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in The potting shed
Can someone please tell me the difference between a slow release fertilizer (which is what im looking for) & a slow release feed. I want to use for planting tomatoes have already bought food but advised to use a slow release fertilizer.
The best plant food for tomatoes is one of the proprietary tomato liquid feeds. Which you need to start using once the first truss has set and you can see the small fruit forming, then feed weekly to to every ten days or as instructions on the brand of feed you buy.
Tomato liquid feed is the one to use, it contains the right chemicals needed to produce those beautiful red fruits we all love. Using a slow release will probably tell the plant to produce beautiful leaves at the expense of the fruit - which is no good.
Wilko's, asda, etc all do their own brand, but I believe Levington Liquid Tomorite is the best.
Sunbeam2, the best way with tomato's is to wait until the fruit are ripening then apply a Tomato fertiliser such as Tomorite or similar. Tomato's need "Potash" but do not need too much "Nitrogen" one promotes fruit ripening and the other plant growth. I always found that topping the pots up with a few trowels of good compost two or three times during the season gave the plants all the goodness they needed and using a "Potash" feed for the fruit little but often did the job for ripening. As with all things read the label and comply, more is not always better and can have a detrimental effect. If the label says apply two caps to a can of water once a week I add one cap to a can but twice in the week this gives the recommended quantity of nutrient required. Hope this helps.
For most blends of fertilizer you can get slow release and quick release, though many of the slow release ones are only available to the horticultural trade, where plants are kept in pots for a whole selling season. The difference is that fast release fertilizers are readily soluble, which is good if you want a quick fix that you will repeat every few weeks, but easily leached away into the sub-soil after rain. Slow release fertilizers are usually produced inside bead-like capsules which dissolve slowly depending on temperature. There will often be a mix of different capsule coatings in one pack of fertilizer, so some will dissolve within a few weeks, and others will take a few months. I have used a tree and shrub fertilizer that released its goodies over a full year, ideal for a nursery selling trees in pots.
Blood Fish and Bone is less expensive balanced fertilizer that is slow release without needing to be encapsulated because it's constituents only dissolve slowly.
As others have said, Tomato feed does not need to be applied until the first flowers have set.
I would have thought that slow release food and slow release fertiliser were similar, but maybe containing different elements
Tomato feed (liquid form) gives the equivalent to a big meal every so often. slow release is like being on a diet, little and often but you never know when it's run out.