This is a guide to help you identify the best soil for growing tomatoes in the raised bed.
I have used my own experience of growing tomatoes and research articles, books, and excerpts from gardening books to develop this.
- Best Soil For Tomatoes In Raised Bed
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Soil For Tomatoes In Raised Bed
Tomatoes are one of the popular plants to grow in my raised garden bed.
One of the crucial factors in determining the tomato growth in the raised bed is the kind of soil you use in them. Tomatoes require well-drained, rich in nutrients, acidic, and fertile soil packed with organic matter. It prefers well-drained sandy loam soil with good water-holding capacity and aeration.
It requires a pH range of 5.5 to 7.0 and a soil depth of about 20-50cm. You may test your soil to determine if it is appropriate for growing tomatoes.
If your soil pH is high, you may lower it by adding sulfate, and if your soil pH is low, add work lime to raise soil pH.
Now, let us discuss different soil types for growing tomatoes in a raised garden bed.
1. Loamy Soil
Loamy soil is fine-textured soil best suited for growing tomatoes in a raised bed. It has a great structure with adequate drainage and moisture-retaining qualities.
An ideal soil for growing tomatoes in a raised bed is loamy soil rich in humus.
It has a combination of sand, silt, and clay in the approximate ratio of 4:4:2. It has a better soil structure than other soils.
Advantages Of Loamy Soil
Loamy soil retains nutrients well and allows water to flow adequately. Also, they are soft and easy to crumble, which makes them easy to till and work.
They do not dry up during the summer.
How To Use Loamy soil?
Blend the loam soil with additional organic matter, including worm castings, compost, or forest products, to promote moisture retention.
After adding to the raised bed, let the soil surface dry to about a half-inch deep between watering.
2. Sandy Loamy Soil
Sandy loamy soil is preferable for growing tomatoes in a raised garden bed. It has both water retention and drainage properties but may need amendments.
Many gardeners suggest using sandy loam soil for growing tomatoes in a raised garden bed. It is a loam soil with high sand content and medium texture.
But, they contain clay and sediment to provide structure. If squeezed between thumb and finger, they will fall apart.
Advantages Of Sandy Loamy Soil
The sandy loamy soil provides air around the roots to reduce disease risk.
It is capable of draining excess water but can still retain water.
How To Use Sandy Loamy Soil?
Like loam soil, they could be mixed with worm castings or cow manure to improve moisture retention and provide additional nutrients.
You may incorporate a two to four-inch layer of organic matter.
3. Premade Raised Garden Bed Soil
If your garden soil is of poor quality, you may try commercially available premade soil mix to grow tomatoes in the garden. They have reduced susceptibility to diseases or pathogens.
Premade ready-to-use raised garden bed can also be used. It will provide the right percentage of nutrients that your tomato plant needs.
You may also blend them with compost to improve it. It is preferable to use organic mixes free of synthetic ingredients.
I have listed some of the raised garden bed soil available in the market
Table: Types of Raised Garden Soil
|Ready Made Mix
|Nature’s Care Organic Raised Bed Soil
|Contains alfalfa meal, bone meal, earthworm castings, and kelp meal.
|Miracle-Gro Raised Bed Soil
|Has alfalfa meal, earthworm castings, and peat moss.
|Kellogg Premium Outdoor Potting Mix
|With added fertilizers, earthworm castings, poultry manure, and kelp meal.
|Perfect Plants Planting Mix
|Blend of soil with sphagnum peat moss and pine bark
Advantages Of Premade Soil Mix
Most of these premade soil mixes are packed with amendments and nutrients that help in improving the soil quality and having a higher yield. They will be sterilized and free of weeds and pathogens.
How To Use Premade Soil Mix?
Follow the instructions on the label. Get the raised bed soil to fill the estimated depth of the raised bed. Rake the soil smoothly. The tomatoes can be planted deeply.
If you are interested in preparing the soil for growing tomatoes in a raised bed, check out this video:
Frequently Asked Questions
No, it is preferable to avoid growing tomatoes in sandy soil as it does not retain nutrients for plant growth and fruiting. Also, calcium gets leached out of sandy soils. However, it can be improved by adding two to three inches of compost for better water and nutrient retention.
No, you can not grow tomatoes in high-clay soil as it may limit the root growth and warm slowly in the spring. They become hard and firm when dry which prevents water and air from entering the soil. Clay soil can be improved over time using compost and top dressing with worm-friendly mulch, including straw.
Silt soil may be used to grow tomatoes. But, they have high water-retaining nature like clay soil. So, you may have to add organic matter to your silt soil to improve its lack of drainage abilities. Some gardeners have tried silty loamy soil with organic matter to grow tomatoes.
Hopefully, this has provided you with information on choosing suitable soil for growing tomatoes in your garden.
I am interested to hear about your experiences using various soil types for tomatoes.
Do share the guide with others if you find them useful!