I've decided to plunge into gardening this year.* I'm in a condo, facing east, and have planted cherry tomato plants in containers.* A few leaves on the bottom of one plant have*turned yellow with a few grey/black spots.* Do I snip off those leaves?* What could this be?* Fungus?
Also, would someone be so kind*to explain the difference between fertilizer and plant food?* What should I be giving my tomatoes, and when?* I have transplanted them about May 12th (I know, risk of frost)..I'm in Canada.* I watered the plants as soon as they were transplanted.* Then I gave them water every day, for 7 days, and now, I will be watering 2 or 3 times a week.* I got this watering schedule from another website I was on.* Have I over-watered already?
I have also planted bush peas in containers on May 19.* Do I give them fertilizer or plant food, or both?* How often do I water them?* I understand that peas can tolerate harsher conditions than tomatoes, true?
Can I make my own compost of only egg shells and feed that to my peas and tomatoes in between commercially prepared plant food and/or fertilizer? I know watering in the eary AM is better.* My containers do have a hole to allow for drainage.* Is it OK to bring them inside it it suddenly gets really cold?
Thank yo so much!
Hi Chic Gardener,
Tomato plants often get yellow leaves at the base of the plant as they grow, but spots could be fungal or bacterial.* If you are keeping the soil too wet, I would suspect fungal. You should remove these leaves as once leaves yellow, they won't turn green again. Too much nitrogen fertilizer can also cause your tomatoes not to produce flowers, hence less fruit.* There's lots of great tips if you look to the links on the left of this page.* Here's more help with growing tomatoes.
Not sure what the difference is between fertilizer and plant food.* They are probably used to mean the same thing.* There is however, a difference between synthetic and organic fertilizers.* Synthetic fertilizers feed the plants, contain residual salts and are more like steroids for your plants, which can produce lots of lush growth that attracts insect pests.* They are also lacking in micro nutrients.* Organic fertilizers feed the soil which then feeds the plants.* They contain micro nutrients and gently feed the plants more slowly.
Water your tomatoes when the top inch or two of the soil is dry.* The type of containers you use, how much sun and how large the root system will help to determine how often you need to water.* Plants in containers tend to dry out faster and nutrients run out the drainage hole.* Here's some info on growing veggies in containers.
For your peas and other veggies, here's some growing guides.* Peas can withstand frosts so no need to move them indoors in cold weather unless you will have a hard freeze.* Oh, and don't use lots of nitrogen fertilizer with peas (this goes for most vines as well) or you will get lots of green leaves and few flowers.* Tomatoes can be moved indoors for the night if you expect frost.
For potted veggies I would suggest you use compost and not just egg shells.* You can purchase compost in bags at most any garden center.
Thanks Newt.* You've been most helpful!* I will visit those links you suggested.
You are very welcome!* Don't hesitate to write in with more questions if you have them.
I was in your shoes a couple years ago with a small space for gardening and I wanted to try a lot of different plants all at once. So I tried to grow many things like herbs (oregano, basil etc) in conditions that just weren't ever going to be suitable.* So what I would suggest is that you pay very close attention to what kind of light/heat you get on that eastern exposure. Tomatoes need very warm sunny conditions to take off and produce. I wouldn't even worry about fertilizer until the plant is out of control with growth. Then you'll need to feed it. My problems with containers was that they never got warm enough but I kept on watering until the plant got moldy and croaked.
I always think of fertilizer as something for farmers and houseplants. Gardens need natural organic soil to be happy.
I hope that helps a little.
Patrick - http://www.iheartgardening.com
Thanks for your info.* You gentleman are very knowledgeable about these things!
To be honest, I am concerned with my eastern exposure as well.* I know that tomatoes require a lot of sun.* We shall see.*So far, they look healthy.* I'm*watering only when the top inch or so is dry, I've got plenty of drainage, and it's real sunny today over here.* I've got mega notes all about tomatoes and how to grow them etc.* Even a little troubleshooting chart.* Even if just a few flourish, I will be happy.
I'll check out the website you gave me. The more info, the better!
I also agree about the fertilization bit.
ChicGardener, you gave me a giggle with your statement:* "You gentleman are very knowledgeable about these things!"
I'm a she, not a he.* People make that mistake all the time.* I suppose they think of that Gingrich guy.* :shock:* At least we've been helpful.* I hope you enjoy your first home grown tomato from the vine.* I just love them when they are warm from the sun and I can graze in the garden.* YUM!
*So sorry!* I'm glad I'm*not the only one to have made that mistake :)
* I'm finding*the whole experience of growing tomatoes and peas*to be* fun!
I'm hoping for some fruit, but since this is my first year, it is an experience for me.