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Author Topic: Use of time release fertilizer for tomatoes?  (Read 1671 times)
floridabrits
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« on: January 10, 2012, 09:29:09 AM »

Hello Earth Box fans...   I am brand new to Earth Box and just purchased my first one to plant organic heirloom tomatoes.

I consulted with the store that I purchased it from and they steered me away from the lime/fertilizer that came with the EB and sold me organic ones instead...   I have planted everything up and it all looks good to go, except I noticed afterward that the organic fertilizer I have been sold/put in the EB is time release and when I re-read the instructions for the EB it says not to use time release fertilizer.

Does anyone understand the reason for this?  Am I going to have issues with my tomatoes?  I don't really want to dig everything up and start again with new soil unless there's a showstopper here that means I have to!

Many thanks in advance for your experienced views and suggestions...

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gardendoc
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« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2012, 09:59:52 AM »

Most organic fertilizers will be considered "time released" when compared to the synthetic ag fertilizers. It's the controlled released coated fertilizers like Osmocote that should be avoided (though I don't know why, buts that's for another discussion). I would not worry
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floridabrits
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« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2012, 10:30:48 AM »

Thank you for the quick response... much appreciated!
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movrshakr
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« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2012, 10:33:21 AM »

You say they steered you away from the "lime"--do you mean the dolomite?  That -is- needed.

I think ALL organic fertilizers are slow release by their nature--which someone might label "time-release" purely for marketing purposes, to have a better sounding word.

I believe this store you refer to simply engaged in an "up-sell" tactic to get more money from you.  I would scratch them off my list for ANY future products or advice.  Either they were dishonest, or they don't know what they are talking about.  Either way, not a business I would want to give money to.  

They are more expert in the Earthbox than the people who designed and built the system?  I don't think so.
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floridabrits
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« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2012, 10:40:32 AM »

Thanks again for the quick response...

The Garden Center is a very reputable one that we have been using for many years. I know the folks there well and I do trust them. I specifically told them I didn't want to use the chemical based 'ingredients' that came in the box and that I wanted to use organic only. They pointed me at the organic mixtures I needed.

They recommended I use an organic "Garden Lime" instead of the dolomite. I am unsure what dolomite is (I am not an experienced gardener at all - in fact this is my first foray into growing my own!) but my understanding was that I could use the organic garden lime in place of the dolomite as I wanted my EB to be 'organic'.

Hope this helps clarify... apologies for any confusion in my first post...
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Sun City Linda
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« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2012, 11:26:07 AM »

Welcome to EarthBox growing!  I grow lots of tomatoes also and am now up to about a dozen boxes.  Someone who knows more than me (almost ANYONE) will comment on the lime issue I am sure, but I always use Dolomite Lime to prevent BER in my tomatoes.  BER (blossom end rot)  is a common occurrence when tomatoes have trouble getting certain nutrients, like calcium.  I have ordered the organic kit from EB before which comes which organic ferts and dolomite lime.  This forum has been a wonderful resource for me and I am sure it will be for you too! Linda
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movrshakr
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Zone 10a- near Cape Canaveral


« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2012, 12:14:23 PM »

I do not think the dolomite makes a box non-organic.  It is from natural substances, not a manufactured chemical.  It is essentially minerals and elements--primarily calcium and magnesium and trace amounts of other things.  Calcium should be approximately twice the amount of magnesium, 2:1 ratio.

The organic kit from EB contains dolomite.

Did your original items include the organic kit or the standard fertilizer kit?
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floridabrits
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« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2012, 12:44:49 PM »

I didn't buy an organic 'kit' as it wasn't in the store, but took the advice on the Garden Center on what to buy...  I'll check and see what my organic lime mix contains.

Thanks again!  Great responses on this forum - love it!

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cushman350
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Tomato Hell, Wichita Falls, TX Zone 7b Yeah right


« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2012, 01:03:01 PM »

If the "garden lime" you refer to is Espoma, I have used this with success.

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floridabrits
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« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2012, 01:06:41 PM »

That's the boy  Grin

Fabulous!   Thank you all for your help and guidance...   Looking forward to my first crop!
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cushman350
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Tomato Hell, Wichita Falls, TX Zone 7b Yeah right


« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2012, 01:10:22 PM »

That's the boy  Grin

Fabulous!   Thank you all for your help and guidance...   Looking forward to my first crop!

As movrshakr said, "Calcium should be approximately twice the amount of magnesium, 2:1 ratio". That's the important thing for the correct form of lime. Always check the analysis. There are limes out there have very little magnesium and are not suitable.

« Last Edit: January 10, 2012, 01:12:30 PM by cushman350 » Logged

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cushman350
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Tomato Hell, Wichita Falls, TX Zone 7b Yeah right


« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2012, 01:14:31 PM »

Hello Earth Box fans...   I am brand new to Earth Box and just purchased my first one to plant organic heirloom tomatoes.

I consulted with the store that I purchased it from and they steered me away from the lime/fertilizer that came with the EB and sold me organic ones instead...   I have planted everything up and it all looks good to go, except I noticed afterward that the organic fertilizer I have been sold/put in the EB is time release and when I re-read the instructions for the EB it says not to use time release fertilizer.

Does anyone understand the reason for this?  Am I going to have issues with my tomatoes?  I don't really want to dig everything up and start again with new soil unless there's a showstopper here that means I have to!

Many thanks in advance for your experienced views and suggestions...




Just curious, what is the analysis of the organic fert., NPK?
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floridabrits
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« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2012, 01:38:04 PM »

... the back of the packet says the N-P-K is 10-7-7...
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cushman350
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Tomato Hell, Wichita Falls, TX Zone 7b Yeah right


« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2012, 03:16:44 PM »

10-7-7 will work. No numbers over 10 and not overly heavy in any one area. It's most abundant in the nitrogen which is for growth of plant and leaves. I try not to feed tomatoes too much nitrogen early on because I've read that may lead to BER ( by blocking calcium uptake). With a completely balanced fert like 5-5-5, 7-7-7, 10-10-10 you don't have to worry and 1 cup of 10-10-10 = 2 cups of 5-5-5, etc., so you can adjust feeding by using more or less of what you have. You have 10-10-10 but want 5-5-5, use half of the 10-10-10.

Dolomite can take 4-6 months to break down into a form that can be used by the plants you are trying to grow, which is said to contribute to "First Year BER Syndrome". So, I do know if Espoma's Garden lime is the same or not. Would be nice to know if Espoma had any info on the lag time between application and availablilty of minerals to the roots.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2012, 03:23:59 PM by cushman350 » Logged

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floridabrits
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« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2012, 03:24:34 PM »

Per the instructions, I used 3 cups of the organic fertilizer. Hope that wasn't too much...?
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