Saturday, 20 June 2009

Watering & Containers

I really enjoy growing bush (and tall) varieties in large pots and containers, although bush varieties are the most suitable.

However, one of the biggest drawbacks is that pots and containers dry-out quickly leaving roots in dry soil which may cause other complications.

Dry roots are unable to absorb nutrients, the most obvious being calcium resulting in blossom end rot - BER.

This pic shows the bottom of a tomato affected with blossom end rot - the wall of the tomato was unable to develop fully owing to a lack of calcium because of dry roots.

The problem with dry roots is that you can water your containers and even though the surface looks as if the plant has been watered, beneath, there may be pockets of soil that remains bone dry.

The reason is that water always finds the easiest root out, and that could mean that half of your plants roots could be dry after watering and unable to absorb nutrients - in this case calcium.

A good way to water plants in containers:
Give them a good soaking every other day rather than a little each day - but don't keep the soil continually wet as roots also need air.

Of course if the weather is very warm and the plants are fruiting, you may need to water every day anyway!

However, the idea is that all of the root area should be in moist soil - for most of the time - which enables the roots to absorb the food they need.

One point to make is that I've never had a cherry tomato with blossom end rot - it is the medium and large varieties that are prone to calcium deficiency.

I took this photo of Tumbler about eight years ago and it shows the toms trailing over the side of the large pot. These days I grow Red Alert instead of Tumbler F1 because it is difficult to get the seeds and they were expensive!

The taste is also very similar .... more about taste in the next post.

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