I’ve been trying to get rid of weeds at my backyard garden for the last several years but without any success. This year I have planted my vegetables in the bucket yet the weeds are growing and engulfing the area ferociously. Plus all these years I’ve been noticing that tomatoes are getting rotten halfway through. Please advise.
You mention “tomato blight”, but I’m not certain if this is what is wrong with your container plants –blight is mainly a problem when there is lots of rain, and it’s been a dry summer. See a previous entry on our website, Tomato blight, which includes links to resources that describe both early- and late- blight. You may want to compare some of the photos in these references with your tomato leaves. And if your plants have experienced blight, it is important to dispose of both plant debris and soil in the garbage (not in city compost) – as the fungal spores can survive the winter. Consider speaking with someone at your local nursery about what happened to your plants. If you take a leaf or portion of a plant along with you, wrap it in plastic wrap so that it cannot contaminate other plants.
A few points about container gardening: Vegetables need lots of sun – 6 to 8 hours a day, at least. When growing tomatoes in containers, select containers with holes in the bottom to ensure drainage of excess water. As well, it is important to ensure that you use soil designed for containers (not soil that comes straight out of the garden). You can mix slow-release fertilizer with the soil or feed the plants soluble fertilizer (there are also fertilizers are made specifically for tomatoes). Tomato plants are heavy feeders and must have nutrients/fertilizers throughout the growing season – starting when they are planted and then again every 1-2 weeks after they set fruit. The plants must be watered very frequently as it is easy for the soil in containers to dry out, especially in a hot summer like we have had.
Here are some good resources on how to grow tomatoes in pots:
National Gardening Association – Container tomatoes
Royal Horticultural Society. Plant a container: Tomatoes
As for weeds, they thrive in seemingly any weather conditions, and tend to be aggressive in the garden. Unfortunately, it will take some work (and digging) to get rid of your weeds. With some of these, like the dandelion, you must dig up the long tap root to ensure that the weed will not grow back.
Some references that may help you in getting rid of those nasty weeds:
Fine gardening. Six tips for effective weed control
University of Minnesota Extension. Weeds