Tomatoes are one of the most popular fruits or vegetables to grow in home gardens. They’ve gained their popularity largely because of how diverse they are. You can use tomatoes in salsa, pasta sauce, pizza sauce, BLTs, and much more. Another reason they’re so popular is that you can decide how big or small you want your tomato plant to be and even grow them in containers inside your home.
There are many important aspects to successfully planting and growing tomatoes at home, but the soil you choose is at the top of the list. If you’re new to gardening and don’t know where to start with soil selection, you’ve come to the right place. This article will examine the best soil for tomatoes and what to look for when choosing your soil.
The Best Soil for Tomatoes
Best Overall Soil for Tomatoes
Fox Farms Ocean Forest Organic Potting Soil
If you’re looking for the best soil for tomatoes that money can buy, look no further than Ocean Forest Organic Potting Soil from Fox Farms. Like most great tomato soil, Ocean Forest is a sandy loam soil with a mixture of peat moss and composted bark. It also has the preferred pH level of between 6.3 and 6.8 and offers excellent drainage.
The thing that sets Ocean Forest apart from the competition is the combination of extra ingredients that are thrown into the mix. Rather than the typical chicken manure that gets used as a filler, this product has natural ingredients for optimal nutrition. Bat guano, aka bat poop, fish byproducts, crab byproducts, and, most importantly, earthworm castings are all used in this soil.
The unique combination of ingredients, the soil composition, and the pH level make this product from Fox Farms the best soil for tomatoes. It’s also readily available, and you can buy up to 10 bags at a time!
Runner-Up for Best Soil for Tomatoes
Miracle-Gro Potting Soil
Whether or not you have previous gardening experience, you’ve probably heard of Miracle-Gro. They’re a leading brand in potting soils and fertilizers of all sorts, and they take the runner-up spot on our list. Miracle-Gro Potting Soil Mix is a solid choice for all plants, but it especially gets close to being the best soil for tomatoes.
One of the reasons that Miracle-Gro Potting Soil is so popular and successful is because they have trace amounts of fertilizer included in this potting soil. Essentially, it’s the best of both worlds in that it’s soil but with fertilizer already added in, saving you an extra step in the planting process. Rather than having a sandy loam soil composition, this product from Miracle-Gro opts for mostly peat moss and perlite with coconut coir mixed in.
Another advantage that Miracle-Gro Potting Soil Mix has over the competition is its affordability. It’s less than half the price of many of its competitors, which makes it ideal for new growers or gardeners on a budget. So, if these are your first tomato plants and you’re not sure if you want to invest a ton of money into them, Miracle-Gro Potting Soil is an ideal starter soil.
Best Organic Soil for Tomatoes
Black Gold Organic Potting Soil
While organic soil tends to be slightly pricier than other products, it’s the preferred and best soil for tomatoes according to many home gardeners. Organic soils have no synthetic fillers or unnatural additives and are usually the healthiest, purest, and most eco-friendly soils for tomato plants. If you’re willing to spend the extra money, investing in a bag of Black Gold Organic Potting Soil is well worth it.
Black Gold Potting Soil is 100% organic and contains zero synthetic materials, GMOs, or other artificial products. Rather than these chemicals and toxic ingredients, Black Gold uses earthworm castings, compost, and forest humus as its nutritional additives. The soil itself consists primarily of loam and peat moss, with perlite and pumice added in.
This combination of soil ingredients makes for superb drainage, a strong support system for root growth, and water retention during dry patches. While this organic soil will cost double or triple what non-organic soil does, it’s worth the price if you want to grow your tomatoes in the purest form.
Best Soil for Tomatoes in Dry Areas
Espoma Organic Potting Mix
If you live in a warm, dry area, if you want the best soil for tomatoes you can get, you need potting soil that holds on to moisture for longer periods. In that case, the best soil for tomatoes in your area is Epsoma Organic Potting Mix. The soil base used in this Epsoma product is peat moss, which holds onto moisture better than sandy loam and other types of soil. Because it’s a potting mix, fertilizers and nutrients are already added into the soil.
Epsoma uses an interesting blend of nutrients in their potting mixes. While they use classic ingredients such as earthworm castings and limestone, they have a signature ingredient, Myco-tone. Essentially, Myco-tone is a blend of eleven different types of mushrooms that are added together for optimal nutrition.
The unique combination of soil and nutrients, plus the fact that this soil can drain well or hold onto moisture when necessary, makes it the best soil for tomatoes in dry areas. However, Espoma Organic Potting Mix is an excellent choice for your tomatoes, even if you live in a humid area.
Best Soil for Tomatoes in Pots
Espoma Tomato-Tone Organic Plant Food
If you live in an apartment or house where you don’t have the luxury of outside space and need to grow your tomatoes in pots, you should consider Espoma Tomato-Tone Organic Plant Food. Like the Espoma product we just looked at, Tomato-Tone Organic Plant Food is 100% organic with no synthetic fillers or GMOs.
In addition to how pure and natural it is, Tomato-Tone Organic Plant Food is a soil/fertilizer mix explicitly designed for tomatoes. It has all the necessary ingredients and components it takes to help your potted tomatoes grow tall and strong. In addition to bountiful harvests, this plant food has also been proven to help prevent potentially fatal tomato diseases such as Blossom End Rot.
If you’re looking for an organic option that’s the best soil for tomatoes in pots and containers, you’ll have a hard time finding a better choice than Espoma Tomato-Tone Organic Plant Food.
What to Look for When Choosing the Best Soil for Tomatoes
Type of Soil
When you start digging into the different types of potting soils you have to choose from, there are a ton! You have everything from bark-based to sand-based to moss-based and everything in between. However, if growing tomatoes is your main objective, the best soil for tomatoes is anything with a sandy-loam base. Sandy-loam soil tends to drain better than other soil types, which is crucial for tomato plants.
However, if you live in dry areas, you may want to opt for soil with a peat-moss base because it has better moisture retention.
Like all plants, tomatoes need a healthy supply of nutrients to survive and thrive. While the three main ingredients to look for with tomato soil and fertilizer are phosphorous, potassium, and nitrogen, your plant will need more nutrients to survive. Soils with natural additives such as earthworm castings, Myco-tone, compost, and hummus will support and feed your tomato plants better than synthetic fillers.
Depending on where you live, you will need moisture retention, excellent drainage, or a combination of both. Choosing the right soil that delivers the amount of retention or drainage you need will determine your plant’s health.
For optimal growth and performance, the best soil for tomatoes should have a pH level between 6 and 7, with 6.5 being perfect.
Wrapping Up The Best Soil for Tomatoes
As you can see, choosing the best soil for tomatoes based on your budget and where you live is no walk in the park. In addition to the factors listed above, you also have to consider organic vs. inorganic and whether or not you want to use the same soil with all your plants. Although it’s tricky, you can be sure to have one of the top tomato soils available by using our buying guide and selecting an option from this article. Happy growing!
Excited for more tomato content? Then visit our tomato page for growing tips, comprehensive guides, and tasty recipes!
- About the Author
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Jalin Coblentz was born and raised in northeast Ohio in the heart of farming country and grew up working in the family garden growing corn, tomatoes, potatoes, and a wide range of vegetables.
Canning and preservation were also a way of life for Jalin growing up, and he spent countless hours helping his mother, grandmother, and aunts with these duties. It’s now his passion to share his skills and knowledge with others to help them achieve their own growing goals.