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2015 Tomato Trial Results

I seem to always plant too many varieties of tomatoes, if that’s even possible.  This year at the first tomato planting day I started off with that story, we’ll see how it works out. I decided to do an unofficial fertilizer trial on the row of ‘Jet Star’ tomatoes planted.  ‘Jet Star’ is my go to variety as it always out-produces everything else – hands down!  Planted 4’ apart, (it’s been 3’ in past years) the 24 plants were planted with 3 different unique fertilizers, or soil amendments.  Planting was done on Thursday, April 9, just before a forecasted thunderstorm was in the works, and it came.  All plants have been watered using Champion Drip Tape which we have at the stores.

Plants 1-8 had Lady Bug Pachamama Earthworm Castings incorporated into the soil.  They are beneficial for vegetables, herbs, flowers, shrubs, and trees. If you need to rejuvenate potted plants or houseplants, simply side-dress them with the Pachamama Earthworm Castings™. With only a small amount of fertilizer and adding mostly beneficials, it tends to be slower release.  These plants look good, but because of the low nitrogen they are the smallest of the group.

Plants 9-16 also ‘Jet Star’ were planted with Fox Farm Happy Frog Tomato and Vegetable.  Loaded with 20 strains of beneficials – Mycorrhizae to name a few, and a 7-4-5 fertilizer blend derived from feather, bone,fish, blood, alfalfa, kelp meal as well as bat guano and gypsum, it not only  builds the soil but give the new transplants a boost with it’s N-P-K.  These were the 2nd largest plants.

Plants 17-24 were fertilized with ferti-lome Gardener’s Special which we have carried at the garden center for decades. No really, decades.  With it’s 11-15-11 fertilizer it tends to be faster acting, as you can tell in the photo, they are the largest group in the trials.
 
Two rows of pepper plants also received the same treatment, but because of the cooler temperatures in April, they have not really grown much. The plants will be side dressed once with the same fertilizers. At that point, the plan is to fertilize with Fox Farm Grow Big using an infector to apply the food through the drip tape.

There is obvious nutsedge growing in the rows.  I’ve been able to cultivate between the rows to keep weeds at bay, but between the plants it’s a different story.  Hi-Yield Treflan has done a great job preventing annual weeds, but unfortunately there is no preventer for the nutsedge.

Don’t forget Drinks on the Acre (DOTA) next Monday evening, May 11th at the Acre – weather permitting.  If I can find some, I’m going to bring some Dirty Kanza Kolsch which is brewed in Lawrence, KS by Free State Brewery just in time for the DK200. One of DOTA’s regulars and good friend, Charlie, has promised some wings cooked on the grill.

Happy Gardening,
Marty