StargazerLily
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Organic Heirloom Tomatoes Help

Please help with any suggestions you have for Organic Heirloom tomatoes. I just bought 3 plants, an Ananas Noire (Black Pineapple), Silvery Fir Tree, and a Costoluto Genovese . My questions are about repotting (I only have balconies and window boxes, but with a lot of sun). So far they are fine, but need to be transplanted (about 12" tall and in tiny pots). What organic soil? What kind of care? Fertilizer? Times of day to do all these things? Anything I forgot to ask?
Thanks!
Stargazer Lily

ethics213
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For starters, how small is a small pot? My self, i start with 1204 nursery inserts. Then step up to 1 gal, and finally to a 3 gal pot.

as far as soil is concerned, i use a soil less mixture from premier; but Fox Farms is one of the best around. I swear by their fertilizers. With that being said, there is no reason that you couldn't just use a garden soil from your big box store. ie. miracle grow.

there is not really any special care involved. just water and feed it. feeding would solely depend on what type of soil you decided on. Some soils have nutes already added to them. so you wouldn't want to add anything to it for at least a month.

garden5
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Soil: If you are trying to be organic, I'd steer away from Miracle Grow. Epsoma is a brand that makes organic potting soil that people seem to like.

Care: Water the plant regularly. Prune off the suckers (the little stems that grow out of the crotches of the branches) so the plants has only 2 or 3 main stems. Stake the plant when it gets large.

Fertilization: Some fish-emulsion every 2 or 3 weeks.

Time of Day: Morning on any over-cast day with not a lot of wind is best, but as long as you do it by late afternoon, you should be fine.

Hope this helps :D.
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gixxerific
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I would recommend 5 gallon or bigger for the final pot size.

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applestar
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:? I don't want to sound contrary, but pruning is a controversial practice. Especially with determinate tomatoes. (Haven't looked up the listed toms). If you are planting in larger pots, use as large pots as you possibly can. 5 gal bucket with plenty of drainage holes seems to be the consensus minimum size.

staking is best done early on to avoid damaging roots. with containers, provision should be made to keep them from tipping over. Some people wire or screw stakes on to the containers with a block of wood to sandwich the plastic wall and secure the containers and stakes to solid supports like balcony railings, etc.

Planting time... Um. I avoid planting on hot sunny day if possible, or place newly planted containers in shade/dappled shade to avoid the sun. Some people say it's BETTER to plant in late PM. When I can, I like planting on overcast day with rain expected later. often I'm CAUGHT in the rain before finishing :roll: (Some day rain will fall again in NJ....). Be sure to water -- as in soak thoroughly -- before and after uppotting to minimize damage to the roots.

bblackwood
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If you have enough space, I've found that the 18-gallon plastic storage boxes from Target or Walmart make excellent containers for tomatoes (with room left over for some companion plants like basil and marigolds – these deter some common tomato pests.)

They're much cheaper than big pots (like under $10). You need to drill some drainage holes in the bottom but that's simple.

It does take a lot of potting soil but heirloom tomato plants are indeterminate (AKA big) and like lots of root-room.
Boyd Blackwood
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