· Brent Wilson's Answer
· Hi Norma - This is a good question and one that probably has as many answers as there are folks who like to grow tomatoes and have their own special concoction they might swear is the best. But, to keep things simple, I'd suggest a mixture of bagged potting soil and bagged premium potting mix. When growing in containers, you don't want to use any native soil/dirt in the mixture. Well drained lighter mixes work best. I'd say to put a couple inches of gravel or small rocks in the bottom of the container as well.
You'll also want to make sure the pH balance of the soil is right. Tomato plants prefer a slightly acidic soil with a pH of 6.2 to 6.8. The term pH balance refers to acidity or the alkalinity of your soil from a numerical scale of 1.0 to 14.0. The neutral point on the pH scale is 7.0. Higher than 6.5 indicates alkaline soil, lower than that indicates acidic soil. Test kits are available at garden centers or through local horticultural organizations such as your Local Extension Service.
Many seasoned veteran tomato growers swear by epsom salts. Yes, the kind you by at the grocery store. Placing a tablespoon of epsom salts underneath the plant at planting time is said to help plants uptake essential nutrients, which keeps the plants healthier and more productive. The main ingredient in epsom salts is magnesium, which strengthens the plant cell walls, helping the plant to take in nutrients. It also helps with flower and fruit production of tomatoes and peppers. Some say to sprinkle a little more epsom salts around plants on a weekly basis.
Also, add a teaspon hydrated lime to each gallon of your potting soil mix. Hydrated lime is rich in calcium and is absolutely great for the tomatoes. This calcium prevents the blossoms from rotting later on down the line.
One of the best things you can do to grow the most flavorful tomatoes involves companion planting. This means planting plants side by side that get along or benefit each other in one way or another. There are several plants that are good companions for tomatoes but one actually improves the flavor. That plant is Basil. Not sure how it does this, but it does. It probably has something to do with keeping the tomato plant healthy. The aroma of basil deters many tomato pests so that the plant can concentrate on flowering and fruit production.
Here's a link to an article providing more details for growing tomatoes in containers:http://www.gardenality.com/Articles/124/Garden-Types/Container-Gardens/Growing-Tomatoes-In-Containers-And-Pots/Growing-Tomatoes-In-Containers-And-Pots.html
Hope this info was helpful.