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General discussion regarding the techniques and methods used to successfully grow tomato plants in containers.

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Old June 3, 2016   #1
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Posts: 3
Default How much Tomato Tone?

Hi! I'm new to this forum. I am planting tomatoes in 5 gallon buckets. This is the first time I have done buckets. Just got the plants into the buckets a few days ago. I'm using MG potting mix. My question is how much Tomato Tone should I put in each bucket? (Oh my, I wasn't prepared for the smell!) I'm also wondering about animal knocking over the buckets because of the TT. What do you suggest to keep animals away? I grew up with a ground garden of around fifty to sixty tomato plants. And I had a raised bed garden at another house. I have learned so much from this site! Thank you for your reply!
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Old June 3, 2016   #2
Cole_Robbie's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Illinois, zone 6
Posts: 8,407

I haven't used tomatotone with container plants. I will let someone else answer your question. I use Osmocote for my container plants. It is a time-release pelleted non-organic fertilizer. At the very least, it is immune from being eaten by wild animals.

Good luck with your plants.
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Old June 4, 2016   #3
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Plantation, Florida zone 10
Posts: 9,283

For a 5 gallon I would mix in about a cup, and after they put out a flower truss, a side dressing every 2 weeks worked into the soil near the rim, of a 1/4 cup should keep them happy.
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Old June 4, 2016   #4
WilburMartin's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 169

I put about 1.5 Tablespoons of Tomato Tone in the bottom of the hole in which I planted a pink Brandywine seedling a few weeks ago in a 5 gallon bucket - the seedling is flourishing. I made my own potting mix from Eco Scraps compost, some cheap ($1.25/bag) top soil, a base of about 4-5" of dead leaves, and compost I threw together as an experiment.

I am doing a lot of experimenting and learning this year - I just got really inspired. I have everything from clap pots, recycled shopping bags, 5 gallon buckets, and a bunch of different soil and fertilizer combinations. I am going to keep what is working for next year.

So far -
1) Jobe's organic spikes with some old potting soil have been great on a "Creole" and a "Patio" plants I bought from starts at WalMart and planted in big clay pots. Pots make these too heavy to move, so I will probably not use those again - although my Patio has the first two ripening tomatoes.
2) I quickly got Mortgage Lifter and Pink Brandywine heirloom seeds in and those are almost a foot high now - Tomato Tone and my first potting mix in 5 gallon buckets. Pink Brandywine seedlings have started very strong, but the Mortgage Lifter seedlings are catching up.It is probably about to get too hot for anything tomatoes to set/bloom in humid, hot Mississippi. Just be patient until September.
3)I have Sweet Carneros Pink and Berkeley Tie Dye seedlings (about 4" high) in 3" Jiffy pots. I am eventually going to transplant pairs of those into 18 gallon Sterilite plastic boxes. Using Eco Scraps potting mix with these.

With my 5 gallon buckets, I am experimenting with the drainage holes and water retention. I have 4 - 1/4" holes in the bottom of half of my buckets, and 4 - 1/4" holes about 1.5" up on the side of the buckets. I have about 6" of dead leaves in the bottom of the buckets and my soil mix above that. I am going to see if the leaves in the bottoms is good for holding water and maybe help my plants out on the side drainage holes when it gets overly hot - which will be soon.

With the 18 gallon containers, I believe I might try the side draining and leaves to see what might happen. I planted about 20 blue lake green beans in that set-up as an experiment, too.

and now, I'm rambling.
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Old June 4, 2016   #5
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 205

I used Plant-Tone for years, also Vegetable, Bio and Tomato-Tone, all of which are very similar.

The recommended amount is 1 part Tone to 25 parts soilless mix (4%). That would be 3.2 cups per 5 gallon bucket. But this will burn seedlings if you immediately plant in it. Water the mix and let it sit for a few weeks to a month before use. If you have already planted in your mix, top dress at the recommended rate for container diameter. Top it off with fresh worm castings or compost and it will become available much faster.

I personally think 1:25 is too high, and used 2 cups per cubic foot mix (~7.5 gal). I later moved to 1 C Tone plus 1/2 C kelp, 1/2 C alfalfa, before eliminating it completely to experiment with my own mixes.
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Old June 7, 2016   #6
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Posts: 3

Thank you everyone for your advice. The plants are looking good & several have set fruit even with the transfer to buckets. I have a drip water system coming this week. Fairly low cost to keep from watering twice a day in summer heat! Good growing everyone!
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Old June 10, 2016   #7
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Romania/Germany , z 4-6
Posts: 1,582

I personally don't think it's a very good idea to start with a lot of fertilizer added. Since your plants are already big, you're past that stage, but I would use something like 1-2 soup spoons per plant at planting, mixed with the soil around the plant (not the whole container).
I find that giving them too much early just delays flowering and generally fewer flowers seem to appear. I think once tomatoes start to form, is the moment to ramp up the fertilizing, like 1 spoon every 1-2 weeks.
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bucket , container garden , tomato tone

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