Are you trying to grow a tomato plant at your home or on some farm? You might be worried about which fertilizers to use for your newly growing tomato plants.
If you are new to farming or growing tomatoes in your house or farm then you should know, many things help in the growth of a tomato plant. Tomatoes are very huge plants that require a lot of focus and hard work.
It is very unlikely like other plants tomato plants usually deplete their nutrients quickly no matter how much rich fertile soil you have for them.
As tomatoes are summer vegetables or as some might call them fruits that are almost on top of every person’s gardening list.
If you want a proper harvest, you might want to keep in mind that they require and have particular needs for their growth.
Tomatoes are very meticulous whenever it comes to the soil conditions such as the amount of water required and the frequency for fertilizing the plant.
It means that a person should have enough knowledge on how often they are required to fertilize the tomato plant.
How often should you Fertilize your Plant?
The question arises in many of the thoughts of the people who have thought to grow a plant that how often they should fertilize them.
There are different types of tomatoes you can choose to grow.
- cherry tomatoes
- heirloom tomatoes
- grape tomatoes
- Roma tomatoes
- beefsteak tomatoes etc.
Tomatoes are very picky plants and thus it is important to keep in mind the details of their fertilization. You need to fertilize when they are present as seedlings when they are growing inside.
However, you can also fertilize them when you are going to transplant the seedling outside.
You have to wait until the plant develops some flowers and then fertilize them again, as well as the time when the fruits start to develop.
Thus, add light fertilizer once every two weeks when the fruits form.
To have the best yield for your tomato plants, you need to learn about when and how to fertilize.
It is important to understand the difference between an abundant harvest and weak growth.
So let’s now discuss the important nutrients your tomatoes need.
Nutrients for Tomato Plant
Tomatoes are heavy feeders, meaning that they need a number of nutrients to grow properly.
However, if you fail to fertilize, you will not have a good harvest.
Tomatoes require 3 primary nutrients, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium along with others.
Each one of these plays a crucial role in the development of plants.
Nitrogen: It takes care of the foliage on the plant, however, too much nitrogen can create a bushy plant with little or no fruit.
This would decrease the yield of the crops.
Phosphorus: Tomatoes need phosphorus for the growth and development of their roots and fruits.
It is important in the early stages as well as in the final one.
Potassium: This helps to grow the tomato plants rapidly and produce flowers that turn into fruit.
Moreover, it is essential for the process of photosynthesis and disease resistance.
Other Nutrients for Tomato Plants
NPK fertilizers are macronutrients that all plants need for growth and development, however, there are other micro and trace nutrients they need.
Tomatoes needs the following micronutrients:
Calcium: Tomato plant needs calcium for the proper growth of roots and leaves.
Moreover, it helps to make the fruit firm.
Zinc and Boron: These helps tomatoes with the process of flowering and ripening of fruits.
Magnesium: Without it, your plant does not have the ability to stay green, and it also helps with the process of flowering and the quality of fruit.
Fertilizers for Tomatoes
In case you are wondering about the time when your plant needs fertilizer, then it is easy.
Always remember, that when the leaves of your tomato plant turn yellow, especially the bottom ones, then it is time to fertilize them.
Tomato plants need fertilizers that contain both macronutrients as well as essential micronutrients.
However, a problem you might face is that tomatoes need fertilizers at different ratios at different times.
You should remember the following:
No single ingredient fertilizer is enough for your plant. You will have to buy multiple fertilizers for them.
When considering commercial or synthetic fertilizers, they have a series present on the containers like 10-10-10.
This number series stands for NPK, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
This means that it contains 10% nitrogen, 10% phosphorus, and 10% potassium along with filler materials.
It is also important to test your soil before adding fertilizers.
Keep in mind the following while fertilizing:
- If the pH of your soil is balanced, then select a fertilizer that has a low concentration of nitrogen and a high concentration of phosphorus.
- If it lacks nitrogen, then you can add a fertilizer with the series 10-10-10
- However, if you are using manure or compost, then you do not need to add nitrogen.
- But do add phosphorus at the initial stage i.e. after transplanting the seeds.
Phosphorus Fertilizers for Tomato Plants
Depending on how you prepare your garden beds before adding seeds, you might only need phosphorus.
This is because when you add compost you make sure that the soil is full of nitrogen.
Phosphorus, however, is crucial and helps to boost the growth of tomatoes.
Thus, many farmers recommend using a bone meal or organic fertilizers if you want to add phosphorus to the soil.
We at Al Ard Alkhadra aims at making 100% pure organic fertilizers to meet the needs of your crops and plants.
Let’s discuss these organic fertilizers as follows:
Although the bone meal is an animal byproduct, it is an organic fertilizer that helps the seedling of your plant and encourages the strong growth of roots.
This fertilizer comes from grinding bones typically beef, however, it sometimes uses other bones as well.
The bone meal from the market contains the ratio 3-15-0, however, the number may vary from one brand to another.
Keep in mind, that organic fertilizers or bone meal are a slow-releasing fertilizer, it can take 4 months to fully break in the soil.
Therefore, you should get a test for soil that helps to determine the level of phosphorus in the soil at present.
However, on average 1 pound per 10 sq. ft. is enough for the entire growing season.
One of the beneficial fertilizers for your plants is tea compost and they love it.
You can add more if you need more potassium, thus adding banana peels, can fuel your plants with sufficient potassium.
For this, you can chop banana peels and bury them in the soil around your tomatoes for an extra boost.
To make compost tea, scope some up and put it in a filter or cheesecloth bag.
Add a couple of banana peels and put them in a 5-liter gallon and let it soak for several days.
When ready, you can use the compost tea to water the plants.
Fertilizer spikes are available in a number of garden stores. All you have to do is add the spike about 6 inches away from the base of your stem.
This also includes the one in tomatoes you grow in containers.
However, keep in mind to look for fertilizers that have a high concentration of phosphorus and an average concentration of nitrogen or potassium.
A fertilizer spike usually lasts for 2 months, thus making it cost-effective which is an easy way to fertilize your plants.
When and How to Fertilize your Plants
Before planting everything be sure that you prepare the garden beds.
This is possible in the spring season. you can also add compost or aged manure in the garden beds that you prepare.
As compost has the best nutrients for plants and all other vegetables.
if you are preparing your plant at home then you will need to fertilize your plant once the seedlings grow into sprouting.
If you want to keep up with this growth then it is better is that you fertilize your seedlings.
When it is time for the seedlings to go into the big garden beds then they need plenty of nutrients to grow and it is necessary that you put lots of compost and manure for them to grow fully.
For your plants, it is essential that you select the best phosphorus fertilizers to speed up their growth.
Add nitrogen and potassium during the flowering stage. This encourages strong, healthy growth and more flowering.
When your fruit grows, it is a sign that you need to add more fertilizer. At this stage, add phosphorus or tea compost with banana peels for proper growth.
Lastly, until harvesting fertilize your plants lightly, by adding phosphorus and calcium.
The Right Way to Fertilize Tomato Plants
It is important to keep in mind that if you add an excessive amount of fertilizer to your plant, then it can burn them.
Thus, there are a few rules to keep in mind while fertilizing your plants. These are:
- It is advisable to add organic fertilizer a few inches on the top of your soil. This improves the drainage while providing vital nutrients for your plants.
- Avoid spraying the fertilizer on the entire plant. It can cause runoff onto the stem, thus, burning it.
- Never apply fertilizer on the leaves as it can also burn your plant.
- Mix the fertilizer at the bottom of the planting hole and it should be about 6 inches away from the plant.
- Tomatoes love organic fertilizers because of potassium while having a low concentration of nitrogen and phosphorus. Thus if your soil is balanced, then you should use organic fertilizers for your tomato plants.
- Water your tomato slowly and deeply at the stem to make sure they absorb the nutrients as well.
- As advised, water them early in the day or later in the evening when the sun is not at its peak.
How to Fix OverFertiling your Tomatoes
Too much fertilizer can burn your plant.
Signs of over-fertilizing are yellowing leaves, bushy leaves, decayed leaves, and sediment buildup on the surface of the soil.
Moreover, yellowing and wilting of lower leaves and sudden loss of them are also signs of over-fertilizing.
You can fix over-fertilization by:
Adding Mulch: Organic mulch includes the process of decomposing, which releases nitrogen in the soil that gives better results.
Scrap off the Sediment: Try scraping off the layer of sediments and disposing of them off to heal the soil.
Soak the Soil: If you are using the techniques like container farming for your plants, then soaking them in water can be helpful.
It lets the water drain out and the process is called leaching of soil or flushing.
Learn more about Brown Tips on Leaves here.
Fertilizing your tomato plants is important for their growth and healthy fruit because without it they will never reach maximum potential. They grow best in-room temperature, are setting fruits and indeterminate tomatoes, determinate tomatoes, and you can grow them either on stake or cage in a buried stem.
There are different types of tomatoes like cherry tomatoes, and heirloom tomatoes, and you can grow them from tomato seedlings with different bush varieties in your home garden.
It is important to keep in mind the important nutrients your tomatoes needs for growth and the time when you need to add them. Remember to keep the fertilizer away from leaves and water deeply before panting. And also, Compost is your best friend.
Sometimes blossom end rot, tomato hornworms, bottom leaves, and fungal diseases can affect the growth of your plants.