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New to growing your own tomatoes? This is the forum to learn the successful techniques used by seasoned tomato growers. Questions are welcome, too.

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Old February 16, 2011   #1
tgplp
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Default Using fish fertilizer?

I just bought a bottle of fish fertilizer because I heard of someone using it to fertilize their "older" seedlings to help speed up growth. Also, my seedlings don't grow very fast (they are 3 weeks old and only have two true leaves and a tiny one on the way). So when and how do you use fish fertilizer?

Thanks!

Taryn
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Old February 17, 2011   #2
RinTinTin
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The most popular "fish" is Neptune's Harvest, but since you are in the PNW, you most likely have Alaska Fisherman's. They are both pretty much the same. There should be instructions on the label, read it. Three weeks is kind of early to be feeding viable seed, but if you feel it is necessary, I'd suggest using about ½ strength of what they recommend (they're trying to get you to use more so you run out sooner). Good, viable seed is born with a supply of food/energy, and should not need feeding prior to potting up stage...2 sets of true leaves...but, a little won't hurt. A mild solution of 'fish' shouldn't burn tender roots.
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Old February 17, 2011   #3
RayR
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Taryn, you didn't say what kind of seedlings you are growing this time of year.
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Old February 17, 2011   #4
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This might not be to important but here goes, Home Deopt here sells the Alaska fish fertility by Libby, Neptunes Harvest is made very close to me here, Gloucester, Ma.
The Alaskan one is not organic even thought they have the ORMI name on the front, they were taken off the list last year i read about this. 1 bottle broke in Home Depot, unbelievable nasty smell all the worker could not believe it. This year they have new package with less smell look at there website, but still have the logo ORMI. Neptunes Harvest it on the ORMI list still, as truly organic.I use Coast of Maine compost also which is organic.
http://www.coastofmaine.com/
http://www.lillymiller.com/alaska.html
I see here on this website now they do not mention ORMI or organic, small bottle in Hone Depot is $7.99 with old designed label.
http://www.neptunesharvest.com/hydro...ertilizer.html
The small bottle 1 qt is sold around here for $12.99 plenty for 2 years
the prices on there website are high they do not have a store, i called them once 14 for a bottle if i drove up to them 10 miles north.
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Old February 17, 2011   #5
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Ok, thanks. Yes, I have the Alaskan one. And I thought it was organic!

By the way, these are tomato seedlings.

Thanks!
Taryn
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Old February 17, 2011   #6
RayR
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"3 weeks old and only have two true leaves"
Are they getting enough light and is the soil warm enough?
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Old February 17, 2011   #7
fortyonenorth
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I wouldn't attach too much importance to "organic" especially with regard to fish fertilizer. "Organic" can be misleading and, from what I understand, OMRI certification is not free. Some vendors may choose to follow organic principles while not seeking OMRI approval. "Organic" does not necessarily equate to "good" and non-organic (or non-OMRI) doesn't necessarily equate to "not good." Case in point: new vs. old Tomato-Tone. I think everyone agrees that the "new" TT is not as good as the "old" TT. I believe the manufacturer reformulated the fertilizer in order to make it "organic" because that's what the market now demands.


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Originally Posted by tgplp View Post
Ok, thanks. Yes, I have the Alaskan one. And I thought it was organic!
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Old February 17, 2011   #8
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I agree, i red something about how they make this, i remember that the Alaskan the fish is treated, maybe heating to much.
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Old February 17, 2011   #9
les matzek
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i have very good luck with maxicrop liquid kelp i use it to germnate all my
seedlings and to grow for the first 4 weeks at i teaspoon per gallon with
every watering, after 4 weeks i start to use folage pro and pro tekit at
3/8 teaspoon per gallon with every watering, good luck.

les
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Old February 19, 2011   #10
dice
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I do not have Alaska Fish Fertilizer fish emulsion this year
(finished gallon jug last year), but I have used it on both
seedlings and plants (for a nitrogen boost at transplant and
if plants are showing any nitrogen deficiency during the season)
without problems. For seedlings, I mixed it at 1 tsp per gallon
and used it every couple of weeks, bottom watering and letting
the seedling containers soak it up.

Alaska Fish Fertilizer fish emulsion from Lilly Miller is 5-1-1,
a less balanced fertilizer than Neptune's Harvest or
Drammatic fish emulsions. My understanding is that
the Alaska Fish Fertilizer brand is made from cannery fish
scrap, while the Neptune's Harvest and Drammatic brands
are made from whole fish, which apparently has higher
phosporous and potassium content. (I do not think a 5-1-1
NPK balance is suitable to be the only fertilizer for tomatoes
for the whole season.)

As far as I know the Alaska Fish Fertilizer fish emulsion product
is all fish products, though, and it does have the many trace
elements found in fish emulsions and fish meals. I would guess
that most people that use it on tomatoes all season have other
sources of phosphorus and potassium in their soil or container
mix and are not depending on the Alaska Fish Fertilizer for the
plants' entire supply of those nutrients.

(That "all fish" composition of the Alaska Fish Fertilizer
fish emulsion is not true of the Alaska Fish Fertilizer Morbloom
product though, which contains added phosphoric acid and
muriate of potash in addition to whatever fish emulsion it
contains.)

The seedlings seem to do ok with the fish emulsion,
although you can end up with a lot of plant with not
much of a root ball on occasion if the seedling mix has
stayed very moist from sprouting to transplant. Adding
some kelp meal to the seed-starting mix or liquid kelp
to the fish emulsion stimulates root elongation and
produces more robust seedlings than the fish emulsion
alone.

The Neptune's Harvest and Drammatic brands are a more
balanced fertilizer that you can use from transplant to harvest
as the plants' only fertilizer source without ending up with
a nitrogen-heavy nutrient balance. (Those brands are not
commonly found on store shelves in the Pacific Northwest,
and they cost more, too.)
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Last edited by dice; February 21, 2011 at 05:39 AM. Reason: trivial; Libby -> Lilly Miller
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Old February 19, 2011   #11
fortyonenorth
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Dice - I posted another thread about Drammatic, but I'll ask here since you mentioned it: Have you used Drammatic One with the added Chilean nitrate and Fulvic acid? If you have, I'd be interested in your thoughts.
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Old February 19, 2011   #12
FILMNET
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Great answer Dice
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Old February 19, 2011   #13
dice
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Quote:
Have you used Drammatic One with the added Chilean nitrate and Fulvic acid?
No, I have not used that. I think Ami or some other poster
from Germany once mentioned using the Drammatic fish
emulsion with good results (perhaps at another forum),
but Drammatic One sounds like a fairly new product.
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Old February 19, 2011   #14
WillysWoodPile
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I bought some Fish-Mix by Bio Bizz. It's 2 - 0.2 - 6.6 but I was told a 2 - 3 - 1 is better. I have not used it yet as I am waiting for seeds to sprout and get true leaves.
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Old February 20, 2011   #15
dice
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What is best depends a lot on the soil or container mix.

Old Tomato-Tone's 4-7-9 was considered near perfect
for tomatoes by many, but if you had a container mix
or soil with a lot of sawdust or woodshavings in it, for
example, bacteria digesting the wood fiber would end
up using a lot of the nitrogen, making it unavailable to
the plants, which would probably show nitrogen deficiency
symptoms. In topsoil and compost or in a container mix
that is mostly peat or coir, you do not get that effect,
and most of the nitrogen in whatever fertilizer you use
is available to the plants. (The 5-1-1 of Alaska Fish Fertilizer
fish emulsion would end up something like 1-1-1 or .5-1-1
as far as the plants are concerned in a growing medium with
a lot of high-carbon materials like wood fiber, undigested
straw, etc).

As for Fish-Mix, I would expect that 2-3-3 or 2-3-4 would be
better. Mix in some bone meal, fish bone meal, high-phosphate
guano, rock phosphate, or superphosphate with the Fish-Mix,
and you have a good balance for vegetables like tomatoes.

Fish-Mix by itself sounds like it would be good for vegetables
that are prone to bolting in hot weather where the part of
the plant that you harvest to eat are leafy greens. (You really
do not want to stimulate flowering with abundant phosphorous
in their growing media with crops where early bolting is an
occasional problem.)
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Last edited by dice; February 21, 2011 at 05:46 AM. Reason: spelling
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