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Tomato Fertilizer

August 10th, 2012 · No Comments

Emily ran out of fertilizer water this afternoon.    That means we have used about 6000 gallons of water so far.  I have mixed up two batches of fertilizer water — each about 3000 gallons.   Both batches were rain water.  The first batch I only needed about a quart of sulfuric acid to balance the highly alkaline KOH.  The second batch needed no acid.

Tonightm, to a batch of 2600 gallons of well water, I had to add about a gallon of sulfuric acid (all I had) and I only got the pH down to about 6.4.

The tomatoes and cukes seem to be suffering from not enough nutrients  — which makes sense because I was using a formula designed for strawberries which came out to a TDS of about 1200 .

Our well water has a pH of 8 and a TDS of about 200.  I added 13 lb of calcium nitrate, 7 lb of magnesium sulfate, and 6 lb of grow More (10-30-20) and 7 lb of strawberry formula (8-12-32).  TDS  measured about 2100 and pH 8 before I added the acid.  The beauty of a batch tank is that we never have concentrated chemicals, we don’t need an injector, and the fertilizer has a chance to stabilize before it hits the plants.

Hydrobuddy calculates the following

N (NO3-)   94
N (NH4+)   11
P   41
K   71
Mg   36
Ca   101
S   84
Fe 0.6
Zn  0.16
B  0.13
Mn 0.28
Cu  0.18
Mo  0.01

According to Resh I am low on Potassium and Iron.  Adding some chelated Iron or some Ferrous Sulfate may bring the pH down enough that I can add some KOH.   The plants apparently need a lot of potassium to make fruit.  Perhaps if we can get the nutes ballanced, the plants will perk up and give us some good returns this fall — and win the battle with aphids, thrips, and spider mites.

Our strawberries didn’t do well in the greenhouse but they are doing OK outside.  The basket system seems to be much too hot for strawberries but peppers, tomatoes, and cukes do well up there.    We’ve been keeping it cool at night so I’m guessing that the bubbles might make a difference.

And I still need to set up the drains and sumps for the flood and drain benches.  At least the benches are level….

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