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Roseamore
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First time tomato grower in need of help

Hi Everyone,

This is my first time growing tomatoes (I'm growing moneymakers) and I need some advise. At this point I have four questions:

1. What is the smallest sized pot I can use to grow moneymakers?

2. How do I know when the plants have out grown their pots and need to be transplanted?

3. At what stage should I prop the plants? Should I wait until they are starting to fall over or should I prop before then?

4. When should I start giving the plants food?

Looking forward to your responses.

Roseamore
Patience and plants grow side-by-side.... The art of gardening cultivates them well.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: First time tomato grower in need of help

It isn't huge as tomato plants go, but it is basically a full sized tomato, getting 5' tall. You need a full sized pot for it, i.e. at least 5 gallon bucket sized PER PLANT!

These are plants you purchased, not started from seed? Then I would put it directly in the 5 gallon container and leave it there. Tomato seedlings benefit from being transplanted and buried deeper each time. Once the plant is getting big, you don't want to mess with the roots and you will likely break branches if you keep trying to move it.

You need to arrange whatever support system you are going to use when you plant it.

Tomatoes in containers need to be fed regularly. I would get fertilizer for tomatoes, like Tomato Tone and use it every other week starting from two weeks after you put it in the big pot.
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applestar
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Re: First time tomato grower in need of help

What rainbow said. 5gal is like MINIMUM. At that, you'll be watering probably twice a day once fruiting begins. Something like 15" cubed would be better.

Also, the support should be sturdy and need to support both the container AND the plant, or the whole thing will topple over especially when the soil is dry or when wind is strong. Say something like 4 1" bamboo or 2" wooden stakes 12"-18" in the ground surrounding the container -- so at least 6', 7' would be better.... Some people drive the stakes THROUGH the bottom of the container.

If the containers are on a solid surface, secure the stakes in the container to a solid structure like fence post. Another way is to have some kind of overhead structure (veranda/balcony? swingset? arbor?) from which you can hang strings that you can wrap the vines around as they grow.

...take a look at the tomato support sticky at the top of this forum for some ideas that you could adapt for container growing.

What I like to do is use a slender bamboo or straight branch to support smaller seedlings initially so they don't fall over, then build or set a sturdier support around the plants as they grow. I try to minimize foliage-soil contact to avoid soil borne diseases.
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Roseamore
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Re: First time tomato grower in need of help

Dear Applestar and Rainbowgardener,

Thank you for the info you have given.

I grew the plants from seeds so they were in very small containers from which I transplanted them into their current 2 gallon containers. I had no idea that they would need such large containers! I will have to transplant them this week because they are getting big and I don't want to wait too long and then end up damaging them.

I'll try to get the fertilizer you recommended but if it is not available I'll get the most recommended thing.

I found a couple of sites which deal with supporting tomatoes; these may also be helpful to others.

https://kgi.org/blog/roger-doiron/5-ways ... ato-plants
https://video.about.com/containergardeni ... t-Cage.htm

Thanks again.

Roseamore
Patience and plants grow side-by-side.... The art of gardening cultivates them well.

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cher68
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Re: First time tomato grower in need of help

I am also a first time tomato and all veggie planter. I found this video helpful. It has some suggested feeding solutions that are interesting.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFeMOs3FUo4

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Roseamore
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Re: First time tomato grower in need of help

Thanks cher69,

What Kim used (fish fertilizer and Epsom salts) are accessible, easy to apply and definitely doable.

Thanks again.

Roseamore
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rainbowgardener
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Re: First time tomato grower in need of help

Well, I haven't watched the video, but I would be a little careful. Fish emulsion is good stuff, but its NPK value is something like 5-1-1 or 5-2-2; that is, definitely high on Nitrogen (the 5). Once your plant is fruiting size, you don't want to keep feeding it nitrogen, which encourages big leafy growth at the expense of fruiting. Tomato Tone has an N-P-K of 4-7-10. It has more potassium than nitrogen. It is designed to support flowering and fruit set. Bone meal is a good source of phosphorus and kelp meal is a good source of potassium and should be added to the fish emulsion.
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Roseamore
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Re: First time tomato grower in need of help

Hi Guys,

I transplanted the tomato plants into large containers last Thursday night. However one of the plants is wilting when I place it in full sunlight; I think that I may have damaged its roots (just a little) during transplant.

When I take the plant out of direct sunlight it is fine but I figured that it should be ok (three days after) and I put it into direct morning sunlight today and it is still wilting! The plant was watered thoroughly so it is not a lack of water.

How long should I keep it out of direct sunlight? Is there anything I can do to speed up its recovery?

Thank you for your response in advance.

Roseamore

P.S. The other tomato plant is doing well and is not wilting.
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amylong
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Re: First time tomato grower in need of help

It happened to me too. If I remember correctly, keep it in the shade for about a week. The plant need time to get use to the new soil and recover from the transplant shock. I hope your plant is ok:)

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Roseamore
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Re: First time tomato grower in need of help

Thanks Amylong,

I will try keeping it in the shade for a week. I too hope that it is ok; amazing how attached one can get to a plant.

Roseamore
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imafan26
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Re: First time tomato grower in need of help

It is always easier to transplant smaller plants than larger ones, they do recover better. If you keep the plants in the shade remember you have to harden them off to get them back out into the sun.
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Roseamore
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Re: First time tomato grower in need of help

Thanks Imafan26, I will gradually reintroduce it to full sun.

Next time I'm not going to wait so long to transplant.

Roseamore
Patience and plants grow side-by-side.... The art of gardening cultivates them well.

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