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April 12, 2012


Joy Adrian

Can I use a liquid fish fertilizer in place of the fish heads?

Love Apple Farms

Julie: Watering is not an easy answer. "When necessary" is the smart-ass answer. We don't water until the soil 4 inches below the surface is getting dry. How often that is will depend on the weather, mulch or no mulch, the age of the tomato plant, and how windy it has been.

Julie Fowler

Hi! I just planted my tomato plants with your method and watered deeply right after, how much water do you give the following days? I left them alone yesterday and watered deeply today. It's in the 80's here in Phoenix metro area. Thanks!!

Jan Tomczak

My garden brings me such joy!!!!!!!!!!1

Love Apple Farms

Hi Lori. I don't know about red ants, but I do know that the local beekeepers around here sprinkle cinnamon around the hives as an organic control of ants that want to come steal some honey. Give it a try. You can buy cinnamon in bulk on line.

Lori Alter

Garden is my passion and I am always looking for new ideas. We live in Texas where red ants make their home anywhere and everywhere. Do you have an organic treatment to rid my garden of these pests? Thank you so much!

susan kennedy

I live in florida-my plants flower-then the flowers fall off. I keep looking but can't seem to find a cause listed for this. The other problem is leaf miners-is there a natural solution ? Thanks for any help.
i am trying an Australian method this year-into my nice organic bed, I inserted a large round pipe down into the soil. Into the top half, I place my compost-egg shells, banana peels, etc. The worms should be going in and out of the bottom of the pipe, decomposing and leaving their castings all around my tomato plants roots. Have you heard of, tried or have any info about the success of this method? Thanks!


Wow that was enlightening!! Thank you for sharing your expertise.


Wow - I am going to have to try this for my tomatoes this year. I am definitely pinning this!


IN A WORD: BLIGHT. Will this cure it? I know it's in the soil+ we have quite clay soil. We get fruit in abundance and get to enjoy quite a bit, but probably lose half of it to blight...irritating!


Cynthia -

My plants are going (mostly) great, thanks to your advice and the decomposing fish heads. I planted in the ground on May 7, and my varying plants are 4-5 feet tall already. I have a few questions:

1. My plants have great foliage and are growing upwards like gangbusters, but there's not an overwhelming number of blooms. Should I fertilize with a phosphorus dense fertilizer? If so, is there one you recommend?

2. In a cluster of 4-6 blooms, about 1-2 blossom drops are happening. The temps are not terribly extreme -- so i'm wondering if this is normal attrition?

3. Do you prune suckers from your plants, or just let them go?

Love Apple Farms

Hi Sean....Yuck! We've used maggoty fish heads on the past without any issue. But you should really try your best not to let them sit around long enough to attract fly maggots like that. We freeze our fish heads if we can't plant them right away.


Hi Cynthia, Your information is great on Tomato planting. My question is I have fresh fish heads,banana peels, egg shells in my buckets and I have started to get maggots. Should I be concearned about maggots destroying my plants. Thank You for your time.

Love Apple Farm

Cooper: Sun on some part of the plant does indeed "count." Good luck!


Hi Cynthia --

Thanks for the great info on tomato planting. I have a question. My tomatoes plants are getting 4-5 hours of direct sun right now, with another 1-2 hours of dappled sunlight. As the tomato plants grow taller, they will get another hour or so of direct sunlight on the upper plant, but not the lower. I know that they use sun for energy to fruit - but does that mean that the sun has to be on the entire plant for it to "count"?



Cynthia - it's me again. i just wanted you to know that in landlocked Kansas, the only place i can find lots of free fish heads is a seafood supplier company in missouri. so in a few days, i'm driving across the state line, dressed in a raincoat and boots, and digging through their recycle bins of fish carcass, to get my heads. planning to take pictures and will send to you, if you like.

also - in one of your posts, you said something about humic acid. but pure humic acid is hard to come by. did you mean a fertilizer with it as an ingredient? or do you have a source for pure humic acid?

Love Apple Farm

Elizabeth: I prefer the medium grade Sustane. But get whatever you can find. It's a hot commodity and you can't always get the grade you'd like.


Do you prefer the fine or medium grain Sustane?

Love Apple Farm

Daisy: The fishheads slowly release both nitrogen and calcium to the tomato plant over time. By the end of the season, they are completely decomposed under the soil. Fish parts, such as spines, fins and tails are good too. Defrost them before putting into the hold, though.


Thanks for your reply -- another question: what do the fish heads do for the tomatoes?? and is it ok to use fish parts that have been previously frozen, or do they need to be fresh? thanks!!

Love Apple Farm

Daisy: You can use variants of the macronutrients. I just like to see all three in somewhat equal numbers -that's what makes it "all purpose." If you have clay-like soil, then you best backfill the hole with a mix of both potting soil, compost, and native "dirt." I would also dig a bigger hole than 2 feet if my soil was that bad. Lastly, don't over water your tomatoes if you've got a clay pan down there. They'll hate that!


it's that time again - here are my questions:

1. when you say fertilizer with all three macro ingredients, does it specifically have to be the 4-6-4 analysis? or can it be a variant, as long as it's slow release?

2. i live in kansas, where the ground is pretty dense clay-like dirt. after i dig the deep hole, should i fill it back up with purchased quality soil, or a combination of purchased with the original dug-out dirt, or just the dug-out dirt?


growing tomatoes from seed

Last year I tried cherry tomatoes in my garden, with good results. This year I will try some of your great tips. Thank you for sharing this information.


Thanks for posting, trying this method out this year. So far, the plants are growing 1 foot per week! Still unsure what their watering needs are, though. Have really enjoyed picking up the fish heads from a local fishmonger. It's like I'm connecting back to when the Indians taught the settlers how they plant corn. Such a fulfilling thing to do.


Awesome info on tomato growing. Thank you!

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