A water sprayer is very useful for all sorts of jobs including reviving plants that are wilting in hot weather, misting flowers in dry conditions to help them set and spraying to prevent disease.
However, I mostly use my sprayer for giving extra nutrients when they show signs of deficiency on their leaves . Here are a few foliar feeding tips.
You wouldn’t believe how complicated it can become beneath the soil surface when one nutrient prevents the uptake of another or the pH balance is upset by over feeding etc.
That’s the beauty of the foliar spray – you can give plants a supplement such as extra magnesium without upsetting the balance of nutrients in the soil.
The main feed, such as Tomorite, is still given through the soil and extra nutrients, as required at different times of the season are given through the leaves.
When spraying leaves it’s a good idea to use a wetting agent. This helps break down the surface tension of water so that the solution being sprayed covers more of the leaf area and is absorbed more easily into the leaf.
The technical name for a wetting agent is “surfactant” but don’t let that put you off – washing up liquid is a surfactant too!
You won’t need very much, in fact it’s best to add a glass of water from the soapy washing up bowl in your watering can than use it neat. Farmers also use it when spraying their crops.
When spraying outside in breezy conditions set the spray nozzle to larger drops – finer spray gets blown around in the wind.
I’ve been spraying every two weeks with aspirin and I have to say that It seems to be working very well.
Of course most of us in the UK have had very good weather over the past few weeks, so it won’t be put to the test unless poor weather arrives – let’s hope not!
Around 75 to 100 mg per litre is the dosage I’m using as a foliar spray.
Turgid and bendy
Removing side shoots and leaf pruning is best done in the mornings when plants are in their most turgid state – that’s firm and stiff, making it easier to snap off shoots etc. Winding stems around string (or string around stems) is best done later in the evening when plants are more bendy (flaccid) and contain less internal pressure (owing to a reduction in light and transpiration).
“The sap rises and the birds sing …” Copperline by James Taylor.
Watering is also best done at the beginning of the day, but when the weather is very warm as it has been lately, it may be necessary to water up to three times daily if growing in containers. Maybe a watering system isn’t just for holidays!
Water availability plays such a major role in the growth and well-being of sensitive tomato plants that the lack of it can have many negative implications … leaf curl, small fruit, poor setting, nutrient deficiency and blossom end rot to name just a few!
Problems are often caused indirectly …
For example, wilting is the direct result of a plant running out of water. However, because a plant’s system requires a continual flow of moisture around its parts, any interruption to its water supply can have a knock-on effect.
That’s one reason why reservoir systems like the quadgrow planter and valves in a tray system like the easy2grow autopot set-up produce such good results. They are particularly useful in warmer weather too when fruiting plants need a lot of water.
Of course if you are growing directly in the ground, such as on an allotment, plants have bigger root systems and access to more water and nutrients, so the watering frequency can be reduced.
Flowering and fruit size
I know that some of us have had fewer flowers and smaller fruit than usual on our plants. Others have experienced the opposite and larger fruit.
How are your tomatoes doing?