Scrappy Coco
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Question | Fertilizing, is that a must?

I was wondering whether I must fertilize the two cherry tomato plants I'm growing or not. What would happen if I don't fertilize them?
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Meatburner
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Re: Question | Fertilizing, is that a must?

What is your definition of fertilizing? You will most likely need to give at least a minimum amount of information about your growing conditions, soil, climate, watering technique, etc. Give us something to go by and a reason you are asking the question. Just trying to help you get some input.

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Re: Question | Fertilizing, is that a must?

The soil is purely compost (potting soil), I water about a liter every two or three days.. Ahmm, and my definition of fertilizing would be that pin substance that I drop two teaspoons into ten liters of water and water the plants with it.
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applestar
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Re: Question | Fertilizing, is that a must?

It sounds like you are growing in containers? This is a critical point.

In the ground, the plants may appear stop growing and it's green color will fade but continue to grow roots in search of nutrients. But in a container, the nutrients are soon depleted, not ony by the plant up taking it, but by the water leaching it all out, especially during the hot weather when the soil dries quickly and must be watered frequently.

Since nutrients are needed not only for blooming and fruiting (number and size of fruit will drop off), but for growth (leaves and stems will get smaller and eventually stop growing) and even day to day maintenance (green color will fade to yellow), the plant will starve (weak and suffering, it may try to flower and fruit one last time in an effort to fulfill its biological prerogative, and in the process, use up the final reserves).
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Question | Fertilizing, is that a must?

Just seconding applestar. Yes, to grow tomatoes in containers, you MUST fertilize. The smaller the container, the hotter the weather and the more you water, the more you must fertilize. Otherwise, ultimately they die.

Very different from growing tomatoes in the ground.
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Re: Question | Fertilizing, is that a must?

You can fertilize with organic fertilizers instead of chemical fertilizers.

You can also supplement with adding to the water -- used coffee grounds, left over tea, juice, milk, coconut water, and other beverages (when a container of beverage is empty, I add water and swish out the last dregs) and unsalted veg cooking/steaming water, a drop of unsulfured molasses, gelatin and agar, etc.

Keep in mind that they need nitrogen (think amino acids), phosphorous, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and other micro minerals.
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Re: Question | Fertilizing, is that a must?

Well they grow in ground, but thanks for the great elaboration. By the way, it would be great if anybody could tell me what's worm tea, and where can I buy it (is it available in nurseries)?
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Re: Question | Fertilizing, is that a must?

Worm casting tea would be similar to compost tea, except with worm castings instead of compost as the starting point. There's a whole big long sticky in the Compost section about AACT (aerated, activated compost tea) and how to make it.

I doubt it would be available in a nursery and if it is, you shouldn't buy it, because it has to be made fresh and kept aerated. It is not hard to make yourself, if you have the worm castings (or the compost for compost tea).

The advantages of brewing your worm castings/ compost in to tea are that you are cultivating a whole bunch of beneficial microbes and such so that the nutrients you started with are in a very bio-available form. Also, if you don't have a lot of the castings/ compost , it stretches it, so that it goes a lot farther, and puts it in to liquid form which can be used for foliar feeding.

There is also worm bin leachate, the liquid that drains from the worm bin. It isn't brewed and it isn't nearly as nutrient rich and bio-active as the tea, but it does have nutritional value for plants.
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Re: Question | Fertilizing, is that a must?

I have been having good luck this year with seabird guano (poop) and liquid kelp. The seabird guano especially seems to be like some magic stuff. The tomatoes are absolutely loving it. It's 12-11-2. No chemicals and organic. I've actually been side-dressing with a pellet or two because I'm finding it annoying/hard to get it to dissolve to use it as water soluble and it's working great as side-dressing. I've only side dressed once - when I first trans-planted. I am using kelp/worm castings tea as my liquid fertilizer. Everything is very green and happy. I side dress my corn with organic bloodmeal.

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Re: Question | Fertilizing, is that a must?

I use bat guano and actively aerated compost tea (which I brew myself using worm humus and a few other ingredients) .... it's not a fertilizer, but it adds beneficial microbes to the soil

the bat guano is good stuff and you only use a little (there are different types ... some high in N and some high in P and K) .... I use the latter

I also use biobizz fish mix and biobizz alga-mic (algae and seaweed extract) .... I mix 4ml per litre of water, and apply that once per week as a foliar feed with a sprayer (one week I use fishmix, then the next week I use alga-mic)

as for worm leachate, (the liquid at the bottom of a wormery) never ever add that to any of your plants
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Question | Fertilizing, is that a must?

Re: as for worm leachate, (the liquid at the bottom of a wormery) never ever add that to any of your plants


Why do you say that? I have added the leachate from my worm bin to the water I water my indoor seedlings with for the past two seed starting seasons. Adding it to the water, it is diluted at least 1:6, probably more. But the seedlings seemed to do well with it.

It starts as water, because I add water to the worm bin fairly regularly, and has worm pee and nutrients leached from the fall leaves and stuff that is in there added. What is not to like?

In case it matters, my leachate isn't actually at the bottom of the wormery, it is in the tray underneath it. The worm bin has drain holes to let the leachate drain out.
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Re: Question | Fertilizing, is that a must?

rainbowgardener wrote:Re: as for worm leachate, (the liquid at the bottom of a wormery) never ever add that to any of your plants


Why do you say that? I have added the leachate from my worm bin to the water I water my indoor seedlings with for the past two seed starting seasons. Adding it to the water, it is diluted at least 1:6, probably more. But the seedlings seemed to do well with it.

It starts as water, because I add water to the worm bin fairly regularly, and has worm pee and nutrients leached from the fall leaves and stuff that is in there added. What is not to like?

In case it matters, my leachate isn't actually at the bottom of the wormery, it is in the tray underneath it. The worm bin has drain holes to let the leachate drain out.
leachate can contain alochol, phenols and terpenes (all naturally occuring by-products of anaerobic decomposition), and it is not always possible to tell when these compounds are present in sufficient concentration to cause damage.

If you are getting leachate from your worm bin, you are doing something wrong (it's too wet) .... loads of info on google, but here is one article in the meantime

https://www.wormfarmingrevealed.com/leac ... m-tea.html
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Re: Question | Fertilizing, is that a must?

People always talk about you need to have drain holes for the leachate. I add water regularly to the bin.

The bin has lots of air holes as well as drainage holes, and the stuff in it gets stirred around a lot. I'm not sure what is going on is anaerobic decomp.
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