The Best Fertilizer For Tomatoes To Increase Your Yield
Tomatoes are not only highly appreciated and consumed vegetables, they are also some of the easiest to grow.
For this reason, many new gardeners choose this delicious veggie as the first plant to grow and many of them are wondering what is the best fertilizer for tomatoes.
Tomatoes belong to Solanaceae family and are native to Latin America. From there, the tomatoes spread throughout the world, mainly thanks to the Spaniards. Nevertheless, initially tomatoes have been considered an ornamental plant and it was thought that the bright red fruits were dangerous.
Fortunately, that time is long gone and today tomatoes are abundantly present in our plates either raw or cooked.
Because of their popularity, one of the main questions gardeners have is how to get tasty and juicy tomatoes, and above all how to maximize the yield?
As a general rule, both the quality of tomatoes and the yield depend on the cultivation method and on the fertilizer used during growth. So, if you want to grow succulent tomatoes that will become the envy of your neighbors and friends, read on to find out which is the best fertilizer for tomatoes.
Tomato Growth Characteristics And Nutrient Needs
Tomato plants have only a few requirements to thrive. They need a quality draining soil, lots of sun and proper fertilizer. A correct cultivation practice doesn’t mean watering the plant every now and then. The most important thing is administering the right nutrients to the soil to help your tomato plants grow strong.
Unfortunately, the online environment is full of discordant information and news about fertilizing tomatoes. Many people claim that fertilizing the soil is a must. The truth is that tomatoes are some of the simplest to grow plants.
In fact, tomatoes essentially feed themselves with the substances that are already present in most types of soils. As a general rule, the sweet taste of tomatoes is dependent on potassium, a mineral present in almost all soils.
For this reason, before deciding if and what fertilizer to use, you should first carry on a chemical analysis of the soil and see if your land is rich in potassium and other minerals or not.
On the other hand, if you decide to grow tomatoes in pots administering fertilizer is a must. In this case, you need to choose your product carefully to make sure that your tomatoes will get all the necessary nutrients.
What Is The Best Fertilizer For Tomatoes
As I already mentioned, the main mineral tomatoes need is potassium. Apart from it, a good tomato fertilizer should also contain nitrogen, calcium, sulfur, phosphorus, and magnesium.
If you grow tomatoes in outdoors, keep in mind that all the minerals listed above are important for the healthy development of the plant. This means that a soil analysis should also determine if you need to compensate for any deficiencies of the named minerals.
Apart from these minerals, considered macro nutrients, the tomato plants also need a series of micro nutrients or growth activators, namely zinc, iron, and copper. Most of the times, a deficiency of these micronutrients is only felt in the early stages of growth, while a mature tomato plant will not suffer much from the lack of these elements.
The plants assimilate the nutrients through their root system, but a fertilizer cannot be effective unless the plant is well irrigated. In fact, tomato plants can only absorb the nutrients present in the soil through water and if you want to maximize yield you should keep both the nutrients and the irrigation under control.
About irrigation, it should be said that both irrigation scarcity and excess water have negative consequences on the development of the plant. Tomatoes do not require huge amounts of water to thrive, but irrigation should be constant.
Another thing to consider before using fertilizer is the right rotation of the crops in the garden. Without proper rotation, the soil tends to deplete and in this context the use of tomato-specific fertilizer is precious.
On the market, there are numerous types of fertilizers to use yet not all of them are as good as they claim.
My suggestion is to create your own fertilizer at home by mixing the right quantities of minerals. Personally, I make my own fertilizer which I use on a wide number of cultivars, such as oxen heart, cherry tomatoes, and yellow tomatoes.
In detail, the fertilizer I make contains:
- Nitrogen (8%);
- Phosphorus (5%);
- Potassium (6%);
- Calcium (15%);
- Manganese (5%);
- Magnesium (6.5%).
All these elements are easy to find either online or at a local nursery and it is really easy to find minerals of natural origin that are safe to use if you want to grow biological veggies.
If you don’t feel like mixing the minerals yourself, many fertilizers on the market contain these minerals in the specified quantities, although their provenience is not proven in the vast majority of the cases. On the other hand, if your soil is richer or poorer in one of the minerals, you can easily adjust the quantities to meet your needs if you choose to prepare your own mix.
How To Fertilize Tomatoes
If you have chosen a commercial fertilizer, simply follow the manufacturer’s instruction and use it accordingly. If you decided to give it a go and make your own mix, you will need to use different doses depending on whether you grow your tomatoes in pots or outdoors.
If you are growing tomatoes in pots, you should add about a teaspoon of the mixture, or about 2 grams, to each pot if you use 12-inch pots. If you are using larger pots simply increase the dose accordingly to maintain the proportion.
If you grow the tomatoes in the garden, distribute about two tablespoons, or 20 grams, of product per each 10 square feet of cultivated area. In practice, with 1 kilogram of fertilizer, you should be able to fertilize about 60 yards of terrain.
To ensure an excellent yield, remember to water the terrain after you sprinkle the fertilizer on the ground.
In the case of potted tomatoes, fertilize the terrain each week, while in the garden you can fertilize them every two weeks.
The best fertilizer for tomatoes is easy to make yet you can always buy a commercial formula if you don’t feel like making your own. Make an analysis of your soil, see what nutrients your tomatoes lack and act accordingly to increase your yield and obtain juicy and tasty tomatoes that everyone will love to eat!