Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Potting Mix Drama Fix

I have two of my very favourite varieties of tomatoes in my vegetable garden at the moment. One is a standard Burnely Bounty and the other is my absolutely top ranking cherry tomato, Pink Pearl. I can't tell you how keen I was to grow Pink Pearl again. Awesome flavour.


However, something occurred a week or two ago that sent my heart into full panic.


My Pink Pearl cherry tomato bush was completely limp!

And it happened just when my internet was down, my usual flurry of information hunting could not be carried out. So in desperation I rang Mum.

We hypothesized all the possible causes:
  • a worm/bug
  • an infection,
  • a twisty tie having been tied too tightly, etc.

So I ventured out into the garden to fully investigate the problem with trowel in hand.

But here is the curious part...

As I begun to dig down into the pot around the roots of my tomato plant, it found it incredibly hard and dry.

Now WHY should that be so unusual?

Because of the amount of water I was pouring onto it daily. I believe in a really good saturating drink of water for every plant. The water catchment pool underneath was even dry. So what happened to all of that water???

The problem was staring me right in my face.

It was the POTTING MIX.

It was the new type of potting mix that I had used: Debco's PotMate Vegetable & Herb potting mix.


PotMate contains a wetting agent as well as a controlled release fertiliser, trace elements and growth simulants. Pot Mate recommends that to get the full benefit of their potting mix, gardeners should not blend it with any other potting mix.

Shame on me, I HAVE been blending with other potting mixes using the Debco PotMate to great effect throughout my rasied bed vegetable garden.  But this time, I obeyed the instructions on the bag and went the whole hog on the PotMate for my favourite tomato. Nothing could be too good for my favourite plant.

But it does seem to be a wetting agent or water retainer additive problem.

Inserted garden hose to water deep down.

THE FIX
I gave my tomato a big drink of Seasol at the time of digging around the roots, and then inserted two hose pipes deep into the pot to ensure that the water would get down lower.

THE RESULT
My tomato plant bounced back to life over night! And is now bursting with tresses of cherry tomatoes, one week later.

Why did my other plants not suffer dryness with a blending of PotMate?
Because I mixed it in well to give effective drainage. The compost, general potting mix and cow manure were all working together to grab that moisture and get it to the roots properly.

LESSON LEARNED
BLEND, BLEND, BLEND your potting mixes for the best results♥
Debco PotMate is still I lovely product, but needs to be handled in the right way for beautiful results.

;)

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