River
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Do you add fertilizer

I have looked at lots of information. Some folks swear by Tomatoe tone and other organic fertilizers designed for tomatoes. Then I read if u have compost and manure it's not necessary.
Add chemical fertilizer 13-13-13 and they state that works well. Even though research supports low nitrogen for tomatoes to keep the green growth down and produce more fruit.

It's all somewhat confusing. The last couple of years I have grown tomatoes in containers and I know that I have to add some kind of fertilizer especially with all the rain that we receive. I used the miracle grow but I want to try something different to see if I can tell a difference. Plus I am going to also plant several in my garden this year.

What do y'all like to use or not use?
Mobile al zone 8b

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digitS'
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Re: Do you add fertilizer

River, you will probably find quite a few gardeners who grow tomatoes in containers on the forum but most varieties are great big plants and require great big containers.

I'm not much of a container gardener. I have grown smaller varieties, Sweet Baby Girl, Kimberley, etc., with fair success. Five gallon pots were used most recently and it seems that the larger I go, the better. However, huge containers aren't really the way I want to go - may as well have them in the open garden, but that is another kettle of fish ...

Yes, I like fish emulsion in the garden and tomatoes respond well to it but the growing media for the container-grown tomatoes was about as good as I felt I could afford them. Foliar feeding would have been secondary, if I'd bothered with it. I used my best compost 50:50 with some pretty darn good garden soil. A balanced, organic fertilizer went in also but not any higher rate than what I would have used for them in the open garden.

They did well, as I say but I'll stop now and more knowledgeable container gardeners can tell you what they do.

Steve
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Gardener_Wes
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Re: Do you add fertilizer

I tend to use General Organics fertilizer line.
Bio Grow
Bio Bloom
CalMg+
I also when first planting mix bat guano into the soil.

I let the plants grow for about 1 - 2 months before adding liquid fertilizer. It's a really good organic line, and great for container gardening. I've seen very good results by using 10ml/gal on all 3. Obviously don't use both bloom and grow together. You want to do:
biogrow 10 ml/gal.
CalMg+ 10 ml/gal.
for the growing(normally all of spring)
Once your ready to bloom you just switch the grow with the bloom bottle same does.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Do you add fertilizer

If you are growing tomatoes in a container, then yes, you will have to add nutrients. The amount of soil is so limited and it has to be watered so often, which washes nutrients out.

Growing in the ground, I use only compost and mulch and my tomatoes do fine. I could probably pump them up to be even bigger and more productive with use of synthetic fertilizers, but that would be at the expense of making them more vulnerable to diseases and pests. My tomato plants keep going all season, even in our humid climate and not everyone can say that.
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imafan26
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Re: Do you add fertilizer

I grow indeterminate tomatoes in 20 inch pots or 18 gallon tubs. I have also grown them in homemade earthboxes with good results. They have enough root room and hold enough water that the plants don't dry out and wilt daily which will get you a lot of BER and weaker plants from the stress. All vegetables and most plants in pots need to be fertilized. Vegetables especially do not tolerate anything that checks its' growth. Tomatoes are heavy feeders so they need more fertilizer than say lavender, which does not like a lot of fertilizer.

The self watering pot instructions said to band 2 cups synthetic or 3 cups organic fertilizer in the pot when the pot is planted but I had a lot of fertilizer left in the pot using that method.

Instead I use 1/2 cup of a complete fertilizer as a starter. I do not band but mix it in. I like to use citrus food because it contains micros. I do not lime, but some people do add some lime as well for BER. It is hard to use organic fertilizers in pots because microorganisms need to convert organic fertilizer into usable forms before the plant can uptake. Unless you are using promix, most potting soils do not contain a lot of soil bacteria so the nutrients will not be readily available at the start when the plants need it for active growth.

At first flowering, first fruit and monthly thereafter, I side dress with a couple of tablespoons of additional fertilizer.

In the end, it still uses almost the same amount of fertilizer 2-3 cups, but the fertilizer is used more efficiently and there isn't any leftover chunk of fertilizer left in the pot.

If I have vermicast, I will add about a cup to the pot in the beginning, but I have had poor results adding compost and deadly results adding manure to potting mixes. AACT once a week helps to keep the tomatoes healthier.

Water solubles do work but they are expensive and once they run out the drain hole they are no longer available.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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feldon30
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Re: Do you add fertilizer

River wrote:I have looked at lots of information. Some folks swear by Tomatoe tone and other organic fertilizers designed for tomatoes. Then I read if u have compost and manure it's not necessary.
Add chemical fertilizer 13-13-13 and they state that works well. Even though research supports low nitrogen for tomatoes to keep the green growth down and produce more fruit.

It's all somewhat confusing. The last couple of years I have grown tomatoes in containers and I know that I have to add some kind of fertilizer especially with all the rain that we receive. I used the miracle grow but I want to try something different to see if I can tell a difference. Plus I am going to also plant several in my garden this year.

What do y'all like to use or not use?
If you were growing in the ground, then even with the application of compost and manure I'd tell you that a balanced fertilizer is still a necessity. I'd use TomatoTone in this case.

Since you are growing in a container, you can't really use compost or manure (well you can, but it means the container mix would break down such that you'd only be able to reuse it maybe 1 year, driving up the costs substantially). When I successfully grew tomatoes in a container (two indeterminate plants in a 40 gallon Rugged tote), I poured a strip of Happy Frog organic fertilizer between the plants and that was all that was needed to get a very good harvest. But as said above, you don't have to use a strip or band of fertilizer and instead can add it over time as the plants need it.
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