Amendments for Non-SWC Container Tomatoes

homegardenpaJune 21, 2010

I had some extra plants this year and I wanted to try them out in containers since I had reasonable success with one in a container last season. Despite not being in an SWC, the plants I tried last season did really well with minimal maintenance and watering like once a week, maybe, since we got so much rain and had cooler than usual temps.

Well, this season, so far, is completely opposite. Last year was much cooler temps and rain every 2-3 days, this year is 2 weeks without significant rain and temps up in the 85-95 range. I need to soak my container plants at least every 3 days and I'm beginning to feel that the frequent waterings may be leaching out a lot of nutrients. The plants in the containers Isis Candy, Jaune Flamme, and Black Cherry and all are already over 6 feet tall and loaded with fruit; They're doing great, and I want to keep it that way.

I was thinking that with the additional watering / fertilizing, it may be advisable to add some epsom salts and maybe some lime - does anyone more familiar with container growing have any experience with this? If so, are there any recommendations on amounts or rates of application? I'd estimate the containers are about 18 gallons each hold about 2.5-3 cu ft. potting mix.

Thanks in advance.

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I've used the Aggrand natural fertilizer and liquid lime with good results in my containers. Follow the instructions on the bottles and apply once or twice a week for the fertilizer and the lime every two weeks. Ami

Here is a link that might be useful: Aggrand Fertilizer

    Bookmark   June 21, 2010 at 3:00PM
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Ok, thanks for the recommendation. The liquid-lime would definitly be better than the granulated stuff I have, well, at least it would be absorbed a little faster.

Have you ever watered with or foliar-fed with epsom salt or do you think it's not needed? I just figured that it might benefit from some supplemental magnesium since I've heard it can leach easily with regular watering.

I don't add any epsom salt to my garden plantings, but I believe they are fine with what's available to them and only get watered deeply once a week, plus being in the ground they access to a lot more than what my container plants do.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2010 at 3:25PM
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Normally I foliar feed with Blackstrap Molasses at a rate of 1 Tbls per gallon and use as a liquid drench at the same rate. As Molasses has a NPK of 1-0-5 plus Calcium as well as Magnesium, potash, Sulfur and many trace minerals I don't think you will need epsom salts. Ami

    Bookmark   June 22, 2010 at 9:48AM
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Geesh, I've been growing in containers for years and never heard of liquid lime until now! Where have I been? That would solve a lot of problems.

Anyway, I water the containers everyday. And give liquid fert (just tomato miracle-grow, actually) every 2 weeks and seaweed/fish emulsion the opposite every 2 weeks. After the plants first set a bunch of fruit, I put a dash of epsom salts on the top of the container. I had over 400 lbs last year, all from containers on my deck, from following this prescription.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2010 at 12:57AM
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Ok, thanks all for the recommendations. Going to add a shot of liquid-lime as soon as I can get it. Temperatures are soaring today, going to be up in the mid 90s, at temps like this, I'll need to be watering just about everyday. I'll fit the lime in as soon as I can and I think I have some miracle-gro organic fertilizer lying around - supposedly derived from molasses - I can give it a shot of that as well in addition to the fish / seaweed emulsion I've been using.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2010 at 12:09PM
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