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Anyone add lime to their SQFT box for tomatoes?

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Anyone add lime to their SQFT box for tomatoes?

Post  Cincinnati on 6/29/2011, 8:38 am

I am about to build my first raised bed garden. I for the past two years I used Earthboxes. Great concept, but I had poor tomato yields because of blossom end rot. The soil that came with the Earthboxes is "Potting Mix". They also came with one pound of 7-7-7 fertilizer and a pound of dolomitic lime. Per the instructions, the lime was to be evenly spread in a layer about 4: below the surface of the potting mix. The fertilizer to be buried in a trench two inches below the surface. A friend with Earthboxes outgrew me with no blossom end rot. He mixed a shovel of lime (Probably double what I used) and mixed it in rather than a layer of lime.

For my first fall garden, I want to create a SQFT box and plant tomatoes among a few other veggies. I haven't read about anyone adding lime to their MM. I'm in the humid south, although fall is not as humid as late spring/early summer.

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Re: Anyone add lime to their SQFT box for tomatoes?

Post  camprn on 6/29/2011, 12:26 pm

Lime is used to adjust the pH. It takes some months to break down and do it's work. I use a handful of wood ash per square to achieve the same result quickly. I suggest reading up a bit on soil nutrition and pH may answer some more pending questions that you may have.

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blossom end rot

Post  littlejo on 6/30/2011, 11:32 am

Blossom end rot is caused by calcium deficiency. If your dirt has enough calcium, then water the plants more because the calcium is only absorbed with water.
To fix calcium problems quickly, grind up egg shells finely and put around plants, water well. Or mix milk and water and pour under the plants for a quick fix. Or use the wood ash as camprn said.
You probably won't have this problem using MM.
JO

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Re: Anyone add lime to their SQFT box for tomatoes?

Post  camprn on 6/30/2011, 11:54 am

@littlejo wrote:Blossom end rot is caused by calcium deficiency. If your dirt has enough calcium, then water the plants more because the calcium is only absorbed with water. You probably won't have this problem using MM.
JO
I did, in my new boxes last year. We'll see how this year goes with all the new homemade compost.


Last edited by camprn on 6/30/2011, 11:55 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : fixed the usual typos)

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Re: Anyone add lime to their SQFT box for tomatoes?

Post  shannon1 on 7/1/2011, 1:08 am

@Cincinnati wrote:I am about to build my first raised bed garden. I for the past two years I used Earthboxes. Great concept, but I had poor tomato yields because of blossom end rot. The soil that came with the Earthboxes is "Potting Mix". They also came with one pound of 7-7-7 fertilizer and a pound of dolomitic lime. Per the instructions, the lime was to be evenly spread in a layer about 4: below the surface of the potting mix. The fertilizer to be buried in a trench two inches below the surface. A friend with Earthboxes outgrew me with no blossom end rot. He mixed a shovel of lime (Probably double what I used) and mixed it in rather than a layer of lime.

For my first fall garden, I want to create a SQFT box and plant tomatoes among a few other veggies. I haven't read about anyone adding lime to their MM. I'm in the humid south, although fall is not as humid as late spring/early summer.
I just used straight Mel's Mix and I have not had any trouble with BER. I freind of mine was growing in a more traditional potting soil and he did have BER issues. It is hot-t-t-t-t and humid here for sure.

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Re: Anyone add lime to their SQFT box for tomatoes?

Post  Chopper on 7/1/2011, 3:19 am

Lime would definitely be counter productive in MM. And I agree with everyone here. If you want to give yourself peace of mind, then a calcium supplement would make more sense. Good luck.

The thing I got from last year was that it is ok to spray for fungus all season. I have never had a plant that did not succumb to wilt, etc. Apparently there is no getting away from it here. When I saw my son's disease free plants in Sacramento I was stunned. I never knew it was possible.

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3 Questions for Members Growing Tomatoes in MM

Post  Cincinnati on 7/1/2011, 10:41 am

@Chopper wrote:Lime would definitely be counter productive in MM.... If you want to give yourself peace of mind, then a calcium supplement would make more sense. Good luck.

I thought lime was a calcium supplement. 1. Why is lime counter productive?

2. What is a calcium supplement that is useful in MM? I don't use enough eggs to have that many shells. Plus I would think they don't break down fast enough to be effective for Blossom End Rot.

Obviously, compost is the nutrient portion of the soil. Is this forum claiming there are adequate nutrients including calcium in the mix? I know Mel's claim is that he hasn't needed fertilizer in the decade or so he has been using this method. But I've read that peat Moss is acidic; and Tomatoes need a basic soil. 3. Are you successfully growing tomatoes (without Blossom End Rot) in MM without adjusting pH or adding Calcium?


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Re: Anyone add lime to their SQFT box for tomatoes?

Post  camprn on 7/1/2011, 10:45 am

this link from another forum may be helpful.

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Re: Anyone add lime to their SQFT box for tomatoes?

Post  boffer on 7/1/2011, 1:33 pm

@Cincinnati wrote: Is this forum claiming there are adequate nutrients including calcium in the mix?


No, Mel made that assessment. I took him at his word by buying or making good compost from the beginning. I'm into my sixth year and have never used fertilizers or other supplements. I just haven't seen the need to.

Another perspective: some folks think the first set of fruit on a plant are susceptible to BER because cool temps prevent the plant from taking up the calcium. Farther along in the growing season when the soil is warmer, there tends to be a lot less.

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Re: Anyone add lime to their SQFT box for tomatoes?

Post  fiddleman on 7/1/2011, 4:31 pm



I thought lime was a calcium supplement. 1. Why is lime counter productive?
Lime is counterproductive if it isn't needed. Mel's Mix works wonderfully if you follow his instructions accurately. If you really suspect some sort of nutritional deficiency because you didn't follow his advice then get the mix tested, and amend as recommend by the soil test. To just say "I might have soil deficiencies and then adding stuff willy nilly which someone else recommended because of their issues doesn't make sense. Too much of a good thing is just as bad as too little of a good thing. Too much calcium will cause issues and if you don't know how much would be the right amount, your just gonna cause yourself grief. If someone is recommending something based on their experience please remember your soil mix and theirs will be different likely requiring different solutions to any problems. So if you're having problems, get it tested by a testing service and not by a "kit" you buy at the hardware store.

Mel's mix works, give a try in one square exactly as recommended and see how it does against what changes you want to do to the garden.


2. What is a calcium supplement that is useful in MM? I don't use enough eggs to have that many shells. Plus I would think they don't break down fast enough to be effective for Blossom End Rot.

Are you having blossom end rot with your Mel's mix currently? Why upset the mix if not needed?


Obviously, compost is the nutrient portion of the soil. Is this forum claiming there are adequate nutrients including calcium in the mix? I know Mel's claim is that he hasn't needed fertilizer in the decade or so he has been using this method. But I've read that peat Moss is acidic; and Tomatoes need a basic soil. 3. Are you successfully growing tomatoes (without Blossom End Rot) in MM without adjusting pH or adding Calcium?

Yes, I am successfully growing tomatoes without Blossom End Rot in Mel's Mix without adjusting pH or adding calcium. They plants are setting fruit right and left and are growing wonderfully now that some warmer weather has finally arrived in my neck of the woods!

Good compost is powerful in more ways than just providing nutrition, in that it also provides a wealth of good bacteria and trace elements which may not be provided by straight fertilizer. Try one square with Mel's Mix - if done right, it WILL knock your socks off! cheers

Mark

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Re: Anyone add lime to their SQFT box for tomatoes?

Post  Unmutual on 7/1/2011, 10:06 pm

Just to chime in, all 16 of my tomato plants are growing well with straight MM. I have 2 that where mostly destroyed by caterpillars and are making a comeback. I have 2 that I transplanted out of a square that was growing 3(I'm still not sure how that happened..I guess some seeds stuck to my fingers that I didn't see). Initially I was just going to throw them into the compost pile(so I was not gentle with them and shook off all the MM), but decided to stick them in more MM. Then one of those transplants snapped off at the soil level and I just stuck the lower stem back into the MM(those fuzzy bits on the stem can produce roots). Both of those transplants are doing fine, which surprised me. I even planted a lot of the tomato seeds outside of the planting dates.

For the record: Evil or Very Mad I hate caterpillars Evil or Very Mad

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Re: Anyone add lime to their SQFT box for tomatoes?

Post  Chopper on 7/2/2011, 3:37 pm

Lime is big ph adjuster and as planned, the MM should not need ph adjustment.

I do concur that if you took care with the original gathering of a variety of compost sources then nutrient deficiency should not be a problem. It is definitely a case of doing things right at the foundation end and saving yourself time later on. If you are not seeing any BER I would hold out and watch. You can always add a calcium supplement later at the first sign should that be the case.

And as far as which, I am no expert. I just see what is available at the local stores and read the labels.

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