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

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Old 1 Week Ago   #1
SharonRossy
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Default Another question about fertilizing

While it is technically not a container, I am growing tomatoes in raised bed. Each one is 10 feet by 4 ft and about 20 inches deep. They were built on top of a soil bed, no landscape cloth and each one is filled with Pro-Mix BX.

The tomatoes are doing well. At plant time, I added a granular fert, along with some lime and a bit of epsom salt. I continue to add a water soluble fert, half strength along with some Cal-Mag, every week to ten days.

My question is this: are there recommended granular and water soluble fertilizers for growing in this medium? I am asking because organic, slow release granular ferts are not for container growing for the obvious reason they do not have the necessary microbes to work on them.

So I just want to make sure I am on track here. I am going to be using MG 18-18-24 water soluble fert. Pro Mix now makes one, but not sure if I would want to use it. Also, I have had a hard time ordering Texas Tomato Food from Canada.
Any help would be recommended.
Thanks, Sharon
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Old 1 Week Ago   #2
zipcode
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Anything will work, of course, but you should take something with microelements included. Organic stuff will work too. I have used organic in pots until now and the nutrients are definitely there. Adding some mycorrhiza or stuff should help probably.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #3
RayR
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A lot of organic granular ferts com with some microbe spores to do the nutrient cycling and protect the plant. Of course it's easy to add a greater consortium of beneficial bacteria, mycorrhizal and Trichoderma fungi. It's absolute magic how easy you can grow organically in containers by mimicking natures methods.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #4
Cole_Robbie
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Standard practice near me is to alternate calcium nitrate and 4-18-38. Magnesium is typically the first micro deficiency to appear.

Depending on the amount of granular that you used, you may have put in plenty of NPK already. The nitrogen will be the first element of the NPK to be washed away by rain. I'd go light on the chem ferts and watch for leaf curl or other signs of over-fertilization.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #5
SharonRossy
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Everything looks very healthy. I bought a water soluble by Pro Mix which has mycorrhiza in it and it states that it is for indoor and outdoor and that it is organic based. I will be using that as my water soluble fertilizer instead of MG, because if I'm growing in Pro Mix, then I'm assuming they made a fertilizer that works with pro mix. it's NPK is 20-8-8. I was concerned the N was too high. But I will use it at half strength and alternate with Cal-Mag. Anyways, I'll see how the next couple of weeks progress. And yes the granular fertilizer has micro nutrients along with mycorrihiza added which is why I wasn't concerned until reading another post. It's easy to over fertilize in containers as we try to make sure that we aren't under fertilizing!
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Old 1 Week Ago   #6
bower
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Sharon, I just bought and started using a soluble "Organic based" Promix for "tomatoes vegetables and fruit" and it is 9-16-16. The one with the higher nitrogen is probably intended for leafy greens and root vegs?

According to the container it is "mycoactive" some trademarked exclusive combination of "ingredients" and "components" ie they're not saying, exactly. Besides the NPK it has calcium, iron, manganese, zinc, copper and boron listed for guaranteed minimum analysis, and organic matter at 29%.

I just applied for the first time yesterday at half strength with some extra watering, due to the high heat and dry conditions which they caution. I didn't see a bump in fruit size or anything as I usually see when I applied chicken manure, but the plants seemed less stressed by the heat. Will be giving them more in a day or two.

This stuff is expensive so I hope it turns out to be perfect fantastic etc and goes a long way....
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Old 1 Week Ago   #7
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20-8-8 is really too high N for tomatoes.
What kind of Cal-Mag is that? There are tons of types, some being dolomite, other a mixture of Ca and Mg nitrate. In the latter case, that's also a high source of N.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #8
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I dont think any fertilizer is right or wrong for anything, it depends on what is available in the soil.

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Old 6 Days Ago   #9
SharonRossy
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Bower, the one you bought does not seem to be available in Montreal. At least I haven't seen it. I bought the 20-8-8 at Canadian Tire. They also have a granular one. The description of yours is similar to mine in terms of nutrients- ratios may be different. The one I bought has 25% organic matter. I am going to try to see if I can order the other one. I will say this, my two in ground tomato plants liked it a lot. I did just fertilize with it at half strength two days ago and the plants look very healthy and appeared to have grown and producing a bit more fruit.

Zipcode - I know it seems high but I am growing in Pro Mix and with the watering, I'm thinking the high N will wash out, and I am using half strength.
In terms of the Cal Mag, its 2.3-0-0. 2.3% Nitrate Nitrogen, 3.49% Calcium, 1.29% Magnesium, .06 chelated iron. Again, I have only applied it twice and at half strength.
Worth - thanks for that. Gives me more confidence to try and not make myself crazy.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #10
bower
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Well Worth is right, it all depends on what's in the soil to begin with, so if your plants are responding the way you want them to, that's what matters!

I've seen my mom get a great crop of slicers from a container plant just using fish emulsion, that is highest in N, some P and no K.

I'm personally a little paranoid this year about the K situation for my plants after two years of K deficiency issues and two changes of the container soil, not sure I got it right. I used more peat than compost and I didn't see the kind of fruit growth I expected. The plants responded well to the 5-4-3 chicken manure product and extra compost but roots were to the surface in a week. So I wanted a fert that is soluble organic and meant for tomatoes, this is the only soluble thing I could find.
Today I watered early in the morning, and then diluted the stuff to full strength and applied that mid morning, also a good bit more than the first time, so we shall see if there's a noticeable response. I do think N plays a role in getting a good fruit size, so if this doesn't produce some fruit growth I may try alternating with fish emulsion for the N punch, as I think I have a small bit of it left.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bower View Post
Well Worth is right, it all depends on what's in the soil to begin with, so if your plants are responding the way you want them to, that's what matters!

I've seen my mom get a great crop of slicers from a container plant just using fish emulsion, that is highest in N, some P and no K.

I'm personally a little paranoid this year about the K situation for my plants after two years of K deficiency issues and two changes of the container soil, not sure I got it right. I used more peat than compost and I didn't see the kind of fruit growth I expected. The plants responded well to the 5-4-3 chicken manure product and extra compost but roots were to the surface in a week. So I wanted a fert that is soluble organic and meant for tomatoes, this is the only soluble thing I could find.
Today I watered early in the morning, and then diluted the stuff to full strength and applied that mid morning, also a good bit more than the first time, so we shall see if there's a noticeable response. I do think N plays a role in getting a good fruit size, so if this doesn't produce some fruit growth I may try alternating with fish emulsion for the N punch, as I think I have a small bit of it left.
raised bed like ...situation ....sounds like a job for some

mid season side dressing of 1) fish meal and 2) Kelp meal ...

for all the good stuff including micro nutrients to treat the toms ...
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Old 6 Days Ago   #12
RayR
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bower View Post
Well Worth is right, it all depends on what's in the soil to begin with, so if your plants are responding the way you want them to, that's what matters!

I've seen my mom get a great crop of slicers from a container plant just using fish emulsion, that is highest in N, some P and no K.

I'm personally a little paranoid this year about the K situation for my plants after two years of K deficiency issues and two changes of the container soil, not sure I got it right. I used more peat than compost and I didn't see the kind of fruit growth I expected. The plants responded well to the 5-4-3 chicken manure product and extra compost but roots were to the surface in a week. So I wanted a fert that is soluble organic and meant for tomatoes, this is the only soluble thing I could find.
Today I watered early in the morning, and then diluted the stuff to full strength and applied that mid morning, also a good bit more than the first time, so we shall see if there's a noticeable response. I do think N plays a role in getting a good fruit size, so if this doesn't produce some fruit growth I may try alternating with fish emulsion for the N punch, as I think I have a small bit of it left.
Potassium is one of the most plentiful nutrients around but if you are having issues with K deficiency in containers it's either a real deficiency or it's an induced deficiency. K competes with magnesium and calcium and even too much N may limit uptake of K and other nutrients in some circumstances.
If you think you have a real K deficiency, Potassium Sulfate, Potassium Magnesium Sulfate are soluble natural sources. Soluble Kelp Powder is also high in K since it was hydrolyzed with Potassium Hydroxide.
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Old 5 Days Ago   #13
bower
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No it shouldn't be a 'real' K deficiency - even past two years was 'induced' by some several conditions (too cold... not enough sun...compacted soil... etc). which shouldn't be a problem except for possibly some overcrowding. I have one plant that hasn't set anything yet and I have shuffled the plants and moved some outdoors to try and give it enough light. Others are doing very well with lots of fruit setting.
The slow fruit growth is more likely due to low nutrients overall and could as well be remedied by a dose of N, in fact the 5-4-3 chicken manure had immediate effects, it just isn't soluble and I wanted something formulated for tomatoes instead of just going with fish. Mainly because K deficiency tomatoes were so disappointing.
I am a little jealous that the same plants I'm growing have more and larger and more uniform sized fruit setting in the greenhouse at the farm, while the plants are half the size. Have yet to figure out exactly all the whys that is, but my plants are basically under ground while theirs are on a hill... My results are closer to theirs when I put the plants outdoors, even in containers.
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Old 5 Days Ago   #14
SharonRossy
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Bower, MG makes a 18-18-20 (I think that's the ratio) with micronutrients that's water soluble for tomatoes. I've had good luck with it in the past as well as the granular 9-3-6 with slow release because the granular has calcium and magnesium. That one I used at plant out. I am making a really conscious effort this year not to over fertilize because I always worry about lack of nutrients growing in a soilless mix. So far everything looks really healthy. The weather has been so nuts - now it's humid and of course cloudy. Anyways I'm hoping the Pro Mix works well because frankly I don't want to have to buy another fertilizer. Plus it was expensive!
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