Return to the Growing Tomatoes Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Help me save this poor plant

Posted by Battalina 6b (My Page) on
Wed, Jun 13, 12 at 21:00

A friend of mine gave me a sun gold cherry tomato plant, which she brought from her newphew's nursery in NY. She didn't get around to bring it to me for over a month and kept it in the original container ( a small about 5"x5" container). When she finally gave it to me the plant was looking very sad, but was almost two feet tall with very few leaves. The bottom two leaves were looking yellow and I took them off and planted to tomato very deeply in hopes to establish a stronger root system and come back to life. I planted it a couple weeks ago in a large container in a mix of organic store bought soil, peat moss and a mix of chicken manure and compost (also store bought). The plant is looking a little better overall and has even set three tiny tomatoes. It looks like it's also starting to grow some small suckers, but the bottom leaves which were green when I planted it are now looking sickly. I wonder if it's still hungry and it just needs some time to absorb some nutrients from the soil or if it's sick. If it's sick, what can I do to save it? Thank you so much for the advice!
From Drop Box


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Help me save this poor plant

Hi, Battalina! That plant does look sad, but not by any means unsaveable. Some questions for you:

Does the "organic store bought soil" contain actual dirt, or is it a soil-less mix for containers?

Did you wet the peat moss (and all the rest) before planting, or plant first and then water?

If the container isn't self-watering, how do you water?


 o
RE: Help me save this poor plant

The problem so many who try to grow using strictly organic methods forget is that the nutrients are not available for the plant to use UNLESS there is an active soil food web, the micro-herd of bacteria, present to convert them to a usable form. In a container filled with a soil-less mix none of that bacteria exists. So no matter how much nutrients you add to the dry mix the plant can't access them. You can find this discussed in much greater detail in the FAQ on the Organic Gardening forum.

If you want to grow organically in containers you must either add that bacteria and give it time to develop in the container OR you use one of the many liquid organic fertilizers where the nutrients are already suspended in the liquid and immediately available. Compost tea, manure tea, fish emulsion, or any one of 100 other liquid organic fertilizers. Barring that, a dose of Miracle Grow.

Feed the plant please. It is starving.

Dave


 o
RE: Help me save this poor plant

I am going to buy some fish emulsion on my lunch break and feed the poor thing after work. I feel so bad for it. I will also take note of what's in the bag with the organic soil that I bought, but I used the same mix for my raised beds and those tomato plants seem to be doing ok. Should I maybe feed them too? I had asked about a week ago and the folks that know more than me suggested not to feed just yet. Here is photo of my raised beds.
From Drop Box


 o
RE: Help me save this poor plant

The plants in the garden look ok for now but yes you are going to have to feed them and do so regularly with something.

The fertilizers that come in potting mixes, regardless of the brand used, do not last nearly as long as the labels claim. Especially when used in containers and small raised beds - which is really just a big container is many ways. Even if the bacteria exists to convert the organic nutrients for the plants use they disappear rapidly - N volitilize rapidly into the air and the rest leach out into the soil below with every watering.

Once the bed's soil is well established with soil beneficial residents and well amended with quality compost at least 2x a year, less supplemental feeding is needed. But for now a well-balanced liquid used on a regular monthly basis for the bed and weekly for containers is needed. And use one with micro-nutrients too. They are needed as much as NPK is.

There are many different organic products available but not all are of the same quality so learn to read the lables well before buying.

Dave


 o
RE: Help me save this poor plant

Thank you Dave! I'm heading to the store to buy them some food.


 o
RE: Help me save this poor plant

  • Posted by bets z6A ID (My Page) on
    Thu, Jun 14, 12 at 13:05

Also remember, that although your raised bed is a big container, the plants do have access to the soil under the raised bed, so that is probably why they are doing much better than the one in the container.

Betsy


 o
RE: Help me save this poor plant

So buying them food turned out to be more difficult than I thought. I couldn't find any of these "Compost tea, manure tea, fish emulsion, or any one of 100 other liquid organic fertilizers.". They didn't have any liquid organic fertilizer so I ended up buying a granular that promises the following " Vegetable and tomato organic granular fertilizers
Fast acting 100 percent organic formulas to meet all gardening needs
Increases microorganism activity for healthier, living soils
Faster results you can really see from an organic fertilizer
Contains billions of the beneficial microorganism archaea that aggressively break down organic materials for more abundant, faster results "
Also, the organic gardening soil I used contains the following "composted forest products, sphagnum peat moss, horticulture perlite, ground dolomitic limestone, microstart 60 organic fertilizer, pure and natural processed poultry manure and composted food scraps", so this I mixed with more peat moss and more store bought chicken manure and compost mix.


 o
RE: Help me save this poor plant

Compost tea and manure tea are things you make your self. They aren't sold in stores as teas. They are sold as bags of compost or bags of composted manure that you use to make the tea.

So what stores do you have to choose from? Even the big box stores and Walmart carry fish emulsion and several others around here. And they all carry Miracle Grow and/or Mrs. Peters brands if you simply can't find anything else for emergencies.

Organic granular fertilizer is just more of what you already have. Try mixing some of it in water and see if it will dissolve. If it does I suppose you can try using it that way but there is no way to know how much or what dilution to use.

Dave


 o
RE: Help me save this poor plant

I did go to one of the big box stores. The one that starts with L, they had two liquid fertilizers. One was MG and the other was Fish emulsion, but the Fish emulsion had a warning that it's not for use with organic gardening. And the MG was not organic either. Since I am planning on feeding the veggies to my two year old I want to grow them as organically as possible. I really want to save the plant though so I will go check the other store out after dinner.


 o
RE: Help me save this poor plant

 o
RE: Help me save this poor plant

The plants are fed. I didn't find liquid organic fertilizer so I bought a non-organic, but it claims to be all natural at least, so hopefully that means to chemicals.
Would it be okay if I rotated the liquid fertilizer with the granular one? Thank you everyone for helping me grow my veggies. I'll have to invite everyone over for dinner :)


 o
RE: Help me save this poor plant

Thank you Dave. They didn't have the Organic MG you are showing. I wish they did. The Fish emulsion they had though looks the same as the one you are showing in your link, but I swear it says on the bottle not to use for organic gardening. I'll go back on my lunch break and take picture of it.


 o
RE: Help me save this poor plant

Like the last reviewer on this page says (see link), it says 'Not for use in organic food or crop production'. Not that it matters now since I already used something non-organic. I do almost feel like the stores left me with no choice. They need to stock up on more liquid organic fertilizers. If I do find one and start feeding the plants that would it be beneficial now that I already fed them something non-organic or is the damage done so to speak and might as well keep feeding them what I bought.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fish Fertilizer Review


 o
RE: Help me save this poor plant

Thanks but I don't need a picture. I have several gallons of it myself. What the label says is *Not for use in organic food and crop production. Note the asterisk. Now note what the asterisk is related to, the reason for the asterisk - Natural Organic Based in the name.

That is because the base contains inert materials and certain stabilizing acids which limits the amount that can be used by Certified Organic Growers, limited, not restricted. In other words, that is the standard asterisk note that all approved organic products with some restrictions on them are required to use to alert certified growers they must monitor the amounts used.

If you want to go by those reviews then please note that the second review down - and more current one - says the product is on the OMRI approved list and that the claim not for organic gardening is not correct.

It is on the OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) list as approved and has been for many, many years.

IF you are a certified organic grower growing for sale of food in the marketplace - which you are not - and if you are in the process of applying for Organic Grower Certification - which you are not - then there is a restriction on how much of it you can use because of the acids used to stabilize it. That restriction does NOT apply to home gardeners.

You can go to the OMRI website linked below and pull the product up to read it for yourself if you wish.

You are going to need to make a choice. Do you wish to be a Certified Organic Grower or a home gardener that grows things as organically as possible while actually having things grow in your garden? The first takes 3-4 years to qualify with all the rules and restrictions and many inspections. The second also takes 3-4 years of soil development, amending, and hard work to accomplish and in the process some compromises have to be made.

Organic gardening is a long-term goal, not a first year accomplishment.

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: OMRI


 o
RE: Help me save this poor plant

Thank you again Dave. I am certainly not trying to start a dispute. I posted the link not because I'm going by the reviews, but to show you that another person is referring to the same thing I was (since I didn't have a picture) that's written on the bottle. Your clarification is very helpful. I am certainly not trying to get certified and I now kick myself for not buying it. Honestly I was wondering if maybe there are two versions of the product. Would it be helpful if I started using it in a week or so and if I discontinue using the other one I bought?


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Growing Tomatoes Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here