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

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Old July 7, 2018   #1
Jetstar
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Default How Often do you ferilize and what mix works for your grow bags

For me I start out my 7gal.grow bags by mixing with 1 cup of garden lime 2tbs of Epsom salt 1tsp of calcium nitrate (For bags growing tomatoes or peppers) 1/4 cup of bone meal then 1 to 1-1/2 cups of 10-10-10 around the edge of the grow bag after I put the plant in. For the 1st month I don't add anything. After the fist month I feed my plants every 2 wks., I use a water soluble fertilizer I mix 2TBS and water in a 2 gal. watering can 1 can will feed 8 of my grow bag plants. The blend I use for my tomatoes, peppers & cukes is a 15-30-15 I've used this blend for the last 4yrs with great results. I don't add any extra to my beans or peas, but once a month I add my mix to my beets & carrots. So how often do you fertilize your grow bags and what blend has worked for you?

Last edited by Jetstar; July 7, 2018 at 12:53 AM.
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Old July 7, 2018   #2
zipcode
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2 table spoons of organic 7-3-10 every 2 weeks, per plant. Might add some 8-12-24 with microelements, water soluble, from time to time (Hakaphos rot) to help with taste.
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Old July 7, 2018   #3
Jetstar
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Zipcode is it a water soluble, or a dry you wok in around the plant?
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Old July 8, 2018   #4
zipcode
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Dry. Liquid organic costs way too much here.
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Old July 8, 2018   #5
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Zipcode, I know what your saying about the cost of liquid, the stuff I use is called Expert I get it at Walmart for less than 5 bucks a single box will last me 3yrs its a bargain.
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Old July 19, 2018   #6
IronPete
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I am growing this year in containers only due to this being a rental and only having a deck and a little lawn space that I can use. I started my plants indoors and when I planted them out the peppers and tomatoes got Jobes plant spikes for tomatoes (not sure the mix now as I have used them all up but they were for tomatoes). Like you, Jet, I then did nothing for the first 4 weeks and that plants loved it. I have now switched to an every 2 week feeding of Plant-Prod 15-15-30 that has the full suite of micro nutrients and is designed for tomatoes and peppers. I also have a similar package of Miracle-Gro (18-18-21) that is also designed for tomatoes. I will probably alternate their use every 2 weeks as I have no real idea what the differences are. The soil I used is a soil less Miracle Grow with extra moisture retention. I did not treat it as I had trouble finding the calcium and what not and was not sure what I should be adding so next year I will likely follow your mix recommendations from above.

For all other plants in the garden (all in containers) I just water with the tomato miracle gro that I am using for the tomatoes and don't worry too much otherwise.

I have grown in containers before but had a variety of problems that I eventually figured out the origins of. I don't have a great understanding of fertilizers for containers but do understand the basics of N-P-K and their various effects. I am starting to understand micronutrients a bit.

I am glad there is a thread for fertilizers for containers. I wish there was a simple book or a good sticky on here that explained it for people that don't have PhDs in plant biology. Between all the 'organic' vs 'non-organic' stuff it gets confusing. Especially when as Worth pointed out in a post on another thread by attempting to be 'organic' we can often be unwittingly causing environmental damage upstream as the makers may be harvesting product or producing it in a way that isn't so great for the environment.

I just want to grow nice, tasty tomatoes and veg with as little unnecessary additives as possible but without opening myself up to BER, plant diseases, etc.

Thanks;

Pete
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Old July 19, 2018   #7
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IronPete it sounds like your on the right path no one wants to grow tomatoes and then have to deal with B.E.R. when using grow bags I've had great results in preventing B.E.R. by using fertilizer mixes high in P & K hope you also have success using fertilizer every 2 weeks.
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Old July 22, 2018   #8
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Aloha Pete,
I am interested in this fertilizer thread for containers. Can you post the URL or just let me know where it is. AZ Mark has a few really good ones. Cornell University Ag program is very helpful, but a little over my head. It's mainly for larger production. I'm getting better at my understanding, mostly like to read about different idea's or styles.
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Old July 22, 2018   #9
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Aloha Tom from my island to yours! I tried to google map how far your location is from mine (I am east coast of Canada) but didn't give me an answer, lol!

In answer to your question this is the thread and admittedly it doesn't have much. A lot of the talk in other threads is either at a high level that is too much for my level of knowledge, involves expensive products that my limited budget can't manage, or is based on a desire to have all things organic. I appreciate all of those things but they don't cover the average person who wants a little container garden on a little budget.

Here are some links for some articles that I looked up on fertilizers for container gardens. There aren't many but are a good place to start:
https://thegrownetwork.com/fertilizi...ardens-part-2/
https://www.gardeners.com/how-to/fer...tios/5161.html

Feel free to add whatever you know or whatever links you have. Maybe we could talk nctomatoman Craig into writing a book on fertilizer basics for container gardening ad his book are such well put together idea-candy for my gardening mind, lol! Besides, he often grows in bales and growbags so he likely has a solid understanding of this.

There are videos too that can be useful. There is an interesting guy named Gary Pilarchuk (the Rusted Gardener I think) who has some interesting videos on container gardening. In one he was talking about getting calcium for the garden by drying eggshells in the oven, using the blender to powder them and then applying I think Hydrogen Peroxide after which, when dried, you were left with simple and pure calcium for the garden.

Best of luck! Pete
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Old July 23, 2018   #10
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Aloha Iron Pete,
8000 something kilometers. Quite a distance.
http://www.homehydrosystems.com/index.html
This is an informative site that has many different types of systems and nutrition info. I watch too many Utube videos, I do enjoy MHP gardener. I have gotten more information on this site than anywhere. Organic (to me) has become a huge scam from what I see. Picking the one that works, is what I'm after. Thanks for your kindness and best wishes from Hawaii
Tom
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Old July 23, 2018   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IronPete View Post
A lot of the talk in other threads is either at a high level that is too much for my level of knowledge, involves expensive products that my limited budget can't manage, or is based on a desire to have all things organic.
Fertilizing is cheap with inorganics. Just buy a sack of haifa and it will last forever. Use balanced (ratio of 1-1-1) until fruit forms, switch to 2-1-3 or 2-1-4 after words. or just use the 2-1-3 all the time, it's still fine.
Easily the most important with inorganics is to have a runoff, and maybe to check runoff pH. Low runoff = major problems.
Organic is actually easier imo for containers, you can't do anything odd with it, which is useful (like get your pH way otu of balance or too high EC, etc), but without adding some microelements in inorganic form it's tough, the low minerality of potting mix is a problem.
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Old July 23, 2018   #12
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1.5 C fertilizer meal per cubic foot soilless mix. Water with vermicompost tea and let sit for 2-3 weeks before planting (keep even moisture level). Done fertilizing for the year.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #13
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On a side note I was suffering from Blossom End Rot on my tomatoes and on my zucchini. I did some research and found that it results from either calcium deficiency or from a deficiency in the micronutrients that allow the plant to take up calcium. All that is pretty well known but how does one fix it quickly? Lots of suggestions online from making a slurry of calcium pellets for them, or watering with milk (and attracting animals, lol) through to using tums antacids. I chose the last one. 2 tums to a gallon of water. I dropped them in the blender with a cup of hot water, blended till smooth and then added it to the gallon container and topped with colder water. Not sure how it will work but it makes sense. BER is a disappointing development that I will avoid next year by using calcium pellets when I do my potting. But for now, 2 tums for the plants and one for me to remove the heartburn caused by not treating the BER sooner, lol!
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #14
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I've used that in the past IronPete but2yrs ago I went with calcium nitrate 1tsp in a gallon of water does a great job preventing BER.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #15
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Default Tea, Osmocote, Cal Nitrate and Magnesium Salts

Compost-castings-guano-alfalfa teas also play a role in container growing. I find it helps the plants get through the tough spots--heat, disease, deficiencies--and is relatively cheap.

You need:
  1. A carbohydrate source (molasses, brown-white sugar, corn syrup, agave, any source) ($5)
  2. Water, dechlorinated
  3. High quality compost ($0-17)
  4. Aerator ($10 pump + $2 airstone)

Brew takes place in a 5 and 7 gallon buckets, then after 24-36 hrs I add both to a 200 L tank waiting with about 150 L of dechlorinated water. Everyone gets drenched: 5-6 liters for small containers in the 4-5 gallon range, and about 10-14 L for large grow bags in the 20 gallon range.

You can use the tea straight, however, I've found it can stress plants with low media volumes.

My garden $ ran out so I haven't procured my Haifa and/or Yara bag.

In the meantime I bought a used coffee grinder and ground up three bottles of Osmocote (14-14-14) I obtained at a deep discount. This powder gets rehydrated and added as a drench on a weekly basis to grow bags, along with Cal Nitrate and Magnesium Salts.

I've used the powder in my RGGS tubes and so far no BER from competing nutrients.

Foliar treatments (phosphate and potassium heavy) with a frequency of whenever it's convenient round out the regimen.

Decent results thus far with this ying-yang-organic-inorganic combo.

Last edited by Gerardo; 4 Weeks Ago at 01:55 PM.
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