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Author Topic: is dolomite really necessary for tomato?  (Read 5177 times)
bokchoy
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jakarta, Indonesia


« on: November 14, 2008, 09:54:54 PM »

I have 2 ebs, 1 has chillies and the other one has not been set up. Planning to put tomatoes.
I have grown few tomatoes seedlings (marmande and cherry) they are on jiffy pots as we speak and about 8-10 cm tall with 2 true leaves are about 1 cm in diameter.

Now i only plan to put 3 plants in eb mixed with dolomite and the other (about 7-8 plants in small jiffy pots) will be put in normal terracotta pots filled with potting mix.
I've been shoping around for dolomite, but the one available is different than dolomite that came with the eb. The color is orange and its got magnesium content. The package says one handful for every square meter. How much should I put in a pot? And is it really necessary to mix dolomite in potting mix?

Thanks

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Moonglow
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Corte Madera, CA - Zone 10a


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« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2008, 09:59:40 PM »

hi, bokchoy!  looking forward to seeing your tomato photos.  please keep us posted on the varieties you will grow.  i will be sending some seeds to the philippines, and your success in jakarta will be a good indication of what can be grown successfully in manila.
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Moonglow
Sustainable Gardening One Planter At A Time
Donald1800
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Fontana, CA Zone 8


« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2008, 10:46:57 PM »

Yes, Dolomite is essential for nearly ALL crops in a sterile mix/container environment.  What you want is a calcium/magnesium powder with a 1:1 to 2:1 ratio.  The orange color baffles me - I have never seen a calcium/magnesium amendment this color.

Donald1800
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RatedPG
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Posts: 348

Zone 8B (Jacksonville, FL)


« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2008, 11:06:08 PM »

From my (limited) EB experience, tomatoes need dolomite the most.  I even had to add a dolomite/water into watering tube in the middle of the season to deal with Blossom End Rot on my tomato plants.  The added dolomite apparently solved the problem.  I'm still harvesting tomatoes from my spring crops.
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bokchoy
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jakarta, Indonesia


« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2008, 03:04:11 AM »

hi, bokchoy!  looking forward to seeing your tomato photos.  please keep us posted on the varieties you will grow.  i will be sending some seeds to the philippines, and your success in jakarta will be a good indication of what can be grown successfully in manila.
I think success is still far away =)

They are still small at the moment and I am looking to transplant 3 of em into the eb next week when they are a bit bigger.
I have 3 varieties now, gross lisse (about 4 plants), marmande (5 plants), cherry (6 plants) I am looking to put 1 marmande and 1 cherry on eb and see how they go. The rest I will have em on pots.

I am surprised on how fast they grow, it seems like they enjoy the heat of the tropic. The sun shines 9-11 hours a day from 7 am to 6 pm.

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bokchoy
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jakarta, Indonesia


« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2008, 03:11:01 AM »

Yes, Dolomite is essential for nearly ALL crops in a sterile mix/container environment.  What you want is a calcium/magnesium powder with a 1:1 to 2:1 ratio.  The orange color baffles me - I have never seen a calcium/magnesium amendment this color.

Donald1800
its definitely orange, or light orange.

Okay, I bought it anyway, it says 60% calc and 38%magnesium and some neuteralizing agent.
Says, 1 handful per square meter. Do I have to mix the whole pot potting mix or just the top 10-20 cm ?
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Deb
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The Pacific NorthWE'T - Sunset - W. Climate Zone 6


« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2008, 05:06:37 AM »

For my spring planting, I mixed the dolomite throughout the entire potting mix - all my boxes got new mix.  For my winter garden I started to dump the EB and mix the dolomite in the entire mix, decided I'd never get done if I did that, and followed EB's directions and mixed it into the top few inches of the old mix, then added new mix to eplace what I had romoved.  The dolomite is about root level for the seedlings. 

I figure if the wicking is working and it will take the fertilizer from the top to the roots, it will also move the dolomite throughout the mix.  We'll see.

I think I would use the suggested amount of dolomite even though yours is orange (should make it easy to see when it is mixed in).  2 cups per EB.  1 cup = 240ml (if I'm wrong, someone please correct me)  Write down what you do so you can share the info and remember for next time.  You are using a peat based potting mix, right?  Peat is acidic and the lime will sweeten it up.

If I'm reading you right, bokchoy, you are planning on putting 3 tomatoes in one EB?  That is too many tomato plants.  See the suggested planting guide - 2 tomatoes are plenty for one box.

Deb - where the sun shines rarely this time of year and it's only light from 7:30-5...
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Donald1800
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Fontana, CA Zone 8


« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2008, 05:56:09 PM »

Yes, Deb is correct - 2 cups (480 ml) for everything except acid loving plants, i.e. strawberries, where 1 cup is usually used.

I mix the dolomite throughout the entire mix before placing in the EB.  The reason I do this is to establish a uniform Ph/calcium/magnesium state throughout the whole growing medium from the first day rather than depending upon the gradual migration by water flow.

Donald1800
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bokchoy
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jakarta, Indonesia


« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2008, 09:29:56 PM »

Ok, thanks, will mix the entire mix with dolomite, and yes indeed, the color will help.
Thanks again
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David
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Connecticut Zone 6b


« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2008, 09:54:19 PM »

I've been shoping around for dolomite, but the one available is different than dolomite that came with the eb. The color is orange and its got magnesium content.

Don't know about the color but magnesium is what makes dolomitic limestone dolomitic (calcitic limestone has little or no magnesium content). What can be labeled "dolomitic limestone" depends on the state. Florida requires a minimum of 36% magnesium carbonate for a product to be labeled "standard dolomitic liming material" and 30% for  "dolomitic liming material". Alabama requires "6% elemental magnesium." Farmers refer to a limestone magnesium carbonate level of  15% to 20% as "dolomitic".

The varying laws are why, I suspect, manufacturers don't always label "Dolomitic Limestone" as such when that is what it is. They would have to have different labels for different states. They do, however list the MgCO3 and right there you can tell if what you have is dolomitic.
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bokchoy
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Posts: 73

jakarta, Indonesia


« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2008, 10:37:31 PM »

I've been shoping around for dolomite, but the one available is different than dolomite that came with the eb. The color is orange and its got magnesium content.

Don't know about the color but magnesium is what makes dolomitic limestone dolomitic (calcitic limestone has little or no magnesium content). What can be labeled "dolomitic limestone" depends on the state. Florida requires a minimum of 36% magnesium carbonate for a product to be labeled "standard dolomitic liming material" and 30% for  "dolomitic liming material". Alabama requires "6% elemental magnesium." Farmers refer to a limestone magnesium carbonate level of  15% to 20% as "dolomitic".

The varying laws are why, I suspect, manufacturers don't always label "Dolomitic Limestone" as such when that is what it is. They would have to have different labels for different states. They do, however list the MgCO3 and right there you can tell if what you have is dolomitic.

On the package, it says 60% calc 38% magnesium. ...
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Donald1800
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Fontana, CA Zone 8


« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2008, 10:43:52 PM »

That is a high grade Dolomite.

Donald1800
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bokchoy
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jakarta, Indonesia


« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2008, 12:10:34 AM »

That is a high grade Dolomite.

Donald1800
It also says grade 1, means good? It's expensive...
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David
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Connecticut Zone 6b


« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2008, 08:06:20 AM »

It also says grade 1, means good? It's expensive...

Prices vary widely in the USA. A brand name 5lb bag of high magnesium (>35%) "dolomitic" limestone can cost about the same as a 40lb sack of limestone with a lower (around 25%) or the same magnesium content.  Growers who use a lot of this stuff just buy the cheapest out there. It's all a mixture of calcium and magnesium carbonates.

While when growing in an EB you do need a source of magnesium and dolomitic limestone provides that as well as the calcium plants need, if you are growing in soil, its best to have a soil test to see if you need dolomitic limestone. Many soils do need magnesium but some don't. In my area of Connecticut, many soils (including mine) have above optimums levels of magnesium. As too much magnesium can block calcium uptake, we use calcitic limestone to provide calcium and raise the pH.

« Last Edit: November 16, 2008, 08:09:10 AM by David » Logged
Donald1800
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Fontana, CA Zone 8


« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2008, 03:24:27 PM »

David is correct regarding the variability of in-ground/soil magnesium content, and the sterile/non-rock/clay/sea mineral potting mix must have this element added for plant health.  Most gardeners do not know that the chlorophyll that causes the plant's green color is just like our blood, but the nucleus is magnesium instead of iron contained in our blood.  So, ALL green plants need magnesium.  But, as David stated, too much locks up other nutrients.  I too highly recommend that EB gardeners buy and use a soil test kit with a minimum PH N P K test sequence - and good sized gardens could use a more detailed test kit testing these nutrients plus many other elements.

Donald1800
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