How much thought do you give to the kind of fertilizer you use in the garden? Not much? Well, maybe it's time to start thinking more about fertilizers we use in the garden. Back in May of this year, Dave Thompson's Organic Healthy Grow contacted me and asked if I would be interested in trialing their products and writing about them. I chose a general purpose garden fertilizer from their line of products. Read part I and part II of this garden experiment if this is your first post on the trial.
As you'll recall, this is a garden bed in which I'm growing tomatoes for a local food pantry. I decided to use Dave Thompson's Organic Healthy Grow general purpose fertilizer. My thinking is that since I was going to donate the harvest from this bed, I wanted to ensure that what went into growing the plants was going to be organic. Take a look at the growth of the tomato plants since part I and part II. The experiment started on May 15th, and this is what the bed looked like in the middle of July.
I'm really impressed with the vigor of the cherry tomato plants that got fertilized with Healthy Grow. As you'll recall, only half the bed was fertilized with Healthy Grow and the other was just amended with fresh compost. The unfertilized half of the bed was not growing as well and the plants were not as happy and healthy as the half I fertilized with Healthy Grow.
Even with regular pinching of suckers and trimming, the cherry tomato vines are exploding in growth, and threatening to take the bamboo stakes down and we're not even into August.
While tying and staking the tomato vines this week I made another observation. The half of the raised bed that didn't get fertilized initially is not just under-performing, the plants are weaker and susceptible to pests and diseases. I have noticed a lot of white flies and aphids on those plants, while the healthier side (the one fertilized) seems to not be affected. There is also, unfortunately, tomato blight in some of the other raised beds that other gardeners tend. I'm keeping my finger crossed because I have a lot of beautiful tomato fruits!
I'm still a couple of weeks away from harvesting cherry tomatoes, but the weather looks promising for ripening tomatoes on the vine, and the tomato fruits are large and beautiful! Most of all, I'm excited about being able to deliver fresh, organically grown tomatoes to a family in need. These photos were taken a couple of days before I sat down to write this post, but I visited the garden today and saw that many were already turning color.
If you've never heard of Dave Thompson's Organic Healthy Grow, check out their website to learn about how a school teacher turned into an organic fertilizer producer, and where you can find the Healthy Grow line of products near you. They have been a great brand to work with, and I'm happy that I have had good results with the fertilizer. By visiting the website, you're also helping support me because they could have advertised in any number of traditional garden outlets, or contracted a number of famous garden writers and TV personalities to do this trial, but they chose to work with me.
Do you have any tips for dealing with white flies and aphids?