First time with SWCs

elight(9b)June 29, 2011

Hi all,

For my first attempt at gardening, I built three SWCs from 5-gallon buckets to house two tomato plants and a pepper plant. I have run into some trouble, I believe due to over-watering. I kept the reservoirs full in the early going, and then last week we were hit with heavy storms every day (northern NYC suburbs). We finally just yesterday started getting some heat - so basically the plants have been drowning for the past week or two. On my best-growing tomato plant, my leaves started yellow from the bottom up, so I am trying to nurse it back to life. It has finally started to dry out, and hopefully will be dry by the weekend. I haven't watered in at least a week.

For my soil, I am using Gardener's Gold potting mix. I now know I made a mistake in not also mixing in something to add with draining - mental note made for next year.

My questions:

1. I do not currently have any mulch. Would it help if I added some plastic to cover the soil after it dries out? This will be challenging given that there is also a wire trellis in the soil.

2. Whereas I already have lots of cherry tomatoes growing on the plaint with the yellowing leaves, my early girl plant still has none and in fact hasn't grown much at all in the past few weeks. There is leaf curl, but no yellowing. Can I chalk this up to the crazy weather we've had here in the past few weeks, or is there something else I should be looking for?

3. I fertilized once or twice with fish emulsion. Is it safe to continue to do so once every 2-3 weeks once the plants have dried out and I have resumed my regular watering routine?

Thanks for your help - I've already learned a lot and look forward to my first veggies in the next few weeks!

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as for mulch just use shredded bark chips. the bad weather will cause the leaf curl. for fertilizer every three weeks would be ok. the yellow leaves start to die off just prune them off.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 9:51AM
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