Rookie mistakes

cinnamonshopsMay 19, 2013

Hi all,

Similar to another recent poster here, I've just made at least one fairly classic rookie mistake. It's not my first time planting in containers, but it's my first time in awhile, and first time planting tomatoes.

I know perfectly well that a good potting mix is what you want to plant in, but the two bags I had weren't enough, and when I ran out to the store, I somehow went ahead and bought potting soil instead, without thinking. It's 60% top soil, 25% composted manure, and 15% peat moss. So needless to say, when I planted my second tomato plant, I realized that it was very poor-draining, but by then the deed was done.

What does everyone recommend I do? Leave it and see what happens? Track down some perlite (or something else?), dig up the (fairly large) seedling, mix it in, and replant? Or am I just up the creek?

One caveat is that I am relatively short of funds, although I don't mind shelling out a bit more to fix my mistake. Another issue, though, is that I don't have a car, so driving far and wide for giant bags of various ingredients isn't really an option. The simpler and more accessible the solution, the better, basically.


Thanks so much!

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I feel your pain Cinnamonshops :p

The deed had already been done to hmm, maybe 10 plants before I realized the error of my ways. I wish I knew enough to help you out but I'm still trying to figure out if I'm up the creek myself lol I plan on replanting just about all of them, even my big tomato plant. Muddy pots, probably about 80% top soil, not good.

I'm sure someone will have something more useful for you, these folks seem like a pretty smart bunch. I wish you the best of luck and a wonderful bounty of tomatoes in your future :)

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 7:14PM
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Thanks for the encouragement, Rachel! I was kind of tickled (though also sympathetic) when I first saw your posting. Good to know there are others making silly mistakes now and again.

The little guys look fine so far, but who knows what lies ahead...

Hopefully some kind soul(s) on here will be able to advise.

Good luck to you too!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 7:58AM
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My first few years with container gardening were pretty much doing what you're doing. The trick is watering very sparsely so the potting mix doesn't get waterlogged.

Its almost an art form ... watch the plant, watch to see if the potting mix starts to come away from the sides, and add small amounts of water at a time. This changes, of course, as the plant gets bigger, and you can add more and more water.

You can do it :). Life is just a lot easier if you build your own rapidly draining mix.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 10:50PM
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Thanks, David! I'm glad to hear that all is not lost.

We just had a big rainstorm last night, and the good news is that at least it doesn't look like the plants are drowning in standing water or anything like that. But I'll be careful when I do the watering myself, your advice is very helpful!

So you don't think it's worth it to dig up the plants, mix in some perlite or something, and re-plant? Maybe that's more trauma than it's worth.

I just feel silly because I knew all of this already, just went ahead and bought the wrong stuff anyway...

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 7:31AM
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To be honest, if it were me, I'd repot the plants in proper potting soil, and use what you bought as a top dressing out in a flower bed or something.

But if funds are an issue, you can try and baby what you have along - keep in mind that if it gets too wet, you'll lose everything.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 11:46AM
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ilovemyroses(8 Dallas TX)

this is saving me from the same, altho i am sure mistakes will come. had no idea until some kind soul pointed me this way. now i have learned to not make a move with out proper researching first. even the first common sense steps can be wrong! who would think potting soil would be wrong in these pots!! go figure! good luck op!!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 5:56PM
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As far as I have read, adding perlite won't do a thing. The soil will just morph around it. Unless it was above 50 percent. But then your growing in perlite amended with soil lol. I raise all my flowers In a perlite soil mix. Below 50 percent perlite before I came across this forum.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 4:20PM
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