When planting what is the best type/brand fertilizer to use. I am using Pro-mix. Thanks to all.
There's a million of 'em out there. Just do a little research and choose one that you are comfortable with.
If you're looking for something for container culture that you will find easy, that gives you the best control, and that your plants will respond best to, I suggest soluble synthetic fertilizers, like Miracle-Gro and others.
The program I follow is Foliage-Pro 9-3-6 until tomatoes reach the top of their cages, then I cut back slightly on solution strength and add either a little KCl (potash) to the fertilizer solution or Pro-TeKt 0-0-3.
I like the soluble fertilizers because they are immediately available to the plant and you know exactly what and how much you are supplying the plant. Supplementing nutrition in organic form leaves you dependant on soil organisms to break the molecules (hydrocarbon chains) in which the nutrients are locked into elemental form before the plants can use them. Since the populations of microorganisms are very erratic in containers, delivery of nutrients from organic sources is more erratic and less reliable, making it easier to err and end up with deficiencies/toxicities.
I've been using soluble fertilizers for many years, and have never seen any indication of build-up (if you water correctly it won't happen unless you really goof up, and there is no guarding against that regardless of what fertilizer you choose) or observed any toxicity issues. It's actually easier to create a toxic environment (nutritionally speaking - due to an excess of any one or more nutrients) when using organic forms of nutrients than with soluble synthetics.
A good crop is possible with either method, but much easier with synthetics. BTW - I've never been able to discern a taste difference between my in-ground and those grown in containers. How you water has a considerable impact on the flavor of tomatoes in containers.
Tapla, would that also apply at time of planting? Would you use a granual (mixed with pro-mix or at the bottom of hole) or liquid after planting? Thanks again.
I agree with Tapla all the way.
I used TomatoTone in most of my early tomato planters this year and had horrible nutrient issues and disease. I am one who has come to belieive it is entirely possible to grow with organic ferts in containers; just be prepared to spend a lot of money for additional products and be prepared to diagnose and treat nutrient deficiencies.
Yup it is possible but not woth the trouble as the plant can't tell the difference anyway. For example, nitrogen is typically available as NO3- or NH4+. It does not matter to the plant whether it came from guano or bottled nutrient.
Synthetics are best for container culture.
Tomato tone is excellent when growing in the ground or raised beds that have lots of good microbial life. In containers it is probably almost useless... I agree that synthetics are the best way to go in a container, so much easier to get good results. To address the question of what to add at planting time, you could mix in a bit of a slow release fert like osmocote, but if you are starting with a liquid fert regimen from the start it probably isn't needed. The pro mix probably has some amount of starter nutrients in it also...
Yes, organics in containers are a PITA. Too slow to release, hard to control, and often stink real bad. Use organics in ground where they have the most benefit. Use synthetics in containers where they have the most benefit.