Growing Medium Advice Needed
My first attempt at 5 gal bucket tomatoes last year was
disappointing. I'm sure I didn't do enough reading and
research before starting the project. I started late May
with about 10, 5 gal buckets from Lowe's. I drilled 16, 1/4"
holes in the bottom of each bucket. I put a layer of white
garden stones, then filled each bucket with soil. I probably
used the least expensive MG soil available. Then, I chose
a wide varirty of tomatoes to see which grew best. Well,
the results were, to say the least, very disappointing.
The various cherry and grape tomatoes grew best. The others
produced small and not much fruit. I also tried cucumbers,
and green peppers. The peppers were small, but otherwise
ok. The cucke's had many blossoms, but only a few developed
into fruit. I read somewhere that this could be a pollination problem due to a lack of honey bees.
After much reading and research here, I know the soil was a
major problem. I plan to use Pro-Mix this year. I want to use the same 10 buckets. And, I have found one nursery in town that has Premier Pro-Mix BX in 1.8 cu ft bags at
My questions are:
1. Can I mix the Pro-Mix with something else to reduce the
cost of growing medium for each 5 gal bucket? Say 50% Pro-Mix and 50% compost? what is suggested?
2. Should I add 1 cup of Dolomite to each bucket before
3. What tomato varieties should I plant for best results?
4. Is there such a plant as a self pollinating cucke? Or, how can I get bees to get up to my back deck 15 feet above ground?
5. I also need detailed advise on a fertilizer and watering
schedule. I am in Central Virginia.
I am 76, and can not do a lot of heavy mixing. So. I do not
want to try Al's 5,1,1. I want to re-use my existing buckets. I want to keep the soil costs as low as possible but still use the Pro-Mix.
Any suggestions, comments and advise will be greatly