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Square Foot Gardening Forum
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How to Grow Better Tomatoes Toplef10How to Grow Better Tomatoes 1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

How to Grow Better Tomatoes I22gcj10How to Grow Better Tomatoes 14dhcg10

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How to Grow Better Tomatoes

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Post  has55 6/30/2016, 8:08 pm

How to Grow Better Tomatoes
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Post  has55 6/30/2016, 8:09 pm

has anyone use fish meal with their tomatoes?
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Post  camprn 6/30/2016, 9:09 pm

I use lobster compost, so yes.

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Post  has55 6/30/2016, 9:46 pm

camprn wrote:I use lobster compost, so yes.
What kind of results are you getting, since you started using it?
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Post  countrynaturals 7/1/2016, 2:46 am

has55 wrote:How to Grow Better Tomatoes
Asperin tablets to prevent disease? Interesting.  Cool
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Post  CitizenKate 7/1/2016, 9:59 am

I've been putting ground aspirin tablets in my homemade tomato fertilizer mix. The mix has produced some very good results, but I'm not sure how much of that can be attributed to the aspirin.
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Post  CapeCoddess 6/13/2017, 1:28 pm

Has anyone ever tried this?  If so, what were the results?
How to Grow Better Tomatoes Photo_25

I never get many fruits from my large tomato plants... only the cherries are abundant.
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Post  hammock gal 6/13/2017, 2:23 pm

How to Grow Better Tomatoes Sucker11
Years ago, I had a wonderful Italian landlord who grew the best tomatoes I've ever tasted. One tip he gave me was to be sure to "pinch off the suckers."
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Post  sanderson 6/14/2017, 3:32 am

CC, No, I haven't.

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Post  CitizenKate 6/14/2017, 9:31 pm

CapeCoddess wrote:Has anyone ever tried this?  If so, what were the results?
How to Grow Better Tomatoes Photo_25

I never get many fruits from my large tomato plants... only the cherries are abundant.

I include Epsom salt in my homemade tomato food mix, and have gotten good results from the mix.  Again, not sure how much I can attribute to the Epsom salt vs the other ingredients.

Here's what the National Gardening Association says about it.
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Post  CitizenKate 6/14/2017, 9:33 pm

hammock gal wrote:How to Grow Better Tomatoes Sucker11
Years ago, I had a wonderful Italian landlord who grew the best tomatoes I've ever tasted. One tip he gave me was to be sure to "pinch off the suckers."

I only do this with my indeterminates (the more "vine-y" varieties), so they grow up a single stem. The more bushy (indeterminate) tomato plants need all their suckers to give you the best yields.
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Post  CapeCoddess 6/15/2017, 11:06 am

CitizenKate wrote:

I include Epsom salt in my homemade tomato food mix, and have gotten good results from the mix.  Again, not sure how much I can attribute to the Epsom salt vs the other ingredients.

Here's what the National Gardening Association says about it.

Thanks, Kate. I found this in the article:
"When diluted with water, and especially when applied as a foliar spray, Epsom salts can be taken up quickly by plants. Epsom salts' magnesium content, high solubility, and ease of application as a foliar spray are the main reasons for the positive results many gardeners see in their plants."
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Post  CapeCoddess 6/15/2017, 3:24 pm

countrynaturals wrote:
Asperin tablets to prevent disease? Interesting.  Cool

Mel suggests this in the Answer Book.
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Post  countrynaturals 10/19/2017, 7:59 pm

Do all tomato plants get ratty looking when they start producing blossoms or is that just another facet of my tomato curse? It's like my plants can't support flowers, fruit, and leaves at the same time. Sad
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Post  Ginger Blue 9/23/2019, 3:45 pm

I need help from those of you who successfully grow tomatoes in containers, using organic practices.  Seems no matter what I do...and I've tried just about everything I've heard or read (including suggestions posted in this thread)....I cannot get the growing substrate or care routine right.  My tomato plants are inevitably sparse and spindly (with very poor yields), or are quickly overcome with disease, late to flower and don't produce fruit. No Sad

I would love to hear your organic tips, tricks, and substrate or fertilizer recipes for growing copious numbers of fantastic tomatoes, in containers.  I dream of the day I can harvest baskets of luscious, ripe tomatoes, for fresh eating and sauce, with enough to preserve for winter.... love the idea hungry
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Post  countrynaturals 9/23/2019, 5:11 pm

Ginger Blue wrote:I need help from those of you who successfully grow tomatoes in containers, using organic practices.  Seems no matter what I do...and I've tried just about everything I've heard or read (including suggestions posted in this thread)....I cannot get the growing substrate or care routine right.  My tomato plants are inevitably sparse and spindly (with very poor yields), or are quickly overcome with disease, late to flower and don't produce fruit. No Sad

I would love to hear your organic tips, tricks, and substrate or fertilizer recipes for growing copious numbers of fantastic tomatoes, in containers.  I dream of the day I can harvest baskets of luscious, ripe tomatoes, for fresh eating and sauce, with enough to preserve for winter.... love the idea hungry
I use Happy Frog fertilizer cuz it contains microbes. I never use yard dirt -- just high-quality potting mix. I would imagine MM would be perfect, but I haven't tried it. For me, everything else is dumb luck, but I do have a drip system to regulate water and I mulch like crazy. I also bring the containers inside on really cold nights.

On the same balcony, I have a 4th of July tomato that's over 6' tall, loaded with fruit, AND a Snow White that hasn't produced a thing all season. idk I am doing much better with tomatoes this year, but I think it's mostly due to our mild summer, rather than any skill on my part. geek

I will stay glued to this thread to see what the experts say, cuz I was just like you until this year -- very frustrating. How to Grow Better Tomatoes 671790
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Post  countrynaturals 9/23/2019, 5:29 pm

I think timing is also important. I had always planted at the same time as everyone else, but never got any regular tomatoes cuz they mature in July and August when it's too hot, here, so my plants never produced. Now I start much earlier, inside, so I can get an earlier crop. I also plant early varieties -- like 4th of July. Now I'm working on a late crop. I planted brandywine and beefsteak the middle of July, since heat doesn't matter until they're starting to produce. Now that it's cooler, both of those are starting to blossom, so -- fingers crossed -- I still have a chance to get some big maters this year.
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Post  countrynaturals 9/23/2019, 5:34 pm

Ginger Blue wrote:I need help from those of you who successfully grow tomatoes in containers, using organic practices.  Seems no matter what I do...and I've tried just about everything I've heard or read (including suggestions posted in this thread)....I cannot get the growing substrate or care routine right.  My tomato plants are inevitably sparse and spindly (with very poor yields), or are quickly overcome with disease, late to flower and don't produce fruit. No Sad
Start with cherry tomatoes and trade up. The little guys are like training wheels for the larger varieties. I've still never gotten a beefsteak or brandywine, but this year I have grown some of the medium-sized early types. IMHO, the "early" varieties are the easiest to grow.
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Post  countrynaturals 9/23/2019, 5:50 pm

Cynthia wrote: Pots should be at least 15 gallons (or a half wine barrel will do nicely)
YIKES! I've never had a pot that big for anything but a tree. Right now, my brandywine is in a 3 gallon pot. I will definitely have to remedy that when it comes in for the winter. dangit
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Post  Scorpio Rising 9/23/2019, 6:19 pm

I do have huge containers, I got mine at Walmart several years ago.  

I use potting soil mix on top, I had to drill holes in my containers for drainage.  I filled the bottom half with closed 2L pop bottles (empty) to make them lighter (and cheaper) to fill.  Then I covered the bottles with a thick layer of newspaper to stop the mix from migrating.  I do top them off every spring with blood and bone meal, and fertilize with fish emulsion (Alaska brand from Walmart also) periodically throughout the growing season.  

I grow squash, melons and tomatoes and eggplants over there in my South Annex!  It does well.
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Post  countrynaturals 9/23/2019, 7:10 pm

CapeCoddess wrote:
countrynaturals wrote:
Asperin tablets to prevent disease? Interesting.  Cool

Mel suggests this in the Answer Book.
I just dissolved an 81mg aspirin in a 24 oz spray bottle. I'm going to spray my 4th of July with it right now. I'll let you know if I see any improvement. Right now it's just starting to look tired. Sad

Update: While spraying, I realized that the problem with that plant is just wind damage, but I sprayed it, anyway. I'll do all the rest of my maters, tonight.
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