I grow tomatoes in pots. That’s the only way to succeed with them in my garden. I wrote a series of posts about that last year.
This year, I bought six new, larger pots for tomato plants (which are still ridiculously small, due to our cool spring).
My usual practice is to refresh last year’s soil by dumping each pot (which has been sitting by the garden shed since last fall) into a wheelbarrow. I add bagged manure (which purports to be from cattle, steer, sheep, or mushrooms–haha, that’s a joke; I know mushrooms don’t actually produce it!) and my own compost, along with extras such as lime and fertilizer. Then I stir up the mixture with a spade, and when it’s uniformly mixed, I refill the pots.
The new pots, of course, were empty. And this year I have twelve tomato plants instead of the usual eight or nine. I needed more soil.
Digging up the garden wasn’t an option, so I had to make more dirt.
I used my established technique of enhancing the soil from last year’s tomato pots, but I also rounded up a few extra pots whose occupants had died or been dispatched, and incorporated that soil as well. But, some will ask, what about evil fungi or other toxins that may have killed those plants? Yes, that dirt might harbour such things, but I was going to dilute it with other stuff, so the risk was worth taking.
The “other stuff” was large amounts of compost and several bags of manure. Sheep manure this time. (To be honest, the stuff I dump out of those bags into the wheelbarrow has only a passing resemblance to actual poop expelled by whatever creature is named on the bag. Okay, it’s also labelled “composted” and “deodorized.” I suspect that really means the manure has been mixed with a good deal of other material, such as straw or sawdust. No matter, though, it refreshes and enhances the old soil from the pots.)
Amazingly enough, after filling the six new pots, I still had soil from six of last year’s tomato pots and two sacks of sheep manure, not to mention a good supply of compost. More than enough. The garden gods’ equivalent of loaves and fishes?
Of course the soil is fluffed up in the enhancement process, so I will probably have to top up the pots at planting time.
With luck, by late summer there will be tomatoes!