Fertilizing questions driving me crazy

MorkaiMay 1, 2013

I live in the DC area and am trying out container gardening for the first time. I am growing four types of tomatoes and many different types of peppers.

All of the pots will be using Miracle Gro Potting Mix. After trying to educate myself on fertilization for tomatoes I just grew more confused. I read about Tomato Tone but am not sure it will be good for containers since it is not a water mix.

Do I need to fertilize the potting mix when I transplant the plants? Or should I just leave the potting mix as is and use a liquid fertilizer? If so, which one? I keep hearing to keep the Nitrogen levels low, but a lot of the tomato liquid fertilizers seem to keep it relatively high.

So confused on how to proceed!

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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Tomatoes are heavy feeders, so disregard the advice to keep nitrogen low. Don't *over-fertilize* of course. Follow directions on the package and all should be well. Miracle Grow fertilizer in a 3-1-2 ratio should be fine - although most folks are not fans of Miracle Grow potting mixes.

I like a combination of Osmocote slow-release and a soluble liquid fertilizer for my containers.

Josh

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 10:31AM
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Morkai

Would using Neptune's Harvest fish and seaweed liquid fertilizer every week or two and Oscomote at the outset of planting be too much?

Would I need more Potassium than those two provide for fruiting?

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 11:05AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Well, I don't use Fish Emulsion for container plants under 15-gallon...but others do, and they are successful sometimes. I won't offer advice on that, though, because I don't have confidence in the results.

Give it a try and let us know how it goes.

Josh

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 12:25PM
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Morkai

What's wrong with using fish emulsion on a smaller container?

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 9:39AM
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shazaam(NC 7B)

Container soils often have wide and rapid fluctuations in temperature and moisture levels, which, in general, means that they're far from ideal habitats for the microorganisms that break down organic fertilizers/amendments into plant available nutrients. These fluctuations will be less pronounced in a container with a larger soil volume, so my guess is that Josh has drawn the line at 15 gallons for his own growing conditions. That's not to say that fish emulsion will never be effective in a 10 gallon pot or that it will always be effective in a 15 gallon pot . Rather, it's an indication that, by their very nature, organic fertilizers provide less reliable results in container culture. With than in mind, each of us has to experiment in order to determine what does and doesn't work in our own unique circumstances.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 12:24PM
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Morkai

Well, thanks for all the info everyone.

If anyone cares, I have decided to go with Tomato-Tone as my primary fertilizer. My plan is to mix it in with the potting mix during planting (Miracle-Gro brand potting mix), then do Miracle Gro liquid fertilizer once or twice for the Nitrogen.

Then, go straight to Tomato Tone every 10 days or so thereafter.

Thoughts? Am I going to nuke these suckers?

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 1:51PM
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