I am worried about my tomato plant. I decided to invert it upside down in the lower half of a milk jug. I put a hole in the middle to be able to place my tomato plant to be growing down. I have fertilized with miracle grow and watered everyday with water. My tomato plant is not doing well. What did I do wrong? What should I do to fix it and make it grow? Help! Thank you.
Hardiness Zone: 6b
Jamish from Leoti, Kansas
By Pati Mishler
Ideally, tomato plants like more soil than that--depending on the kind. (The ones that are specially developed for patios can tolerate less.) Usually several gallons of soil are needed for a tomato to thrive. If your jug is cut off, you have limited it to a couple of quarts of soil.
It is not to late to plant it upright in more soil! I think I would try this first. Just carefully cut off the jug and replant it. You may need to stake it.
Also, your weather may have slowed its growth. In cooler, wetter summers, they grow less explosively. Give it some more room to spread its roots, and stand back!
By (Guest Post) 07/16/2008
Thank you Jilson, I will gratefully take your advise.
It is also possible that you are overwatering it.
Have you fertilized it regularly? Potted plants need to be fertilized more often since they must be watered daily and the water runs out (along with nutrients). How hot is it there? Where I live, the summers get hot and even tomatoes in the ground die off, no matter how carefully you take care of them. Some varieties are worse than others. I do agree that a milk jug probably doesn't provide enough room for the roots. Also, most milk jugs are opaque and will act as a mini-greenhouse, heating up the roots too much. Don't be too hard on yourself, gardening is a learning experience that is ongoing. Keep what works, ditch what doesn't, and keep trying new things. And just because it worked for someone else doesn't mean that it'll work for you--there are too many variables.
By Mike (Guest Post) 08/20/2008
Next time you attempt to grow a tomato upside-down, you should use a larger container then a milk jug. Usually a 2-gallon container works.
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