Friday, 15 August 2014

Bitter pit, blossom end rot and the ideal size for your pot

This year for the first time I am growing tomatoes without grow-bags. Instead, I have used pots, in a variety of sizes (in addition to an experimental rig which involved burying potting-on pots in old recycling boxes full of spent compost). That one I'll come to in good time. But on the pots; how small can you go?

Well, go too small and you get Blossom End Rot - a mushy brown bottom on an unripened tomato. This is because the plant runs out of everything it needs too fast (especially water) and the fruit suffers. I've also got low fruit, though that might also be down to my greenhouse spider collection (I actually caught one wrapping up a honey bee last week - the little beast). 25cm seems to be the cut off point - my 30cm pots are OK.

The apple tree was also looking dicey during the dry spell - it does not have enough leaves, and the apples were starting to get that slightly pitted look that says not enough!!! of anything!!!! and precurses the dreaded bitter pit. But it also got some pests at the same time, which lead to some fairly radical thinning of fruit, and I gave it extra water, and some fertiliser, and I think it's going to be OK. But in the long term I would like a larger pot. For reference, the pot it's in is about a metre high and 60cm across. It was definitely the biggest pot in the garden centre. It's not enough. For if there is ever a truth for plants in pots it is this; the pot should be bigger.

I brought home a book from the library called "Success in Container Gardening" or somesuch. Some of the pictures (posed shots of mature plants moved into pots) actually had the plants already wilting. Yeahno, those plants were not grown in those bags.


 But it explained the mechanism of Blossom End Rot to me in brief and comprehensible terms and alerted me to the existence of a seriously weird-looking radish, so I'm happy.

I wonder if I can grow it in a container?

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