The Best Soil for Container Gardening Tomatoes

Photo of tomatoes in a pot

Growing your tomatoes in containers is a great way to get a head start on the growing season. The correct soil can make your gardening experience amazing with plump tomatoes. However, if you want to get the best results, you need to choose the best soil for container gardening tomatoes. The earth you use for container gardening will make a big difference in your harvest.

In this article, we plan on digging into four different soils for gardening tomatoes. By the end of this article, you will understand the best type of soil and what you need to be looking for to ensure an excellent tomatoes harvest.

The Top Four Soils for Gardening Tomatoes in a Container

  1. Organic Plant Magic Compressed Organic Potting Soil – The Best Overall
  2. Miracle-Gro All Purpose Container Mix – Has Three Months of Feed
  3. Black Gold All Organic Potting Soil – Rich and Thick
  4. The Good Earth Organics Zen Blend Premium Potting Soil – Versatility in Many Locations

Organic Plant Magic Compressed Organic Potting Soil – The Best Overall

For our first preferred potting mix for tomato growing, we have a compressed soil option. Packed soil is your “just add water option” among soil mixes. As a result, this soil is easy to move and easy to handle. You also don’t have to be an amateur bodybuilder to use this, which is excellent for gardeners with limited mobility. 

With a bit of water, the soil absorbs to create up to three gallons of space. Given that this is just a portion of your soil mixture, this can go a long while with the right mix of mulch and slow-release fertilizer. Despite the smaller size, the pricing of this bag hasn’t followed suit. Prepare to invest a bit more for convenience.

However, this thirsty soil is a low-effort bunch, as it does tout a higher ability to keep the soil moist. That means you can feasibly spend less time watering as all parts of your soil mix contain water-absorbent materials. The bag looks small but is deceivingly big. This convenience makes it the best overall soil you can have shipped to your home. 

ProsCons
Compressed soil is best for gardeners who have mobility issues.It is more expensive than some comparable options.
It is easy to store.Needs less watering than regular soil.
It is incredibly water-absorbent, which is forgiving to forgetful gardeners.
The Best Soil for Container Reviews

Miracle-Gro All Purpose Container Mix – Has Three Months of Feed

Miracle-Gro is an old gardening company that has been around for a great deal. For evidence of this, look no further than their all-purpose container mix. This soil is known to provide high performance for everyone from professional to novice gardeners. If you are looking for dirt with ample organic materials, this is a great option. 

Upon researching this container mix, you may notice a common complaint: fungus gnats. We will address how to solve this problem later in the article. So that you know, any organic soil has the potential to have living things inside of it. Typically, that means your organic soil is good enough to support life. 

Compared to other options here, it is one of the most inexpensive potting soils. You have two options: 1 cubic foot or six quarts. It is also suitable for growing tomatoes in pots both indoors and outdoors. For home gardeners on a budget, this soil could last you an entire season or two. 

ProsCons
It is reasonably cost-effective among soil mixes.It is not for sale in California.
You should have a large number of containers in your home garden.It is heavy and difficult to lug around.
It has a tremendous amount of organic material for plant growth encouragement.
The Best Soil for Container Reviews

Black Gold All Organic Potting Soil – Rich and Thick

Those who know anything about tomatoes understand that the best soil type needs to be rich and loamy. Black Gold has a firm understanding of that, often outperforming many of your over-the-counter local potting soils. This brand is also moist soil, meaning you will have to wait for it to dry out, but the wait is more than worth it.

The name does much of the talking; it is thick and black, which you should be looking for among good soils. However, expect to pay for the privilege of using black earth, as its per ounce cost is pretty high. With it being organic soil, you can also expect bugs.

The product is helpful for everything from bedding in containers to raised bed gardens. It’s suitable for the root systems of tomato plants and great for use during your standard growing season. Home gardeners looking for a great all-around solution with transfer potential should consider Black Gold. 

ProsCons
It is black and loamy, so you know it's good soil.It is relatively expensive compared to other options.
It is more than just potting soil; it is also usable in raised bed gardening.Regionally formulated, western region only.
The Best Soil for Container Reviews

The Good Earth Organics Zen Blend Premium Potting Soil – Versatility in Many Locations

Finding soil that works in many growing environments can be difficult. It seems that The Good Earth has an understanding of that, as their soil blend works from outdoor to indoor to greenhouse environments. Despite where you want to use them, the Zen Blend works fine for that use. 

The mix is incredibly suitable for sprouting up and fast development. As a result of its darker color, it holds a great deal of moisture (like the Black Gold option). The resulting soil quality translates directly into cost, which is much higher than most comparable options.

The company behind this soil is incredibly transparent in what they use on their grounds. The Good Earth recommends this use for the final stage in plant growth. You can also use it in California, so it has that on the Miracle-Gro product. 

ProsCons
It has proven effective for the final stage of plant life.It is expensive.
It is made using organic materials and encourages fast plant development. Use this premium, organic potting soil for both indoor and outdoor plants.
The Best Soil for Container Reviews

What You Need To Know Before Buying Potting Soil for Tomatoes

Whether in a raised garden or an actual container, a potted tomato has a different set of needs than other vegetables in your home garden. This section will delve into what you need to look for in good potting soil for tomatoes.

What Makes Soil Organic? 

the soil in the hands

Organic soils contain organic matter. This organic matter typically comes in three forms:

  • Plant residues which typically include something living
  • Detritus (waste or debris)
  • Humus (a general term for organic matter in soil)

The soil has these materials both for better decomposition of plant and animal material and fertility. The result is the release of all-important gardening chemicals:

  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Nitrogen

What Size Potting Mix Do I Need?

organic potting mix with a plants

You measure potting mix in three different ways:

  • Gallons
  • Cubic Feet
  • Quarts

If that wasn’t confusing enough, every company prefers their variant of measurement for no good reason. The best way to measure this out is to break it down by the size of your pot: 

For example: 

  • A ten-inch pot is roughly three gallons
  • Three gallons is about .4 cu ft. 

To determine how many gallons go into cubic feet, divide the number of gallons by 7.481. If you search “converting gallons to cubic feet” on Google, you will find the result. Knowing that one gallon is four quarts, you can divide your quarts by four to determine its level in gallons.

Organic Potting Mix vs. Inorganic Potting Mix

wood chip in a hand

 

Manufacturers make organic potting mixes from organic material like worm castings, compost, and bat guano. Non-organic potting mix is usually a combination of peat moss and wood chips. Inorganic mixes also sometimes use styrofoam.

Stick with organic whenever possible. While there are some interesting inorganic mixes out there, organic blends improve the soil. When planting in containers, this isn’t as much of a deal. However, if you want versatile potting soil, stay organic. 

Can You Use Potting Mix in your Garden?

image of soil, pot and a shovel in white backgroud

Because the potting mix is a mixture of organic compounds mixed by a person, it isn’t suitable for your garden. Even with raised gardening situations, you won’t be able to utilize potting mix to its full effectiveness. 

When looking for a soil mix for your garden, you should be looking for “garden soil” or plant food. Sometimes, you can mix your combination of compost, mulch, fertilizer, and regular soil. 

If you have a raised garden bed, you also have specific blends for those situations. If you are looking for a good soil mix for your entire vegetable garden, check our article on finding a good soil mix for your needs.

What are the Best Containers for Tomatoes?

a fruitful tomato plant

When choosing a container for tomatoes, you can select any standard pot. For easy transfer, you may consider fabric pots. However, the container size should be around two feet wide

A large container is only part one of supporting your tomatoes. You will also need a substantial stake or cage for your tomatoes to climb up. If you plan on leaving your tomatoes on the ground, pests are more likely to be able to get to them. When they climbed, problems have to navigate your natural defense mechanism.

On an excellent tomato cage for pots, consider the Gardener’s Blue Ribbon 5-Pack. They sell in packs, which makes them suitable for growing tomatoes in batches. 

How To Pick Potting Soil that Retains Water

two types od potting mix

Because different potting soils retain water differently, it’s vital to have an established watering schedule for your tomatoes ahead of schedule. 

You typically will need to water them with about an inch of water in the morning with young tomatoes. Potting soil may maintain moisture well, but containers are more likely to heat up, causing water evaporation. Otherwise, follow the instructions available on potting soil. 

If you have a container with a hole in it, the best kind, you should water until it runs through the bottom. At the beginning of every day, check your soil to see if it is still moist about an inch or two down. Good potting soil will retain that moisture for several days. 

How Do I Know if My Soil Should Go in a Container?

a sack of potting mix and a plants

Different soil types find based on how they are labeled. Sometimes they are labeled based on location:

  • Potting soil 
  • Raised bed soil
  • Gardening soil

They all sort of fit into the same category, but potting soil is typically loamy.  Loamy soils are a mix of clay, silt, sand, and it feels slightly damp. They also tend to be a bit more acidic, but you can address that by introducing sulfur (in small doses) to your plants. 

The Best Potting Soil Brands

We’ve gone through some major brands in the gardening industry with this review. Let’s take a closer look at them below:

Organic Plant Magic: Kevin Richardson founded Organic Plant Magic. Amazingly, he received inspiration from his time in Alaska, where he discovered the richness of nutrients in the region. 

Scotts’ Miracle-Gro:Miracle-Gro, specifically Scotts, is a company that has been in business for ages. They’ve been in the industry since 1868, so you can easily assume that they know what they’re doing.

Sun-Gro: Sun-Gro has been around since the 1920s, but they created the product we are familiar with during the 1980s. As a company with some longevity, Sun-Gro has seen a lot. 

Good Earth Organics: Roy Leon founded Good Earth Organics in 2008. Since then, they have proven themselves to be a solid eco-friendly company. 

Among the lot of them, there are a wide variety of experiences and skillsets. Regardless of how much experience they have, they all have a proven track record of providing excellent products. 

Tomato Soil FAQs

Below, we will go through some of the more common questions you might have when finding suitable soil for your tomatoes. 

Can You Reuse Soil from Tomato Plants?

Tomatoes are a high-energy plant, meaning they are known to deplete the soil. Do not expect to reuse soil that has been through tomato growth. If you plan to reuse that soil, be sure that it mixes with a good deal of nutritious compost, mulch, and fertilizer. 

Otherwise, you can reuse soil to line your garden, so the topsoil has a blanket of dark material on the top. Don’t forget to mix this with fertilizer to ensure that it also provides some level of nutrition

How To Transplant Tomatoes From Pots

Before you do this, be sure that your tomato needs to be transplanted. If the tomato is too big, you may end up killing it while snapping the root system. If your tomatoes are still not too far from seedlings, follow these instructions:

  1. Ensure that the soil you plant the tomato in is loose to about one foot of depth. 
  2. Mix compost into your chosen soil. 
  3. Using a garden hoe, shape the dirt until you have a gap in the ground that’s about four feet wide. 
  4. Plant the tiny tomato plants about four or five feet away from each other. Ensure they are positioned in such a way where they receive eight hours of sunlight.
  5. Gently loosen the tomato seedlings from their previous location. Place them so that only the topmost leaves are poking out. 
  6. Place a tomato spike around it so that it has somewhere to grow upward. 
  7. Water it, just as you would water it in the pot. 

These steps assume that you have already exposed your tomato plants to the sun. If not, take a few days before this to acclimate your tomato plants to the new sun exposure. If you use grow lights, don’t bother accommodating them. 

Stopping Blossom-End Rot: How Do You?

One of the most significant problems you run into with growing tomatoes is blossom-end rot. This plant disease causes your tomatoes to rot from the inside out. If you have experienced this problem, here are some quick tips to stop them:

  • Make sure the soil temperature of your pot  isn’t too high 
  • Ensure that your tomatoes are in soil with good acidity
  • Add calcium to your soil 
  • Do not over or underwater your plants
  • Do not work too close to the plant roots and expose them

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Wrap Up

As a reminder, our favorite potting soil for tomatoes is the Organic Plant Magic Compressed Organic Potting Soil. This soil is easy to store and provides excellent water absorption capabilities. As a result, these retain moisture and nutrients very well. With the right soil mixture, you can ensure to have the biggest, juiciest tomatoes grown on the lot. 

Our other options are excellent as well when it comes to planting health. While some may be a bit less compact, any of the choices we picked on this list will be suitable. Miracle-Gro is excellent if you want something more cost-effective. 

Thanks for reading up to this point. If you enjoyed any of the products on this list, we would appreciate it if you clicked on any of our affiliate links in this article. With them, we get paid and continue to create content for our readers. 

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