom of the pots for drainage and I used a mix of compost, egg shells, dirt from the yard, and a little bit of potting mix. So far, so good, as the plants look healthy and are growing day by day.

Urban_Garden
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SarahSarah wrote:I tried to do that last year and none of my tomatoes in pots did very well. I think it was lack of drainage and poor quality soil. This year I made sure to put lots of holes in the bottom of the pots for drainage and I used a mix of compost, egg shells, dirt from the yard, and a little bit of potting mix. So far, so good, as the plants look healthy and are growing day by day.
They aren't going to stay in the pots. It is just until May.
"Cultivators of the earth are the most virtuous and independant citizens."- Thomas Jefferson

TZ -OH6
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With garden dirt I would use a larger pot than you normally would because the dirt doesn't hold as much water and is denser/heavier than potting mix. You will have to be careful monitoring moisture.

a0c8c
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Make sure you find some non clay dirt from the yard. Under bushes is where I find the best soil, although ours still isn't that much better(with Texas clay I'm sure I could make bricks)
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applestar
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If you want to use garden "dirt", you'll need to mix it with something so that the soil is not too dense and allows good drainage. I like to use sand -- about 1 part sand to 3 parts soil, but people often use Perlite. I generally push aside a leaf pile and use the soil underneath (similar to a0c8c's "under the bushes") Under a woodpile is also good. If you have compost, mix some of that in and you have an excellent soil mix. Other good additions are bits of "rotting" logs.

You might want to test your soil mix first. Fill a planting pot with it, tamp it down, then water. If the water doesn't seep right in but puddles at the top, the soil mix is too dense.

Make sure to moisten the soil mix before using to uppot your plants. It should feel like a wrung out sponge. If you squeeze some in your hand, it should hold it's shape then crumble.

Don't be surprised if you have tiny weed seedlings start to grow. Just pluck them out. You'll be surprised how LONG their roots get. :wink:

tedln
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The simple answer is yes. The honest answer is "it's more complicated than that".

Everyone so far has addressed the "more complicated" part of the answer. It simply depends on the soil you want to use and how much effort you want to put into making it work. In simple terms, you need soil with organics, soil that will drain well, and soil that will not harden when it starts to dry.

Ted
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