Tomatoes: Building soil for best tasting tomatoes

Olympia, WA(Zone 8b)

What do people think about what type of soil makes tomatoes taste best? (I'm thinking that much of a tomato's quality is attributed to variety, but also the growing medium). I have experimented a bit with various types of soil in which I grow tomatoes. Sometimes mushroom compost mixed with our sandy-loam topsoil which has been enhanced through the years; sometimes the topsoil mixed with aged horse manure; and once I put a few in large pots and used nitrogen fertilizer, but I never use that in my garden as I like to keep it organic. I also fertilize the tomatoes with Alaska fish fertilizer, or sometimes liquid kelp sprayed on foliage or high nitrogen bat guano mixed into the soil until they are producing fruit. I'm curious what others think about this. What works best for you? Carolyn, Melody...you still out there?

(Zone 6a)

I have raised tomatoes in various soils, and soiless mediums, and I can't honestly say I have seen any differences in flavor. This includes growing in 100% aged horse manure to 100% clay soil, and everything in between:)

Owen

Benton, KY(Zone 7a)

I haven't experimented much with different soils. My tomatoes are grown on a rotating basis in my veggie garden and it pretty much gets the same treatment....cow manure in the fall,compost in the spring and I turn the newspaper and straw mulch under each fall also. The tomatoes get manure tea during the growing season.

I've heard that commercial chemical fertilizers will affect the taste,but since I don't use those,I couldn't give an opinion.

I garden on 4 acres and have a traditional veggie garden,but do put a few special edibles in flowerbeds and pots.

It's an interesting thought Pala,but unless we experiment with several soils in the same growing season,it would be hard to come to any conclusions.

I do know that I had a tomato 2 seasons ago that I just hated.A variety called Zomok from Hungary.It was rock hard and had all the taste of a mid-January supermarket tennis ball.I figured that it was a greenhouse type that they forced for winter use. I'd given my Uncle Joe some plants and he lives about 20 miles from me,but with soil that was once the Tennessee River bed. He raved about the Zomoks and couldn't believe that I despised them. He's also a 'conventional' gardener who gets his fertilizer in bags from the co-op...go figure. I just wished that I'd made him bring me some of his harvest so I could compare.

As I supply him with plants each season,I think I'll insist on a side by side taste test this summer.

Spring Hill, FL(Zone 9a)

The other thing is that individual tastes vary so much. I know I don't care for several varieties that get many raves here at Dave's...i.e. Sungold and Cherokee Purple. So to compare You would have to have a panel of judges or some such arrangement.

(Zone 6a)

I would rather have the 4 acres and to heck with taste. lol

I only have four raised beds for my veggie gardens...a total of 246 sq. ft.

Owen

Benton, KY(Zone 7a)

Individual tastes do vary,and what is scrumptious to one will be horrid to another.That's another varible that would have to be taken into consideration. My Uncle Joe and I usually have the same tastes in tomatoes,so it really surprised me that he liked the Zomoks.He likes the big Potato Leafed pinks the best,with Cherokee Purple close behind,so I was pretty shocked that he singled out these pitiful things.

On a little different tangent...Zomoks have the oddest foliage.Tiny,fleshy,heart shaped leaves that look almost decorative.

Spring Hill, FL(Zone 9a)

Hi Owen. I have 17 acres of property at the NY home but grow veggies,including tomatoes,on about a 1/4 acre plot. Any more would be too much work per reward.

Benton, KY(Zone 7a)

Owen,you are most welcome to come down and mow my 4 acres every week...heh heh heh...

I have a garden plot of about 1/2 acre...haven't measured it lately...if I run out of room...I just disc up some more.Here lately,I've decided it's easier to mow than weed...so I've tried to keep everything at about the same size.

(Zone 6a)

You furnish the riding mower:) LOL

Benton, KY(Zone 7a)

Got a 21.5 HP garden tractor with a 56" cut.I've named it 'Silver'

Neighbors call me the Lawn Ranger.

(Zone 6a)

LOL I can just picture you shaving the grass with it:)
Should be a fast job with that size cut though....but you should consider planting all that acreage in brugs and then selling the cuttings on e-bay:)

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