tomatoes grown in pots on patio

I am growing two tomato plants in large pots on my patio. I got one Green Zebra and one Purple Cherokee. Both say they need full sun. On my patio they get sun from about 11 AM till about 6 pm. I bought Miracle Grow Potting Mix. (this one: http://tinyurl.com/dovco )
I put the plants in the pots and my Fiance started putting used coffee grounds and used herbal tea bags on top of the potting mix. She says her grandmother swears by it. I never heard of this. Any thoughts? I also was reading posts on the web about putting whole bananas or just the peels on the posts too. We have had the plants in the pots about 1 week. Should I add peels or whole bananas now or is it too late? I have never heard of putting banana in either.
I have noticed both plants have a couple leaves each that have ends curled up and brown. But only one or two leaves on each plant and they are the leaves that look closest to the soil/coffee grounds/tea bags.
She also made a water/dish soap mixture up and put some on the plants a few days ago. She said it keeps harmful bugs away.
Any suggestions to ensure best production of tomatoes?
As a side note although I like ripe tomatoes, I LOVE fried green tomatoes. I used to drive my mom crazy picking her biggest green tomatoes and requesting she fry them up.
I'd love to get a lot of big tomatoes out of these two plants. So I can piss off my fiance picking a lot green.. ;)
Any help is appreciated.
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Potting
Deer and shade have driven me to planting tomatoes in pots on deck. My sun time is similar to yours and I get lots of tomatoes. I would not add any of the stuff you mentioned but I do need to add a couple of handfulls of limestone to prevent blossom end rot. Last year I made the mistake of adding fertilizer too early and nearly killed the plants - best to wait until they have some growth. Water needs to be more frequent than if they were in the ground. Not familar with what you planted but I plant Big Boys. Pots are 20 inch across top. Frank
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I wouldn't mess with them too much after transplant. Plants have a habit of no top growth for a week or two after I transplant them, then thye take off. The only fertilizer i every give to young and transplants is liquid seaweed. I've never gone wrong with that stuff. It focuses on micronutrients and those that help roots & the plants internal systems. It has no nitrogen, so it does cause the plants to become leafy which can ruin chances for flowers/fruits and weaken the plant.
The bananas are a source of potassium and something else. If you read a variety of sources for composting, bananas, egg shells, coffee grinds and various others are added to give the compost a more complex, and hopefully balanced and rich nutrient makeup. I don't know about just leaving these things on top of the soil. I do mix in a few things into the hole I make for tomatoes. Eggshells are one of the things, since they break down into calcium which is important for avoiding blossom end-rot. I think coffee grinds can contribute to swinging the ph some. Can't recall in which direction. I know coffee grinds on hydrangeas is the layman's way of shifting the ph and trying to encourage certain colors on the hydrangea. Decomposing materials can very chemically active ("hot") and I don't know if I would risk that with a young plant. I would use the compost tea made from banana peels, but not the peels. I would mash/chop peels up, let them decompose and then turn them under some dirt or form a compost. I also hate the smell of banana and rotting banana can't be good.

DiGiTAL ViNYL (no email) Zone 6b/7, Westchester Co, NY, <1 mile off L.I.Sound 3rd year gardener http://photos.yahoo.com/ph/royalfrazier /
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Most tree catalogs define "full sun" as meaning 6 to 8 hours a day. It sounds like you are alright.
Dwayne

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Potting
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I have roma tomatoes that volunteer in my dog run each year. They grown in horrible, compacted clay soil that has about two inches of river rock over it. The run is on the north side of my house and there is a large sycamore tree that provides even more shade. My neighbor grows tomatoes in containers in a similar location. Although they probably prefer full sun, I know they will grow in partial shade and in the worst soil, with absolutely no fertilizer or care.
Personally, I wouldn't bother with the coffee grounds and bananas. If you do use the grounds, etc., I would wait until the plants are growing well - like after you have consistently hot days. You can give them a tablespoon of a balanced fertilizer like 10-10-10 each week, or a specially formulated fertilizer for vegetables that has a larger middle number. As for the soap solution, I'm not sure that it will prevent insect infestation, but it is often a good approach to controlling insects. I mixes some up yesterday to treat an aphid infestation on my spirea. I use dish detergent, vegetable oil, and baking soda in a spray bottle and give the new tender foliage a good soaking.
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Nate wrote:

Troll somewhere else Nate.
--

Travis in Shoreline (just North of Seattle) Washington
USDA Zone 8
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I am growing cherry tomatoes in pots as well. How big should my pot be? Also, I realized because of the trees aroudn my house I get maybe 4 hours of direct sunlight in any area a day. Is this a problem?

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In my experience, you can get away with a one gallon pot, but a three gallon pot would be better. I had a neighbor who grew tomatoes in pots on the north side of his house with lots of shade from trees and they produced faily well. If all you have is 4 hours, then go with it. The alternative would be to not grown them.

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I've had great success with 4 tomato plants in a 1.5 quart (2 quart at most) clay pot. They seem to like loose soil as I packed the soil one day and they started to struggle. The soil was composted soil made with coffee grounds, banana peels, oak leaves, jacaranda tree needles, some WalMart dirts and Florida sand. I was amazed by what the self made composted dirt does and continue to have good success with it. I keep adding coffee grounds, banana peels and orange peels to it. Every so often I put some sphagnum peat into it as well.
Anyways, for about 5 or 6 months, the tomato plants did absolutely wonderful. I'm not 100% positive that pressing the soil down did what it did, but that's the way I'm leaning. There were 4 of the plants in one small pot (about 7" high, maybe 6" across the top). And I found out they love the bottom feeding, filling the pot bottom from a bigger plastic pot with water every morning.
They are now in the ground and I'm still watching them. They seem to making a comeback (their roots must be spreading outward now.
They get maybe 3 hours of direct sun each day as the sun is setting. They have been under a tree for the last 3 to 4 months and they started out on a dining room table until they just got too big for the table (they did get more direct sun at that time because the dining table is in a sun room on the south side of the house and the sun was running farther south).
So my conclusions include the following: 1) Composted loose rich soil for tomatoes. 2) 3 or 4 hours of direct sun is all they need, anymore seems to stress them, especially when the temps are 80 or higher. 3) They grow well with a lot of indirect sunlight. 4) A smallish clay pot works great to start them. After they get to about 8 inches or more in height, putting the clay pot into a larger plastic pot's bottom and filling the plastic bottom with water every day works great.
I place some emphasis upon the order above, where the most important thing is having a nicely composted rich soil. Based upon what Vox mentioned about her neighbor having them in the shade all day, I'll go along with that. In fact, I know for a fact that overkill on sunlight stresses tomatoes here in Florida. I've not had any success at all with tomatoes placed in direct sunlight here. But it could be a combination of things that caused my problems with direct sun (like poor soil (sand), temps reaching 80 F).
-- Jim Carlock Please post replies to newsgroup.
In my experience, you can get away with a one gallon pot, but a three gallon pot would be better. I had a neighbor who grew tomatoes in pots on the north side of his house with lots of shade from trees and they produced faily well. If all you have is 4 hours, then go with it. The alternative would be to not grown them.
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I don't use anything smaller than a 30 gallon tub for tomatoes. They are very heavy feeders and would need watering a few to three times a day in the heat of our spring/early summer.
V
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3 hours a day may be adequate sun at 30 degrees latitude, but not at 45 degrees, where 5-7 hours would be the minimum needed for good tomato production. The angle and intensity of sunlight are important factors in things like this. That being said, cherry tomatoes are more tolerant of almost anything than the full size varieties.

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