Good tomato fertilizer?

At the beginning of this season, I purchased some "Sta-Green Tomato & Vegetable Food", 12-10-5. I was wondering if this would be suitable for my tomatoes, some of which are in 20" pots and some of which are in the ground. I used the recommended amount at planting time (late May), and I'm getting ready to add a little more in the next few days.
I've seen some messages on this newsgroup that suggest calcium is important for tomatoes. The Sta-Green fertilizer has no calcium -- it has nitrogen, phosphate, potash, boron, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, and zinc. Will this do the trick, or should I use something in addition? I've heard too much nitrogen can hinder fruit production.
Any feedback would be appreciated.
Stephen Younge Boulder, CO
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On Tue, 08 Jul 2003 10:08:13 -0400, Jim Carter

I recently heard Ralph Snodsmith of the Gardening Hotline show say you should crush up the egg shells and boil them, then water the plants with that water. I suspect that it would take many months for the shells to decay and amend the soil but the calcium water would be absorbed immediately.
or..
Mix 1 tablespoon calcium cloride (road salt) with 1 pint water and pout that around the base of the plant. Good for preventing blossom end rot in tomatoes.
---pete---
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---Pete--- wrote:

Are you certain you didn't have Epsom Salts in mind?
--
Zone 5b (Detroit, MI)
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On Tue, 08 Jul 2003 04:23:28 GMT, "Stephen Younge"

Last year I added Ironite to my garden which is a fertilizer with all those micro nutrients and minerals. I can't prove it but I suspect that the Ironite was responsible for such great tasting tomatoes I had last year.
I'm in New Jersey and we had a drought last year so maybe the lack of water also contributed to the taste of my tomatoes. I guess I'll find out this year because I used the Ironite and we have plenty of rain this year.
--pete--
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I'd be cautious about using Ironite on vegies. It has been discovered that at least one of their products contains high levels of arsenic and lead. The state of Washington has now passed a few weak laws on proper labeling on fertilizers, but most don't have to say what those "inert ingredients" are, nor where they come from (Ironite was using mining wastes IIRC).
Some farmers have lost use of their lands because the heavy metal toxicities have become too great.
You can look up some articles on it from the Seattle Times, or perhaps:     http://www.envirolaw.org/poison.html
Sorry for the bad news.
    -frank
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---Pete--- said:

Jersey greensand is usually recommended as a trace mineral source (plus, bonus, for sandy soils, a very slow release K source).
Seaweed sprays (I use Maxicrop brand, dry powder, mix with water for foliar feeds or transplant drench) is a trace element source.
--
Pat in Plymouth MI

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Yes, it did seem old.
The Seattle Times (which is clearly not a radical paper -- far from it) commissioned an independent laboratory to evaluate the heavy metal content of a variety of commercial fertilizers. The lab found numerous cases (including some major brand-name products) where heavy metal content was substantial. IIRC Duff Wilson, the reporter who uncovered this, wrote a book about it.
What happened when this became more widely known was, in retrospect at least, fairly predictable. Bills were introduced into the Wa state legislature, where they drew intense lobbying by the affected industries. Here in the west, at least, mining industries are big business. They were _legally_ dumping toxic waste into the open arms of the fertilizer companies, who were selling it as part of their fertilizer products. At the national (US) level, this regulatory loophole in EPA regulations has been closed, but only after a 6-month delay after regulations are published in the Federal Register. Don't know if they've been published yet, though the law was passed/amended in mid-2002.
Ironite claims that the arsenic and lead are in forms that are not "biologically available". Maybe that is true -- now. But with unknown chemical reactions over decades, personally I'm not willing to gamble my family's health that these won't be converted by some microorganism to some form that would be absorbed by some vegetable. In most states, there is no requirement to publish heavy metal content on fertilizers. Their assertion is not necessarily true, given that at least some farmers who have used some of these products over a period of years have suffered substantial losses as their fields -- now far less productive -- now test very high for heavy metals.
Until/unless fertilizer companies list source materials, or provide chemical content assays, my personal choice is to avoid them, even on my lawn. I encourage others to do the same, hoping that some day more fertilizer companies will see the wisdom in behaving in an honorable fashion.
    -frank
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snipped-for-privacy@u.washington.edu (Frank Miles) wrote:

Valuable information, thank you!
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writes:

fish emulsion and kelp meal Emilie NorCal
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On Tue, 08 Jul 2003 04:23:28 GMT, "Stephen Younge"

processing-market tomatoes. Although information on conventional tomato practices is available from many sources, comprehensive information on organic cultivation practices is difficult to find. Organic tomato production differs from conventional production primarily in soil fertility, weed, insect, and disease management. These are the focus of this publication, with special emphasis on fresh market tomatoes. http://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/PDF/tomato.pdf In Nigeria, tomatoes yielded 44 and 42 T/A when swine manure or poultry manure was applied at 9 T/A. Tomatoes yielded 37 and 42 T/A on fields treated with sewage sludge or rabbit manure applied at 18 T/A. Organic manures performed better than NPK treatments, which yielded only 31 T/A (15).
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Good old compost even if it is from a bag. Add some eggshells, a banana peel, and keep a fish tank for homemade "fish emulsion". Every 2 weeks, I clean my tanks and pour the water onto my potted plants. My babies did very well except that I have fusarium wilt on several tomato plants. Not sure how I got it, but it's there. Luckily I have some resistant varieties too so it's not all lost. The eggshells are for calcium to prevent blossom end rot and the banana has potassium. Also excellent for rose bushes. Mine bloom quicker when I stick a peel under the soil around the plants.
I make a small heep of grass clippings, leaves, newspaper shreds, apple peels (son hates those), strawberry tops, pine needles, rabbit droppings (with tree shavings), and whatever plant scraps I can get out there. Just keep piling it up on the ground where you want to plant next year. The worms will take care of it. Get a shovel after a month or two and dig into the pile. Toss it around a little. Next year you will have a nice compost area to plant in. I have "Bush Goliath" tomatoes in last year's pile and they are the only plants that are still green and have not got the wilts. They have tons of fruit while the rest of my friends have no tomatoes and just vines what few haven't got the wilts. My bunnies love to nibble the plants and they haven't destroyed them yet. In fact, they nap under these nice bushy tomato plants. The other plants aren't so lush but they are also in pots and I used bagged compost from WalMart. Not nearly so good as the homemade stuff.
Carla

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