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Using lime in growing tomatoes - yay or nay?

celcius_kkwcelcius_kkw Posts: 716
edited May 2020 in Fruit & veg
Hi all 

I will be potting up my tomatoes in containers in a few weeks and was doing some research online. I learned that calcium is important in preventing blossom end rot.. and given I’m growing mine in pots that has no access to ground nutrients and most tomato feed doesn’t contain it I felt I should be adding some manually to plant. 

The main way of doing this seems to be using egg shells.. but I’m not really an egg eater and each plants seems to require a few eggs worth of shells.. it feels rather wasteful to me to buy eggs just for the shells. I then read one article talking about using horticultural lime.. which to me is a more cost effective way to add calcium to the mix. 

My question is: do you tomato growers use lime to add calcium to your plants and if so how much? I read that tomatoes need a slightly acidic soil to grow well.. won’t adding lime affect it as it’s alkaline? 

Thanks in advance 😊

Posts

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,064
    I've never used anything. Inconsistent watering is often part of the problems with calcium uptake.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 8,496
    I agree with Fg that adding more stuff to correct perceived deficiencies is not the way to go. If you add bit too much calcium you may well lock out other essential nutrients and cause other problems.
    Watering is key as Fg says.

    The best way to ensure your plants have all that they need is to use a tomato fertilizer and give them some diluted seaweed extract every couple of weeks - but not at the same time as the tomato feed.
    Seaweed extract contains calcium and other trace nutrients that will be good for all of your plants.
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 19,863
    Pete.8 said:

    The best way to ensure your plants have all that they need is to use a tomato fertilizer and give them some diluted seaweed extract every couple of weeks - but not at the same time as the tomato feed.
    Seaweed extract contains calcium and other trace nutrients that will be good for all of your plants.
    My tomato food has built in seaweed so watered in at the same time. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • celcius_kkwcelcius_kkw Posts: 716

    Thank you all for the replies.. I didn’t know that seaweed extract has calcium in it (I use Tomorite which does have some seaweed extract incorporated).. my main worry was that because I grow all of my tomatoes in pots they rely entirely on me to provide all the essential nutrients unlike if they were grown in the ground. 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,064
    I only grow in pots as we can't grow outside here.
    They get enough nutrients each time they're potted on. By the time they're in their final pots, they're almost at flowering/fruiting stage anyway, and they get their first feed. 

    Tomatoes seem to  get a lot of over cossetting, in my opinion, and they rarely need it  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • celcius_kkwcelcius_kkw Posts: 716
    edited May 2020
    @Fairygirl

    I see. As you may know I’m a bit late to the game this year having only sown my seeds a week ago - they’ve all germinated - but I’m still trying to be positive about getting ‘some’ ripe tomatoes at least before frost returns. I read that one can start feeding half diluted tomato feed once they have developed two sets of true leaves.. would it help in boosting their growth? (To make up for my tardiness this season) 
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 8,496
    Tomorite does have seaweed extract so you shouldn't need anything more for your potted tomatoes.
    I also use Tomorite but I do give extra seaweed extract to most of my plants as it's a really good overall tonic.
    Years ago I only grew toms. in pots outside and didn't have any problems using only Tomorite, a good compost and rainwater whenever possible.
    As Fg says, a lot of problems are caused by over cossetting these plants.
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 5,574
    I agree with all of the above, if the compost dries out, easily done in pot-grown toms, especially with a sudden spike in temperature, the plant can't take up the calcium it needs from the dry compost, which should have enough without adding more, so back to consistent watering. Try and keep the pots themselves shaded to preserve moisture and water regularly in the mornings, not the evenings - that helps them cope with the reverse, if the temperatures drop they don’t like sitting in cold, soggy compost overnight. Only feed tomorite when the first trusses have set fruit and don’t be tempted to overdo it, thinking you are being kind to them. If anything, use less than recommended.
  • tui34tui34 Béziers, Herault, FrancePosts: 1,960
    Hi Celcius.  Tomatoes like their feet wet and their heads dry.   Regular watering is the key otherwise they can split.  Good luck with your crop.  A ripe sliced tomato, a drizzle of olive oil, s & p and some crusty bread make a nice lunch!!
    A good hoeing is worth two waterings.

  • celcius_kkwcelcius_kkw Posts: 716
    edited May 2020
    Thanks guys. Like most novices I tend to worry too much and read too much (and not all information online are accurate).. I do understand sometimes less is more.. I think overall everyone here advocates use of seaweed extract rather than lime with consistent watering.. and that’s my problem solved :) big thanks! 

    @tuikowhai34 I love eating tomatoes raw.. there’s never enough to go into lunch because I just snack on them all the time ha! That’s why I want to grow my own so I could have some surplus.  Supermarket (cherry) tomatoes are mighty expensive these days and they don’t always taste that good. 
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