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Tips for feeding Tomato plants?

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  • Tips for feeding Tomato plants?

    Hello, we have filled a greenhouse with 12 growbags, each of which have 4 tomato plants in them and the tomatoes are starting to grow now. It is a bit of a pain to water them all now, however I have just bought a hose lance to get through the bottoms of the plants to feed the plants at the back.

    Does anyone have an effective method they use for being able to feed the plants on the days when we Tomorite them? The watering can I feel will damage the plants at the front when I attempt to feed the plants at the back.

    Any home-made ideas or anything?

    Thanks
    Rob

  • #2
    4 in a growbag sounds a bit cramped, if its a pain to water them now, it will get much worse as they grow.
    If you can push a plastic bottle (upside down, cap removed, bottom cut off) or tube into the compost, you can water into that and it will get to the roots.

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    • #3
      It maybe worth removing one plant per bag? When they start growing you won't get much airflow around the plants which could cause some leaf mould/botrytis etc.

      Bottles sunk in as VC suggest is the way I water my toms in bags and baskets.

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      • #4
        Hi Rob, I’m not growing in bags but when I was considering my set up in the greenhouse before the season started I found this video which I thought was useful. This guy seems to know what he’s doing! Hope it helps!

        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=j4lAeytPsZA

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        • #5
          Stick some sort of bodged up tray filled with gravel or sand under the grow-bags and water in to that

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          • #6
            Add a short length of hose onto the spout of the watering can and poke it through the front Tom's into a bottle inserted into the back grow bag.

            I agree with every one else about 4 being too many in a grow bag. You'll notice that a lot of grow bags have the holes marked on them for three plants.

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            • #7
              I had three plants in a grow bag in a blowaway last summer and wished I had only put in two, as it was very hard to see what was happening inside the tangle of plants. The growbag had ''cut out' marks for three so this led me to think that was the best number.

              Once I had tasted the Totem tomatoes (v the other tasty two, Gardener's Delight and Red Alert), I doubly wished I had given that third plant a miss!

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              • #8
                It might be too late but, can you get some of the 4ft plant trays and work them underneath, then you can water/feed into the trays rather than the growbags.

                I grow mine in MFBs stood in holeless trays. Water in the tray feed from the top.

                The other problem I always found with using growbags (however many plants you put in them) is that (unless they're all the same) some of the plants will dominate and outgrow the others.

                My dad created an extension to his watering can with a 2ft length of hosepipe and one of those rubber tap adaptors. He cut the hose at an angle so it dripped neatly. Might be able to reach further back without the watering can bashing the plants.

                Whatever you do, good luck.
                Last edited by MarkPelican; 16-06-2019, 04:08 PM.

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                • #9
                  Grow bags are really awkward to water,I had a nightmare of a time with them once,I had about four grow bags in a line right next to each other like a big square,staked into the ground so I couldn’t move them,the plants were so overcrowded by summer & I had a mass of blight in the middle of the mess,in pots you can move them when the plants get bigger,tomatoes really need air circulation. Depending what varieties they are,most I’d plant is two to a grow bag,allow them all 12” width at least,a lot grow wider,good luck with them all,the plastic bottles with the base cut off is a good idea.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by veggiechicken View Post
                    4 in a growbag sounds a bit cramped, if its a pain to water them now, it will get much worse as they grow.
                    If you can push a plastic bottle (upside down, cap removed, bottom cut off) or tube into the compost, you can water into that and it will get to the roots.
                    I saw growbags with 3 'holes' wanting to be cut out however we came across these fatter and bigger ones with four holes that were sold locally so we went with them! I like the idea of the bottle, will try and do that. Will also help with soil flowing out of the bag when watering as well

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Jay-ell View Post
                      Add a short length of hose onto the spout of the watering can and poke it through the front Tom's into a bottle inserted into the back grow bag.

                      I agree with every one else about 4 being too many in a grow bag. You'll notice that a lot of grow bags have the holes marked on them for three plants.
                      I saw a lot of growbags with three holes, but these ones sold locally are fatter and bigger and have 4 pre-marked holes, that was all

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                      • #12
                        Have you worked out how you're going to support 4 plants - assuming that they are determinate rather than bush tomatoes?
                        Usually each tom has its own support - a cane or string. You may need to put these in place before the plants grow too much.
                        You also have to prune the plants, taking out the sideshoots, or they'll be very difficult to control.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by MarkPelican View Post
                          It might be too late but, can you get some of the 4ft plant trays and work them underneath, then you can water/feed into the trays rather than the growbags.

                          I grow mine in MFBs stood in holeless trays. Water in the tray feed from the top.

                          The other problem I always found with using growbags (however many plants you put in them) is that (unless they're all the same) some of the plants will dominate and outgrow the others.

                          My dad created an extension to his watering can with a 2ft length of hosepipe and one of those rubber tap adaptors. He cut the hose at an angle so it dripped neatly. Might be able to reach further back without the watering can bashing the plants.

                          Whatever you do, good luck.
                          Thanks for the tip about the trays, will definitely consider that next year if the growbag-greenhouse setup this year isnt too bad.

                          It's our first year growing this year and I read about the Morrisons Flower Buckets last year when trying to learn things. We currently have a couple of dozen tomato plants in the polytunnel in these flower buckets too, as well as our couple of dozen (i know, a lot...) courgette plants and they are all doing really well. We picked up a hundred or so on Mother's Day from our Morrisons for free (beats even 8 for 99p!)

                          It's fun to trial things this year. Also trying out carrots in a few buckets and also we had 3 seed potatoes left over so we are seeing how those get on. Do you have any experience of potatoes in them?

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by veggiechicken View Post
                            Have you worked out how you're going to support 4 plants - assuming that they are determinate rather than bush tomatoes?
                            Usually each tom has its own support - a cane or string. You may need to put these in place before the plants grow too much.
                            You also have to prune the plants, taking out the sideshoots, or they'll be very difficult to control.
                            We have put a 120cm cane in each hole next to the plants and then connected them to make a sort of frame. The plants are starting to overtake this frame now. We have learned to keep the door open now as well as the windows to allow ventilation and to aid the pollination.
                            We will likely start bringing wires down from the greenhouse frame for the larger plants (we have 4 varieties in there) so that they can keep growing.

                            We have been doing the side shoots, but perhaps could have been more vigilant. This is all a big learning curve this year

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                            • #15
                              sounds like you've made a good start, and when you learn by doing it definitely makes you more aware of what can go wrong :-)

                              I've not tried carrots in buckets, but I do grow some in an old plastic trug which had split and which I filled with soil - not perfect but better than none :-)

                              BTW if you are using wires from the frame for support I'd recommend just keeping them to above head height and attaching twine from then on down, the tomato plants can be twisted round this and it won't cut into them, the way wire would - if the twine you have is of doubtful strength double it up before hanging it, as there will hopefully be quite a weight on it later in the season.

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