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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 22, 2017   #1
Dangit
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Default Stunted growth?

Hi all,
I don't post much, but there is a situation with my tomatoes that you may be able to help me with.
Background: This is my third year growing in containers. Each year has been an improvement on the last. All containers are SIPs of varying types. All are working as expected as far as wicking, and healthy plants go.
DSC03140.jpg

DSC03143.jpg
Hopefully there is a picture here.

The problem each year has been my indeterminates (big beef) only set fruit for the first 4 feet of growth. After that they get kind of scrawny looking and the blossoms just dry up and fall off. This year I tried to correct this by upping the fertilizer (TTF). This has had a positive effect on the entire garden as a whole, but I still have the same problem with the big beef.
My solution so far has been to increase the nitrogen ferts by hitting them with some Miracle Grow (I know), and since then (about a week) the plants look better at the tops, but it's too soon to tel if it's a fix.
What do you think?
Dangit
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Old June 30, 2017   #2
Dangit
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Update for any one interested.
It's been two weeks now of feeding with Miracle grow to up the nitrogen number. The plants are responding well it seems, the leaves are growing a bit thicker and there are a few toms set up high on the plant.
I'm going to try feeding with the MG every other time for a while to see what happens. I want to have to lower the string supports to get to the high fruit! Some day I hope to figure that out.
By the way, the toms we've eaten from these plants have been very good, with one coming in at just under a pound.

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Old June 30, 2017   #3
Worth1
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Years ago when I grew in containers I put newspaper in the bottoms it worked very good at keeping the water and fertilizer from washing out.
Saucers also help.
One problem with containers is they use one heck of a lot of fertilizer.
More than would be expected.
One way to help keep from washing out is to use a granular on top.
Your choice I have no recommendations they are all about the same to me brand wise.
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Old June 30, 2017   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Worth1 View Post
Years ago when I grew in containers I put newspaper in the bottoms it worked very good at keeping the water and fertilizer from washing out.
Saucers also help.
One problem with containers is they use one heck of a lot of fertilizer.
More than would be expected.
One way to help keep from washing out is to use a granular on top.
Your choice I have no recommendations they are all about the same to me brand wise.
Nifty idea about the newspaper Worth. May give that a try.

Dangit... May or may not help you and this is what I do. Your conditions may be a bit different. My containers get 6 days of MG and one day of just water to flush out extra salt build up and I give mine TT and Epsom Salt every other week.

For the Big Beef, seems several folks here on Tv have been reporting good and not so good results with it. If your only feeding once a week with MG it not enough. Besides the plants getting big, nutrients wash out real fast or get used up very quickly. I'd up your feedings for sure and like Worth suggested add a top dressing of ferts. In your heat though, don't expect the top dressing ferts to last long. It degrades very quickly in a few weeks in high temps.
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Old July 1, 2017   #5
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It's the typical overproducing syndrome. Plenty of fruit down below, nothing gets past them.
The best way is to limit the fruit per truss, just leave the more promising ones. Consistency going up will in the long run yield more. Also these heavy producers need massive fertilization.
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Old July 1, 2017   #6
Dangit
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Thanks for the replies.
What I'm doing now is fertilizing twice a week with TTF, soaking the roots, then once a week flushing with water. Does that sound about right? The plants are looking really good, and I've got tons of fruit, so I'm thinking (wrongly?) that they are getting enough. Just the big beef are acting weird. I have two big beef in containers and two in the ground. The ground plants are going crazy with fruit, growing tall, and look super healthy. I also have two Celebrity plants in containers that are very heavy with fruit and also very healthy.

I've never heard the term 'overproducing syndrome' before. Increasing the N in the feeding seems to have stimulated growth past the fruit load on the plant, so we'll see what happens. Plus, I've been picking some toms from these plants so that can be a factor in the growth, although I had the exact same problem the last two years even after all the fruit was picked.
A science experiment in progress!
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Old July 1, 2017   #7
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Why are you flushing with water with this type of fertilizer may I ask?
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Old July 1, 2017   #8
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Why are you flushing with water with this type of fertilizer may I ask?


I dunno, the TTF label says to.
I'm not an genius, but I can follow directions.

You raise an interesting point though; perhaps I should let the nutrient (and salts) level get jacked up a bit on these plants. It may blast them with the stuff they need to grow as if they were in the ground. Maybe flush with water every two or three weeks, or not at all. See what happens.

I'm hoping some one will tell me what I'm doing wrong. Do others get tomatoes high up on tall vines in containers?

I'm probably doing something stupid.

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Old July 1, 2017   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dangit View Post
Why are you flushing with water with this type of fertilizer may I ask?


I dunno, the TTF label says to.
I'm not an genius, but I can follow directions.

You raise an interesting point though; perhaps I should let the nutrient (and salts) level get jacked up a bit on these plants. It may blast them with the stuff they need to grow as if they were in the ground. Maybe flush with water every two or three weeks, or not at all. See what happens.

I'm hoping some one will tell me what I'm doing wrong. Do others get tomatoes high up on tall vines in containers?

I'm probably doing something stupid.

Dangit
I have never read the TTF instructions nor do I have any or use the stuff.

Seems to me if they are doing fine I wouldn't flush them.
I dont flush the tubs I am growing in and they only have a sight tube for drainage.

Worth.
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Old July 1, 2017   #10
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Quote:
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I have never read the TTF instructions nor do I have any or use the stuff.

OK

Seems to me if they are doing fine I wouldn't flush them.

They are doing fine, and I do flush them. This system works well for me with the one exception of the big beef. All other plants in the garden, tomatoes, peppers, onions,egg plant, melons, lettuce, radishes, etc are thriving and being flushed with clean water weekly. I'm thinking I will stick with my current plan of alternating MG and TTF with the flush for a while, and maybe trying your suggestion of flushing less (or not at all) if it seems called for.


I dont flush the tubs I am growing in and they only have a sight tube for drainage.

What are you growing in tubs?

Worth.
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Old July 1, 2017   #11
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Quote:
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dangit
Peppers cucumbers okra melons and basil with a very very late start.
Massive amounts in each tub.
http://www.tomatoville.com/showthrea...=44403&page=29

Worth


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Old July 1, 2017   #12
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I also have elephant ears I grow in 40 gallon tubs with no drainage sunk in the ground filled with clay muck and leaves.
They have been there for many years now.
About once a month I fill them with water and some sort of organic fertilizer when I take a notion to.
Worth
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Old July 1, 2017   #13
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Looks good.

I'm drooling over all that green. Here in So California all we have is brown right now. The rain we had this winter filled the reservoirs and the drought is mostly history for now, but the hills around my house are dry as heck.

Looks like you've had some rain recently. Please send some over to us.

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Old July 1, 2017   #14
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Quote:
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Why are you flushing with water with this type of fertilizer may I ask?
Worth
Flushing the growing medium is common practice in any closed hydroponic style system using salt based nutrients. Excess salts build up in the medium can lead to very high EC levels and that ain't good for root health and nutrient uptake.
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Old July 2, 2017   #15
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Flushing the growing medium is common practice in any closed hydroponic style system using salt based nutrients. Excess salts build up in the medium can lead to very high EC levels and that ain't good for root health and nutrient uptake.
I do know about flushing containers to get rid of salts.

I had no idea the stuff was salt based.

Worth
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