Q.Help with tomatoes
I want to give my tomato patch a rest this year. The only place I have to use is in the corner of house. It gets sun from 11 a. m. to about 3 p. m. I usually try to grow a doz. plants/different kinds. I currently have 5 1/2 whiskey barrels in corner bed, but they can be moved. What would you advise? I desperately need help soon. I reside in zip zone 98847. I know this new site is not ok. What would you advise to add to each tomato hole? Many THANKS, Glendene
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Your plants will likely survive there, it is just the harvest will not be as good as it could be. If you can, take a look around and see what is blocking the sun. If it is a tree or shrub, can it be thinned out a bit with pruning to allow at least dappled light through. You also may want to try to maximize the light you do have coming in there. Setting a mirror or other reflective surface behind the plants will help save some of the light and redirect it back on the plants.
As for what to add, since these are containers that you only plan on using for this year, I would just make sure you are using a quality potting soil mixed with some compost. If you are ok with using a chemical fertilizer, a slow release fertilizer sprinkled on the soil every 2-3 months can help. If you are an organic gardener, a compost or manure tea used every 2-3 weeks is good.
Many of the things that get added to the growing holes in the garden are there more to replace what the plant will be using this year, as they will take about a year to break down. Since you are using containers and plan to return to your garden beds next year. They would not be helpful.
That being said, you may want to get some fresh manure to spread on the fallow bed now. By the time you are ready to use them again, the manure will be mellowed and will help make the bed extra ready for plants. You may also want to consider solarizing that bed, since you are letting it stay fallow anyway. This article explains more about solarizing: