Is 10-10-10 appropriate fertiliser for tomatoes

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On Sat, 07 Jun 2008 08:02:06 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@privacy.net wrote:

for tomatoes and everything else <g>?
They're supposed to be spectacular in improving the soil (which according to organic gardeners, helps plants more than chemical fertilizers). I'm just at the beginning of my program, so wondered about others' experiences.
TIA
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Persephone wrote:

Last year I mulched my peppers with shredded office paper. The worms loved it; I had to replace it several times. The dirt was almost nothing but worm castings by the end of the year.
I'm gonna do the same thing this year if it ever stops raining.
Bob
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You should be able to find some cheap fertilizer that dissolves in water at Home Depot or Walmart. I got a big box of 15-30-15 at Walmart for less than $10.
I like to fix the fertilizer with equal parts pulverized lime to take care of ph issues and prevent blossom end rot.
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Get some fish emulsion and use it at full strength and throw your 10-10-10 away. If you can't do that, then use it with your fish emulsion at a quarter strength. Chemical fertilizers kill soil organisms that will feed your plants. If you grow soil, the soil will grow your plants.
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Billy
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Billy wrote:

I agree with your conclusion, mostly, but not how you get there. Commercial balanced fertilizers are mostly made with urea, ammonium phosphate, and potassium chloride. None of them are particularly harmful to soil organisms *if used lightly*. OTOH, if you pour on the ammonium sulfate to make your lawn look like a golf green, you will ruin the soil.
When you first start feeding the soil, it will sometimes compete with your plants for nutrients, especially nitrogen. Feeding the plants will help. The problem is when you feed the plants while ignoring the soil.
Bob
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If used lightly (or strongly), salts of ammonia and nitrates won't nurture the web of soil organisms whose dying populations feed the plants through the breakdown of amino acids. I'm sure you will agree that the soil organisms are better served through mulching, application of rock phosphate, and application of either "green" or animal manure. From my reading (I'm sure you will correct me if I get it wrong) of "Teaming with Microbes", chemical fertilizer salts affect soil organisms in the same manner as table salt does snails and slugs. In low concentrations, they don't hurt but they don't help the soil. Fertilizer salts do help plants (in a limited way with macro-nutrients) but you may as well be growing hydroponicaly in that case and you will have reduced the phytonutrients anthocyanins and flavonoids in your harvest.
So, where are the holes in my reasoning?
Hope your garden is doing well:o)
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wrote:

either treat the soil as a gorwing medium and feed nutrients directly to the plant or treat the soil as the source of nutrients and feed the soil.
rob
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But the results won't be equal. The later will be more nutritious and and the former will attract more insect pests.
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