The next chapter in The Pet Tomato Chronicles finds the plant producing vegetation like crazy in it’s Smart Pot filled with heavy composted manure and clay-sand topsoil medium. And while it wouldn’t be normal for an indeterminate tomato to be laden with blossoms, this one only had about 8 flowers. The soil was definitely providing excellent nitrogen, but this is a sure sign the plant is in need of some bloom booster. I had several kinds of organic fertilizer on hand, Happy Frog and some special blend for tomatoes, but these are all slow release, the season is already half over, and this is a slow to mature tomato variety.
What to do?
First I inquired at the local progressive gardening shop. Seemed like they should have something better for my plant than MiracleGro or Peter’s products. So, Jimmy hooked me up with some GroTek Bloom 3-8-8 which is a hydroponic nute formula. So, I mixed up a pint of the lighter recommended dilution and watered it in. Then I got a bit concerned about salts building up in the soil and it not being enough bloom power at only 8%. Without any directions for soil growing on the label, I was wondering how often I could apply the bloom nutes without harming the plant. And surprisingly, I suddenly found some leaves at the bottom of the plant that had that telltale yellowing that signal nitrogen deficiency.
Puzzling – so, I asked Eric what he thought would be best. And he said… “Let’s try some pee fertilizer!”
See that calendar above? This segment starts on July 21 and runs just 17 days through August 6th.
Perfect timing. The only bathroom in the house was bare to the studs thanks to a poorly installed toilet rotting the floor. Collection wasn’t necessary, a good supply was already on hand. So, we reduced the strength with water. I’m not sure of the original dilution though… that was weeks ago. However, 50/50 seems a bit strong, especially since this isn’t aged material. I think it was more like 1 part to 2 parts water. <Apologies! I didn’t realize I wouldn’t remember, or I would have made a note.) But, if 33/66 sounds too strong to you, you can always do 25/75. It will just weaken the instant availability.
Once I had the water added, I stirred the bucket contents well with a fallen branch. Since the pet tomato is planted in a 45-gallon Smart Pot, so I poured in about a gallon and let is soak in. The rest of it I poured down the hill in the grass.
I have to tell you that urine is awesome landscaping fertilizer. The pitiful maple tree has developed tons of new growth in the few weeks that have passed since it was a dumping spot for the bucket toilet – mixed with a good portion of water, of course. That hill has streaks of rich, green grass, where the grass grows with wild abandon even in the sandiest topsoil. It’s much taller than the surrounding spaces, and looks like stripes from out on the road. The new variegated dogwood the rabbits reduced to stubs over the winter is pumping out new leaves and gaining height at a delightful rate. The stand of young birches are all looking fantastic too. And the Pet Tomato?
This is one of those times when hindsight is 20/20. I didn’t plant 2 Smart Pot tomatoes, so I have nothing to compare the growth to, but even so, this seems on the extreme side to me, the long-term tomato gardener. Maybe I’m biased, but how does about 12″ of top growth in 4 days flat sound to you?
Check out what’s happened on the experiment scene in the 12 days that have passed since the single instant natural fertilizer application. I’m definitely sold on the merits of N-pee-K for bloom booster and everything else that makes a plant happy. (There’s a succession of earlier growth images on that original Pet Tomato post.)
I’m pretty happy with the results from this free natural fertilizer. This started out as an undersized seedling that wasn’t planted out until the end of June. It’s loaded with new little tomatoes and blooms.
To everyone reading and thinking that there should be a second plant to compare this growth too – I agree. But it started out as a trial for growing in straight, heavy ground soil in a container. I had no idea that I was going to need two pots and plants! Besides, this was the only seed in the cell-pack of Marianna’s Peace that sprouted. Either it was a bad pinch of seed, or the Ocean Forest might have had a spot in the bag that wasn’t blended well. I had a heck of a time keeping that set of germinating seeds moist. The wicking tray didn’t do much for the surface of the medium where the seeds were sitting.
Check out this almost 5-inch wide tomato nestled in the middle. Can’t wait to see how big it gets.