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Tomatoes need lots of nutrients. That’s one reason fertilizing tomatoes is a key step in growing healthy plants.
If you wonder why tomato plants need so many vitamins and minerals and other good stuff in the soil, think about what a tomato plant accomplishes in a very short time.
Tomatoes need lots of nutrients to accomplish all that activity within six months or so. Their growing process is compressed into a short period of time. And it is the reason that fertilizing tomatoes plays a significant role in your tomato plant’s success.
The fact is that even the healthiest soil may not have adequate nutrients for tomato plants. Most tomatoes need fertilizer – even if it’s simply an added layer of compost worked into the soil at the beginning of the growing season. Conduct a soil test in your garden to find out what kinds of nutrients to add to your garden to give your tomatoes the best chance to flourish.
Fertilizers are a combination of the three nutrients commonly fed to plants: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (referred to as the “N-P-K ratio”). The three numbers on a fertilizer package represent the proportion of three nutrients.
You can use various tomato fertilizers at different points in the season. Or you can keep things simple with a fertilizer especially formulated for tomatoes, like Miracle-Gro Tomatoes (18-18-21), a crystal formula mixed with water and applied through a hose or sprayer … and Tomato Tone (4-7-10 or 3-4-6), a granular organic fertilizer that is worked into the soil.
Yes! You can make a natural fertilizer for tomatoes from readily available ingredients you find in your own home. Start with a gallon of compost. Then mix in ingredients that provide nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium – as many or as few of these as you like – in much smaller increments.
When you plant tomatoes, add a handful of tomato fertilizer or bone meal to the planting hole.
Then keep a careful eye on newly-planted seedlings for the first two weeks. Transplanted seedlings with yellowed leaves at the base need to be fed again.
Apply tomato fertilizer once fruit has formed. Some gardeners look for their first tomatoes to be golf ball size as a signal to begin the season’s systematic feeding program.
Then, apply tomato fertilizer every 3 weeks until frost.
At frost! Tomatoes keep growing throughout the season and continue to need nutrients to produce healthy blossoms and fruit.
When you over-fertilize young tomato plants they grow tall and spindly, with plenty of leaves but few blossoms. Reason? Too much nitrogen, which encourages foliage development.
But you can also recognize that you’re over fertilizing tomatoes mid-season when …
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