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Old 20.06.2011, 09:38
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Tomato Plant food

Hi all,

I've got a few tomato plants growing on the balcony and they are starting to get some yellow leaves at the bottom. At home I usually gave them some tomato food, but I can't find any here. In Ireland, I bought it in the supermarket (local not especially big) or hardware or garden centre. Can anybody tell me where I can find it here? I have a huge COOP and Migros garden centre close by but still haven't found any... Do they not go in for that here? And if not, does anyone know a good substitute?

Me & my hungry tomatoes hope someone can help!

Thank you
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Old 20.06.2011, 09:43
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Re: Tomato Plant food

Oh, by the way, I'm based in Zurich but working in Basel so shops in either of those places would be great for me as well as anywhere close by in Germany or France.

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Old 20.06.2011, 09:46
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Re: Tomato Plant food

The migros brico loisirs should definitely have it, it is generally a liquid fertilizer, may be specific to tomatoes but also to red fruits, etc. I have also used just a general all purpose fertilizer with good luck as well. Additionally try Hornbach, Jumbo, and any local garden center there.
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Old 20.06.2011, 09:46
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Re: Tomato Plant food

Have you tried the Obi at M-Parc (Basel)?

The COOP Bau & Hobby at Oberwil definitely has it (#10 tram line, Huslimat stop), as does Bauhaus over in Lörrach.

However, we've planted ours out in the garden and although the leaves are yellow in places, the yield is looking good. Does it matter if the leaves aren't green?

Last edited by Carlos R; 20.06.2011 at 10:03.
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Old 20.06.2011, 09:47
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Re: Tomato Plant food

You will find several options in any garden shop. They do liquid and granular types. Just ask someone for Tomatendünger. A lot of places stock the Hauert brand but Coop and Migros also have their own brands.



Cheers
Jekyll
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Old 20.06.2011, 09:51
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Re: Tomato Plant food

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However, we've planted ours out in the garden and although the leaves are yellow in places, the yield is looking good. Does it matter if the leaves arent' green?
If new growth is yellowing then you have a problem. Could be a nutrient, pest or fungal problem. If it's the lower leaves then I wouldn't worry. I normally remove the bottom 2 layers of leaves anyway since this allows more air circulation around the plants.

Cheers
Jekyll
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Old 20.06.2011, 15:17
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Re: Tomato Plant food

Yes it is just at the bottom, I'm pretty sure there's no fungus and they're in a very sunny spot so that's why I thought that they might need some fertiliser. I'll remove the bottom leaves and check out the shops you've all suggested.

The yield is looking good so far, so hopefully that'll fix it.

Thank you all
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Old 21.06.2011, 12:47
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Re: Tomato Plant food

Thanks again. Got my tomato food last night and removed the bottom layer of leaves. It's looking good
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Old 21.06.2011, 13:04
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Re: Tomato Plant food

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Hi all,

I've got a few tomato plants growing on the balcony and they are starting to get some yellow leaves at the bottom. At home I usually gave them some tomato food, but I can't find any here. In Ireland, I bought it in the supermarket (local not especially big) or hardware or garden centre. Can anybody tell me where I can find it here? I have a huge COOP and Migros garden centre close by but still haven't found any... Do they not go in for that here? And if not, does anyone know a good substitute?

Me & my hungry tomatoes hope someone can help!

Thank you
Hi Murray,

Tomato leaves generally go yellow at the bottom for a few reasons:
  • Dry stress
  • Magnesium deficiency (strongly mottled appearance)
  • Potassium deficiency (weakly but general mottled appearance)
  • Disease - Fusarium (typically only half of the leaf (initially))
  • low pH (acid soils inhibit the uptake of potassium, magnesium, and calcium)
Dry Stress
as the plant begins to flower the water demand increases, and will remain so while the plant fills fruit. The bigger the plant, the more water.
If it's in a pot, then you have to increase the frequency of the waterings, not the volume.
Ensure to drain at least 15% of the applied water through the pot to leach salts from the soil media.

Magnesium deficiency
Epsom salts should do the trick, but don't apply more than a teaspoon per plant in any given week (approx 2-5g).
disolving into a solution, and spraying directly on the leaves in the morning will also help.

Potassium deficiency
The product that Jekyll mentioned earlier has a reasonable balance of NPK, so this shouldn't really be too much of an issue to correct.
Again, the higher the fruit load, increase the rate of fertiliser per week.
Small regular doses are better than large applied rates.



Disease
...... Bugger all you can do here mate - the plant will die.
If one half of the leaf turns yellow, cut the vascular tissue at the base of the plant (yellow leaf side) to inspect for a 'browning' of the tissue.
If so, remove the plant as quickly as possible.
The disease is 'soil borne' and so will rapidly infect the others.
- Don't plant another solonaceous plant back into this soil (eggplant, capsicum, chilli, etc.)
-rotate with a cucurbit (all melons, cucumbers, zuchinni's etc), or perhaps some sweet corn.

Low pH
To be honest....... the best product is actually 'cement powder'.
largely uneconomic on a commercial scale, but a small liquid amount (mix some cement into water and decant the solution) will
increase the pH
apply calcium
apply silicon

Too much and the high pH will start to interfere with the uptake of micronutrients such as Iron and Manganese in particular.
(Look for strong clear mottling of the new growth. Iron deficiency (severe) can be white.


Always best to apply small amounts first and increase the rates with time. It's easier to correct a deficiency than a toxicity so be careful
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Old 21.06.2011, 13:41
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Re: Tomato Plant food

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Thanks again. Got my tomato food last night and removed the bottom layer of leaves. It's looking good
In a Hydroponic situation tomatoes generally grow a single cordon (just one leader, not a bush as such).

There is typically about 6 -7 sets of fruit on each cordon with a set of flowers.

Ignoring the growing tip and first soft leaf, there is an optimal amount of leaves that varies between 16-18.

Too many older leaves and the older leaves yellow and curl up naturally, while they translocate potassium and magnesium into the newer healthier flush. Hence removal helps the plant.

Stripping the plant back to 15 leaves or less, limits the size potential of the fruit, and also hastens the ripening process.
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Old 21.06.2011, 15:14
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Re: Tomato Plant food

There's a wealth of tomato info here! I'll check those symptoms and make sure it's not diseased. The rest of the plant is looking good though which is why I think it's more like to be the last. I'm also going to make sure my pots have enough drainage holes at the bottom, I'm not sure if they do and I'm always a little worried about the soil being waterlogged as I only water them once a day in the evening after work, so maybe I'm not watering them enough... I'll look into that this evening.


As thanks, here's my favourite tomato recipe. It's incredibly easy and one of the most delicious things I've ever eaten.


Panzanella:
1kg tomatoes (any variety, in fact it's nicer if you have a mixture)
2 large yellow/orange peppers, roasted with the skin removed and cut into strips
1 small red chilli seeds removed, finely chopped (optional)

100g/3½oz capers rinsed, drained and lightly chopped

1 ciabatta loaf (preferably stale) chopped/torn into bite-sized pieces

4 tbsp red wine vinegar

5 garlic cloves, crushed
3 or 4 anchovy fillets

250ml/9fl oz extra virgin olive oil

(a little) salt and (lots of) freshly ground black pepper

handful fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped


Start by removing the skin from the tomatoes if you have the patience, it's not nessecary but makes it a little nicer. Then remove the seeds and chop the tomatoes (not too small). Press the seeds through a sieve into a large mixing bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly. Leave to sit for at least an hour.


In this recipe the anchovies are essential so please don't leave them out. I think they're pretty rank in general, but in this they melt into the dressing and just add a nice seasoning, you don't taste any fishy taste at all. If you really don't like them only add 1 or 2, but please do add some - they make it a thousand times better!



I hope you guys enjoy this tomato recipe and thanks to your tips, hopefully so will I
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Old 21.06.2011, 16:26
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Re: Tomato Plant food

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Yes it is just at the bottom, I'm pretty sure there's no fungus and they're in a very sunny spot so that's why I thought that they might need some fertiliser. I'll remove the bottom leaves and check out the shops you've all suggested.

The yield is looking good so far, so hopefully that'll fix it.

Thank you all
In my opinion it's totally normal that lower leaves die off and there isn't a problem with that. If your previous experience with tomatoes was with garden ones then it's normal that those in containers will behave a bit differently but no need to worry. Tomato plants are amazingly sturdy and resilient and there is in fact very little that will kill them in the way of pests or fungi.
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Old 27.06.2011, 15:36
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Re: Tomato Plant food

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Tomato plants are amazingly sturdy and resilient and there is in fact very little that will kill them in the way of pests or fungi.
.... you actually couldn't be more wrong with that one. The list of pest and diseases is extensive..... however, good soil hygiene is the key to success. "Prevention is better than the cure"


Singularly Tomatoes are easy to grow as the growth process is extremely fast (average a set of flowers and new growth per week).

In a 'monoculture' pest dynamics swing very quickly, so you have to be on your toes.

Inspect leaves after rainfall events for disease.
(usually under the leaves for powdery mildew etc. ..... or hold a suspicious leaflet upto the light to examine for a 'ring' of pale tissue around a spot (indicating a bacterial or fungal infection))

Check the growth flush (and especially the little hairs), flowers and small fruit at least every 5 days for signs of insect egglay.
N.B. many moths are 'noctuids' and are active on nights with high light intensity (full moons or clear skies). Pay close attention after these periods for signs of activity.
Egg lay generally takes about 3 days to hatch (5 days in cold weather) into a grub. Clear or green eggs are fresh, any other colour is older (less time to hatch).
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