Posted: 11/07/2012 at 12:42
The bottom line with feeding toms is that that they're not "hungry" plants. You'll see it said around the internet that they are but it's more of the misinformation that floats around the ether.
Container plants need more food than plants in the ground for an obvious reason. Every time you water a container plant you leach out some of the nutrients. They dribble out the drainage hole in the bottom of the container with the excess water. They need to be replenished.
The same doesn't apply to plants growing outdoors in limitless soil. Those nutrients stay in the soil - not forever, obviously, but they're present for the roots to access until they're exhausted and that can take months. Bearing in mind, also, that decent soil has a whole nutrient supply of its own to offer the plant.
So given that toms aren't "hungry" in the first place, you could safely feed container plants maybe once a month. Certainly not once a week. The roots would barely get a rest from the nutrients before more arrive. The plant doesn't need that, and, ultimately, it does more harm than good. There's an old tomato adage that more toms are killed by over-feeding than by neglect.
Most serious growers only feed their outdoor toms three times in a season. First, a week or so after planting; second, when the first fruit starts to set; third, late in the season to replenish the soil for the plants that are, by then, starting to tire. This presupposes decent soil in the first place and yours is more than decent.
Only you can determine, by observation, the container plants' water needs. Were the plants showing any signs of distress? Had the mix dried out completely? Anyway, four days sounds reasonable and far preferable to every day. A "good soak" means exactly that. Saturating a dry - not still damp - mix until water trickles out the bottom of the container.
One of the advantages of growing toms outdoors in the garden is that you can drive the roots down deep into the soil - both away from the warmth/heat of the surface, and deep enough to access the soil's inherent goodness. Infrequent but very deep watering is the way to go outside. I'm now watering mine - about 10 hours a day of baking Tuscan sun peaking in the high-30sC - very very deeply every three days.
You'd have to have the crook leaves tested to determine exactly what happened. Plants weakened in any way - by a deficiency, by over-feeding or over-watering - are more vulnerable to disease than plants healthy in themselves. As in humans, lowered resistance is an invitation to disease.
My guess is that the over-feeding and over-watering, combined with a possible deficiency, left the plant vulnerable to a disease that's very very common in greenhouses. You're heading in the right direction in terms of working against it happening again.