Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Tomato Steroids

On Sunday while out doing some shopping I stopped by Capital Nursery to pick up some fish emulsion for the garden. In the past I have used this type of fertilizer exclusively with the exception of compost at planting time. But this year I spotted this adorable little bottle.

Earlier in the weekend I had asked a grower at the farmer's market what the secret is to growing Brandywines. He mentioned that often they grow lush foliage but few flowers. The secret he said, is calcium. While compost is excellent fertilizer he continued, it is very high in nitrogen which encourages foliage growth. Calcium is what helps tomatoes flower and therefore fruit, he said. I've also read that lack of calcium contributes to blossom-end rot, a problem I have confronted many times.

With this advice in mind I scoured the nursery shelves for a fertilizer that is easy to apply and was high in calcium. Most did not even list calcium as an ingredient. Dynamite Mater Magic was therefore my pick as it contains 4.5 percent calcium according to the product label. In a few days when the garden dries out from its last watering, I will apply the granular mix and top dress the garden with some fresh potting soil and water it in.

In the meantime, the cute bottle sits on the kitchen counter and my youngest son expounded incredulously the other day, "You bought tomato steroids, Mom?"

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