Sunday, July 29, 2012

Dying Golden Midget

I've grown other plants in this spot on the balcony, in this same container with a similar potting soil mix and fertilizers: watermelons, pumpkins, tomatoes... but I've never had one die a death quite like the one this plant is going through. The yellow leaves at the base of the plant, that have been yellow since mid June are finally turning brown and dying off completely. The plant stopped growing a little while ago. The one melon on the plant is not quite 6 inches in diameter and just turning yellow now. Golden Midget watermelons are suppose to turn yellow as they ripen but this one could be turning because the plant is dying. The melon probably needs another month to ripen. But with all the leaves dying I don't think there's much chance of that.

The one nice thing about all this is that the yellow leaves add a bit of colour to the balcony.


jeannie said...

Sorry to read that the watermelon plant may not make it.

Teresa said...

Hello,I was wondering if you can help me with a question. I bought some Tomato Tone fertilizer for my tomato & veggie plants. I have most of my plants in self-watering containers. Can you tell me if this type of fertilizer is the right thing? Should I water the pots from the top after I fertilize with this product? Thank you! My plants are not looking too good so I am anxious to feed them right away! :) Teresa in CT, USA

Jeff said...

Tomato Tone... that actually looks like nice stuff. Definitely the right thing for tomatoes or any other 'fruiting' vegetable. And it's fine for container plants, even in self-watering containers.

You can apply it just like it says on the label: in a band around the plant. They say to keep it at least 3 inches away from the stem. When I add ferts like this to my self-watering containers I just make a shallow trench, inch or two deep, along the length of the container. I pour the fert in the trench and then cover it. And I usually give the container a watering from the top after I do this but I don't really know why. I guess I'm just paranoid that the fert won't break down unless I do. But in all the self-watering container instructions I've come across they say to just add the fert in a band on the surface and leave it. Don't water from the top.

Have a look at these EarthBox instructions. You'd be doing the same thing.

After you apply the fert you can keep watering the container the way you normally would. No need to start watering from the top. Over time, the fert will break down and nutrients will slowly seep down into the soil. It's interesting that the packaging says to do this twice a month. You'll probably find that after a couple of weeks, if you dig up the fert, it will still be there. Because it's organic and because you won't be watering from the top, it will not break down and leech away so quickly.

Usually I have to do this mid season with my tomatoes because I forget to add enough at the start of the season. I only do it the one time and just like in the EarthBox instructions, I use a few cups per application for the whole season. The container I like to grow tomatoes in is 3 feet long and I never grow more than 2 plants in it at a time. Right around now is when my tomatoes start to show signs of nutrient deficiency with curled and yellow leaves, purple splotches and burnt edges. Organic ferts take a while to break down in the soil so it might be a while before your plants have access to those nutrients.

Hope everything works out for you.


Teresa said...

Jeff, thank you so much for your quick response! I really appreciate it!

Anonymous said...

Olá from Lisbon!

I recently moved into Lisboa's old quarter called Estrela. Very old, very tight. I have two small picturesque balconies just begging for some tomato plants to drape over the metal railing.

What do you think? Is this possible? warm climate? I always dreamed of living in an old european neighborhood with tomato plants growing in the door/windows. I want to blog about this tradition, so i want to practice what i preach. Thanks in advance!