EarthBox Fertilizer Comparisons 2020

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Re: EarthBox Fertilizer Comparisons 2020

#81

Post: # 9777Unread post MsCowpea
Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:23 pm

Today’s Update:
One thing I have learned from all this is the progression of disease. These are from 3 rows of Earthboxes that look mostly great. They were planted a week or two later (not sure of the exact date.) The heirlooms are faring worse than the hybrids.


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Then I turn my head and see the earlier ones. A few are really gone. Great looking to pathetic in 2 weeks. This is Polish. The box had BioActive which did very well until disease struck.
I had already got 3 or 4 big tomatoes off this box but now it is shot. Just a little bit watery I think but the taste was still good to very good. Made super salsa that actually tasted a bit sweet.

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Then organic Juliet. Even Juliet eventually succumbs. Many tomatoes. Note: I cut back the plastic to supplement the plant with organic inputs rather than put down the tube.
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Re: EarthBox Fertilizer Comparisons 2020

#82

Post: # 9778Unread post MsCowpea
Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:34 pm

This is another box with the triple fertilizer from different companies to use up the bag.

I don’t know what it is. The shape is unusual. I have a list of the tomatoes I started but the transplants didn’t thrive so many were not planted. I think this is one of those, I will try and figure it out from the list
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Re: EarthBox Fertilizer Comparisons 2020

#83

Post: # 9788Unread post Ginger2778
Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:30 am

MsCowpea wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:23 pm
Today’s Update:
One thing I have learned from all this is the progression of disease. These are from 3 rows of Earthboxes that look mostly great. They were planted a week or two later (not sure of the exact date.) The heirlooms are faring worse than the hybrids.



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Then I turn my head and see the earlier ones. A few are really gone. Great looking to pathetic in 2 weeks. This is Polish. The box had BioActive which did very well until disease struck.
I had already got 3 or 4 big tomatoes off this box but now it is shot. Just a little bit watery I think but the taste was still good to very good. Made super salsa that actually tasted a bit sweet.


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Then organic Juliet. Even Juliet eventually succumbs. Many tomatoes. Note: I cut back the plastic to supplement the plant with organic inputs rather than put down the tube.

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Mine were looking badly diseased too, but now they are putting out new clean growth. I dosed them with a shot of a high nitrogen liquid non organic, (mostly just urea, but has others and micros)because I wanted new growth, and I got it. Dont write them off yet, just trim back the bad leaves.
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Re: EarthBox Fertilizer Comparisons 2020

#84

Post: # 9805Unread post Barb_FL
Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:30 am

Your stems look really green and healthy - your plants would definitely come back. I pour a mix of Fumic/Humic/Amino/Kelp on from the top and get a lot of low new growth fairly fast. I've even down this when I had bad russet mites. - Kelp4less sells this combo as Extreme Blend - I usually just do my own and go really weak.

I would pick those Polish before the birds got them.

From the bad weather 3 weeks ago, I pretty much left the bad stuff on waiting for the fruit to ripen. I'm just so surprised how long it is taking even for the cherries that got pushed over to one side. I'm pulling off the crunchy areas as I pass by.

But from the really bad wind last week, I'm now seeing much more of the yellowing of leaves. Their growth was out of control and they got all twisted, etc.

I pulled a few dwarfs - just looking that it will take 30 days to get a tomato full size, then 30 days to ripen (which is the case now, but probably not starting this week).
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Re: EarthBox Fertilizer Comparisons 2020

#85

Post: # 9806Unread post MsCowpea
Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:32 am

Thanks for letting me know that your plants are looking better with the nitrogen. I did add a 12-6-6 to some of my container plants (not EArthBoxes) few days ago hoping to at least give some nutrients to the tomatoes hanging on them. (Didn’t hold out much hope for a ‘comeback’. ) It is one of these products that really is mainly organic but they put in chelated minors so can’t be classified as such.

I had to add a bit of potassium liquid as well to get the K up. Didn’t know how much to add (Guessed). So much easier if the formula does it for you.

Since the high N helped your EB I will go ahead and add the same thing to some of the dying organic earthboxes as there is no need to keep them strictly organic at this point. I have other boxes that will remain all organic anyway. One combo box that I am particularly watching has been getting TTF but I could denude it of leaves 😟 and do the higher N as well.
Who knows I may like the product I already had better than the TTF.

In my raised beds which is strictly organic (99%) , I made a concoction of Organic products and dumped it in a hose end sprayer and sprayed the ground around the plants. The plants look beautiful but my soil tests in my beds always come back as deficient in potassium which I address in the beginning but now they need more goodies to keep going.
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Re: EarthBox Fertilizer Comparisons 2020

#86

Post: # 9808Unread post MsCowpea
Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:44 am

Barb, I didn’t see your post before I posted mine so give me a minute.

My DH is itching to pick all those tomatoes and many more but I have a few friends coming over and you know how you like to let
them see the tomatoes on the plants. More fun then handing them a tomato in the kitchen. But you are not kidding about the birds, on some plants I clipped brown paper over the tomatoes. They did get a KBX which shows they like a little variety over the boring reds and pinks.

re Fumic/Humic/Amino/Kelp - I actually have all that stuff. I could mix up another concoction and hose end spray the plants.

I do admit that when I have many plants that look great I tend to rip out ugly diseased ones without a thought to ‘saving’ them. There is no time to mess with them, you all know the tremendous amount of time to take off dead leaves.

If I have to concentrate on picking all those diseased leaves off the really bad off plants I neglect the good plants , plus not to mention I have a big garden of other stuff. Yesterday I made myself leave the tomatoes and I refreshed my round raised beds and planted more zinnias,
lettuce, kale, and arugula . Today I am seeding the big bed with a cover crop. No wonder we call the garden the salt mines. :)
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Re: EarthBox Fertilizer Comparisons 2020

#87

Post: # 9813Unread post MsCowpea
Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:32 am

Barb, (Just looked at the pictures - didn’t realize you were talking about the EB Polish. I did pick some of those tomatoes already but that plant is an embarrassment :lol: i would probably prefer my friends not even see that diseased mess but you know you can’t hide them. Maybe I could drape sheets over them. 😂. Just need a plausible explanation as to why I would do such a thing. 🤔).
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Re: EarthBox Fertilizer Comparisons 2020

#88

Post: # 9817Unread post Barb_FL
Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:25 am

For your friends, the plant is 'experimental'. I have some determinate plants that I started on Sept 1; lots of tomatoes and now are in the experimental category.

We are lucky that our season is so long that we can experiment and now getting into the peak weather with longer days - it's not even dark at 6 anymore.

I was thinking maybe we should have a Long season Hit or Misses thread. I've tried A LOT of products including the real expensive stuff.

----
BTW - my next door neighbor's EB (I set it up; made her buy decent potting mix - Fertilome; I added a bunch of rice hulls b/c it doesn't have enough perlite for my taste. All organic and the plants look like crap. I also set up 2 large root pouches for her and provided everything; She isn't great on watering - let's it get really dry but so far no BER - Besides the organic everything to start, I dumped a good amount of Osmocote for vegetables to those RP and those plants look pretty good.
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Re: EarthBox Fertilizer Comparisons 2020

#89

Post: # 9840Unread post MsCowpea
Tue Feb 11, 2020 4:16 pm

I would be interested in such a thread and all the things you have tried.
Re:neighbor—I wonder what happened to the earthbox? New soil and organic fertilizer. I don’t know much about Fertilome or using rice hulls.
I can understand why the osmocote stuff did well . That stuff works for growth and yield and it is easy to use. And for people who don’t watch their plants too much they can’t mess it up.
I have done just a very few experiments with it. But it is not my cup of tea. But you started with a bunch of organic inputs and then osmocote so hopefully that should give you the best of everything. 😀

I have several products lined up for next season . I will have to take a photo of all the stuff. I have a lot because Orchard Hardware store (which I loved in California) opened here and then closed. :( So I bought stuff when it was a close out. I will buy locally when I can but I have to say that Amazon is so great for getting things we would never be able to try otherwise.

“Experimental” designation for diseased plants — that’s a good one. Though they will be thinking ‘well whatever you did , don’t do it again’.
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Re: EarthBox Fertilizer Comparisons 2020

#90

Post: # 9909Unread post MsCowpea
Wed Feb 12, 2020 3:20 pm

This is MicroLife fertilizer. all organic box, no supplements. Grew very well, slightly sweeter, but noticeable so, than strictly synthetic box. I preferred this one.
On Jan 31 thought it would benefit from additional nutrients. (Would have been close to 2 months since planted)
I cut a flap in the EarthBox cover, I was not worried about any water getting on the top. Fertilizer must have been pretty well spent by then. Very little rain would get in as the plant was so big. I just flip it back when done.
I thought perhaps applying supplement to mix would work better than down the tube. Particularly with org fertilizer. I ended up putting more org. dry fertilizer and org. liquid on top. I have a very long spouted watering can which made it easy. I have done it several times. Of course, even easier would just be add more organic dry fertilizer and flip the flap over and secure with a bit of tape. This may be a better idea than the constant chore of adding something weekly. EB appeal is its simplicity, set it up and then all you have to do is water.

I continue to get new growth and green tomatoes. (See upper left) But I don’t know if that is because of the supplementation or because it is a Juliet. Those who grow Juliet know what I mean. It now has what looks to be Early Blight but as it is a strong hybrid it was more resistant than the diseased heirlooms that surround it.


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Check out those roots on top!
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Just picked 3 pounds 11.4 oz Juliets from that box.
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Re: EarthBox Fertilizer Comparisons 2020

#91

Post: # 9919Unread post Ginger2778
Wed Feb 12, 2020 4:49 pm

Hybrid vigor, it's true what they say.
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Re: EarthBox Fertilizer Comparisons 2020

#92

Post: # 9920Unread post pepperhead212
Wed Feb 12, 2020 4:50 pm

I got some Juliet seeds this season, on some recommendations, and now I see another! This might be one I'll try 2 of, instead of just one, like I'm doing with most of the new ones. Maybe I'll do an experiment with a Juliet and another of my favorites, like bib beef, in a new organic setup, and a new, but regular setup, and make sure all of the additions I make are the same.
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Re: EarthBox Fertilizer Comparisons 2020

#93

Post: # 9926Unread post MsCowpea
Wed Feb 12, 2020 5:52 pm

Pepperhead, that sound like a very good plan. Always good to compare against your tried and true methods as results would be different for everybody, You may find for you there is no notable advantage or you might like something better. As long as you keep the potting mix the same you can pretty much control your other inputs and see if anything stands out.
Also comparing the same variety in 2 different setups makes it easier. That also eliminates any advantages that one variety may have over the other. And blind taste testing with others is fun too. I look forward to seeing how it all goes for you.

I see you are from New Jersey. I never knew New Jersey was a famous ‘tomato state’ known for its tomato growing and varieties until I went to my first tomato tasting event years ago at Rutgers University’s Snyder Research Farm. How far away are you from Pittstown? They have it every year around the end of August. Here is last years info. Check out all the classic varieties they have trialed over the years. I see recipes too in that link:
Mascarpone Ice Cream with Tomato Jam and Basil Sea Salt.:shock:
It not huge , 80 tomatoes (I have been to one with 350)
but it was a lot of fun. They had tractor hay rides into the fields as well. (I also discovered the delicious Carbon at that event.)

I did grow the famous Ramapo after that visit but that tomato is sometimes described as zesty, which means in code not sweet enough for me. But people have very fond memories of that tomato. That and the Rutgers tomato.
Rutgers Snyder Farm
https://snyderfarm.rutgers.edu/tomato-tasting/

RUTGERS TOMATO
https://news.rutgers.edu/feature/rutger ... kSH6C9Onmq

LOST NEW JERSEY TOMATO. (Linked fixed)
https://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/23/dining/23toma.html
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Re: EarthBox Fertilizer Comparisons 2020

#94

Post: # 9952Unread post pepperhead212
Thu Feb 13, 2020 1:18 am

@MsCowpea, NJ used to be the #1 state for tomatoes - that's why Campbell Soup set up in Camden originally! Unfortunately, it's much hotter than it used to be in the summer, and some of the big producers of canned tomatoes, like Redpac, have moved up to NY state. And much of the farmland has turned into housing - the reason NJ is the most densely populated state now (RI had that record when I was growing up). Still a lot of farmland, just not a lot of what I remember. Pittstown is quite a bit north of me, so maybe they haven't changed so much up there - it's more the suburb area of NYC (and northern NJ cities), and Philadelphia (where I am) that have swallowed up the farmland.

The logo on the NJ license plates is "GARDEN STATE", but I don't think that a lot of the people here know what a garden is any more!

I have tried those tomatoes supposedly bred for the area, but they didn't do well for me. All it takes is a couple days of the high 90s temps, and most tomatoes drop their blossoms. That's why I grow a lot of smaller varieties - the tomatoes come back, and ripen faster, once the blossoms start up again!
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Re: EarthBox Fertilizer Comparisons 2020

#95

Post: # 10107Unread post MsCowpea
Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:40 pm

I just don’t know anything about hybrid vigor. (Or it’s connection to breeding.) My eyes glaze over when people talk about the subject.

Always told it exists but don’t worry about it- grow for flavor and production (if it matters to you). We know an heirloom’s taste offsets any possible disadvantages. (Though I am going to mercilessly kick off any heirlooms or open pollinated or hybrid that are disease prone henceforth.)

As far as hybrid disease resistance, my 2 diseases of note are Bacterial Spot and Early Blight. No hybrid are resistant to bacterial spot (they are working on it). But it seems like Juliets vigorous and healthy growth may keep bacterial spot at bay as well. Don’t know for sure. Juliet has intermediate resistance to Early Blight (and Late Blight) so this is important to me. But even Juliet has a limited window before it will go down as well. When you eat them I find they are better blood red -otherwise they taste sour., not sweet. When you pick them they are all levels of ripeness but you can keep the ripe Juliets hanging around until the others catch up. They never rot.

I have grown the usual classic hybrids- most are not that good to me. I like Momotaro (HR: F 1–2, L, N, ToMV, V. IR: B) and Mountain Magic (High resistance to Fusarium wilt races 1, 2, and 3, late blight, and Verticillium wilt; and intermediate resistance to early blight-Johnnys) and Juliet.
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Re: EarthBox Fertilizer Comparisons 2020

#96

Post: # 10109Unread post MsCowpea
Thu Feb 13, 2020 10:00 pm

I did take one EB (the best one of the earlier planted group) just to show what it looked like with all its diseased leaves picked off . This box has been supplemented mainly with TTF. The strip was 2 cups organic NS 8-5-5 and 1 cup of Urban Farm BioActive. I have already picked maybe 5 ripe good-size tomatoes. It looks better in a way but all those tomatoes will now get the brunt of the sun. The new growth is coming out spotted. Looks better in the pic than it is. The leaves at the top all have small spots- they will enlarge and coalesce given time. I even removed a few more leaves. Those tomatoes would have started to ripe in the next few days anyway. I will continue with the supplement- Maybe increase it. I know leaves are important for sugar production so this plant is out of a horror movie to me. I know greenhouses heavily prune but they are undercover. They also test leaves for accurate nutrient requirements. I am not pulling it out since I went to the trouble of removing the leaves. Will see how it goes as far as new leaves and more
production with continued fertilization. Normally I would just take my tomatoes as they ripen and call it a day for the severely diseased plants as I have many others in better shape.

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Re: EarthBox Fertilizer Comparisons 2020

#97

Post: # 10412Unread post Bronx
Sat Feb 15, 2020 8:42 am

MsCowpea,

How do you attach your covers to the Earthboxes? I can't quite make out your method. I've been using plastic garbage bags as covers and duct tape them to the sides of my Earthboxes. It works but is kind of messy and diffecult to get all the tape off the next Spring. Looking for another way to secure them without having to buy official Earthbox covers.

Thanks
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Re: EarthBox Fertilizer Comparisons 2020

#98

Post: # 10497Unread post pepperhead212
Sat Feb 15, 2020 1:47 pm

Bronx,

For the covers on most of my SIPs I tuck the covers into the sides of the tubs, and put a staple in the 4 sides, and it stays the whole season. This funnels the water in when it rains, and the strip of fertilizer is above where the water is going into the soil mix, so it's not dissolving it quickly. When it does rain a generous amount, I pause the timer for as long as necessary.
ImageDSCF0728 by pepperhead212, on Flickr

Before I started that, I used bungee cords. However, some of the cords only lasted one season, some two seasons, but that's it.
ImageCovered SIP. by pepperhead212, on Flickr

However, I found some cord I could make my own bungee cords with, to the size I needed, instead of connecting 2 or 3 together. I think I got the 3/16", even cheaper, in a kit, but this is what it is.


The stuff lasts well. I have some I have used for two years, and they are still good:
ImageHomemade bungee cords. by pepperhead212, on Flickr

Here's the rest of the cord, plus some of the hooks:
ImageUncut cord for making bungee cords, with the hooks to put on them. by pepperhead212, on Flickr

I don't use that for most of the plastic covers, but I use it for covering my pepper maggot prone peppers, to keep the agribon on. Only problem with the bungee cord is that the corners are really the only part where the pressure is on the covers - the middle of the sides, especially, are sort of indented. So I take these cheap clips, I get at Harbor Freight, and tuck the cover around the cord, then clip them. You can sort of see that here. This would probably work well with a plastic cover, too.
ImageDSCF0734 by pepperhead212, on Flickr
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Re: EarthBox Fertilizer Comparisons 2020

#99

Post: # 10578Unread post MsCowpea
Sat Feb 15, 2020 8:17 pm

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Bronx, I don’t really have a great way to attach the cover. We use string ( though don’t use jute). Takes 2 people -one to position the string while the other person makes sure the cover is tucked everywhere under string, then pull tight with one person using their finger over string intersection while the other makes a knot. It takes just a few minutes but it is a pain in the neck. If the cover gets cut too short I have to put a little piece of duct tape to hold it down until we get the string around the box. ( I have also tried garbage can rubber bands, office clips (they rust) , and these new stainless steel clothes pins I just got but I am not sure they will even work.)

(This idea looks pretty good.)
I saw a video where they tied off the corners— I am going to try that for sure. I think someone found the link when I mentioned it before
but I can’t find one that shows it being tied.

All I found was this video where you can see the corners are tied. You cut the plastic, I believe, 2 feet by 3 feet.



Here here is the video showing the tucked in edges that pepperhead mentioned. Garden doc did mention he got weeds around the edges but the water draining into the box is an interesting benefit.






Pepperhead, that do-it-yourself bungee cord looks interesting. How long do you think it will last? Oh I see the answer—you said 2 years maybe longer.
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Re: EarthBox Fertilizer Comparisons 2020

#100

Post: # 10580Unread post MsCowpea
Sat Feb 15, 2020 8:26 pm

589DDBED-C6AC-4ACD-8AEE-435E75D8F1D3.jpeg
589DDBED-C6AC-4ACD-8AEE-435E75D8F1D3.jpeg (5.93 MiB) Viewed 282 times
Protecting tomatoes from birds and sun on denuded (leaves) plant.
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"When we kill off the natural enemies of a pest we inherit their work."
Carl Huffaker

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