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Tomato Fertilizer Nitrogen Content

Read the stickys but still unsure, so I'm planting my tomato and I have these two options

The first has good reviews and so does the latter. The thing that confuses me- the garderners supply why is that fertilizer for 8-5-5. Isn't that too much nitrogen? I've never grown anything and everything I've read says to stay away from that much. The tomato-tone is 3-4-6. Am I missing something here? Garderners supply is huge do they know something I don't lol =O

Plant info-
Going to grow in a 40quart self watering container-zone 6-better boy variety. I think the plant is ready for transplant, I really just want to prepare the soil properly. If I had one fruit grow I'd be happy as this is my first gardening experience.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated-thanks =]

Green Thumb
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Nitrogen will help at the beginning of growth although you don't want to overdo it compared to phosphorus as you also want strong roots to support the growth. Later on when flowering starts you then want higher potassium. I am never sure about exactly what ratios of NPK to use but if I were to choose from these I would do the first for seedlings and switch to the second later on when the plants are almost at full height before flowering starts.

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Super Green Thumb
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go with the second one

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Growing a nutritional hog like tomatoes in a container using organic fertilizer is possible but difficult. Growing them in a SWC even more so. SWC depend on a sterile wicking medium, primarily sphagnum peat, usually with a little perlite. Organics require living microbes to break down the nutrients before the plants can use them and to do that they need dirt, ie compost, manures etc. Those ingredients begin to defeat the wicking action and eventually create mud and muck in a SWC. A lot of the better organics add colonies of these microbes and that's a good thing but they are not all that stable in a container and can suffer die offs from heat. So, again, possible but complicated and for me, I decided too complicated!

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Super Green Thumb
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The best way to plant tomatoes is, dig a hole about the size of a 10" flower pot. Throw about 1/3 cup of 16-8-8 fertilizer in the hole with some pellet lime then fill the hole with water. After the water soaks into the soil you can plant your tomato plant. Strip all the leave from the lower 1/2 of the plant then plant it deep enough so only the top 1/2 of the plant sticks out of the soil. Tomato plants have the ability to grow roots anyplace soil touches it. The whole bottom 1/2 of the plant will become roots. In about 2 weeks the tomato plant will be growing at a rate of 1" every day. When hot weather comes plant growth will slow down and almost stop by then the plants should be 5 feet tall and loaded with tomatoes. First harvest from 12 plants can very easily give you 50 lbs of tomatoes every day for a while.



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I am a strong believer in using a fertilizer for tomatoes with low Nitrogen content. 3-4-6 or similar.

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Super Green Thumb
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yeah, Gary's methods don't always work for everyone else. But note that he is only talking about using all that N at planting time, not thereafter. It could be good for helping the plant get started.

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I'm not an expert, but while the element contents are important, more important is how much fertilizer you put in the planting area. I use 12/12/12 for everything, but just limit the amount I put on tomatoes, while corn gets a good helping, plus an additional helping once the plants are 1' high.


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I would think either one will work. Remember nitrogen is a very volatile element. Any number less or equal to 10 isn't very much. Now if you were to use urea, that would be a different story.

I usually use a balanced slow release starter fertilizer then go with side dressings. While the tomato is growing , I will use more nitrogen as a side dressing. To promote flowering and fruiting, I back off on nitrogen and use something with a higher phosphorus.

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