Tomatoes are hardy plants and are easy to grow. During the growing stage tomatoes need care, the right soil condition and the best fertilizers, for the plant to thrive and produce a good yield. There are many fertilizers for tomatoes available in the nearby gardening stores, but one needs to do a soil test first to determine the nutrient requirements and what nutrients are already available in the soil.
Using Fertilizer for Tomatoes
The quantity of fertilizer required by a tomato plant changes as the plant grows. Most soils have different nutrient compositions, some rich on a particular nutrient, while lacking in another. A soil test will help in assessing the need of the soil and help in determining the type of nutrient required. There are different types of soil testing kits available in the garden stores.
Proper plant nutrition is a basic necessity for the high growth of tomato plants. They fail to give a good yield if they are not given the right food at the right time. The nutrients not only increase the fruit yield, but also prevent pests from affecting the plant. The compost at the top of the soil has nutrients formed as the by-product of naturally decayed things. These nutrients fertilize the soil and make the plants flourish and also replace the nutrients when the soil is depleted.
► Best Fertilizers for Tomato Plants
Nitrogen is the major component and the most important among the nutrients found in most fertilizers. Nitrogen has chemical properties which are responsible for the green foliage in most plants. Excessive nitrogen in the fertilizer should be avoided as it can result in a tomato plant with a lot of green foliage and lesser fruits.
Another fertilizer required for the healthy growth of tomato plants is phosphorus. This is necessary for producing good blooms and a healthy plant. Phosphorus is used in the form of rock phosphate to help produce large-sized tomatoes.
Potassium is required for the good growth of tomato plants and helps in photosynthesis. Potassium deficiency can make the plant prone to diseases and also hinder its full growth.
Micro-nutrients like iron, copper, zinc, magnesium and manganese are minor components in most fertilizers. Though micro-nutrients can help boost the healthy growth of plants, they are not required in large quantities like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
Slow release fertilizers
Slow release fertilizers can be mixed with the soil when planting the seeds. They are called so because the nutrients are released very slowly and the plants can feed on them at a very slow pace, preventing the plants from burning.
Liquid fertilizers are very effective and help boost the growth of fragile and weaker plants. The tomato plants can absorb the liquid fertilizers quickly through their leaves and roots.
Organic fertilizers for tomatoes are becoming very popular these days, as they don't have chemicals with strong side effects. Organic vegetable garden fertilizers are made by mixing biodegradable compounds such as compost from grass clippings and yard waste, vegetable discards, egg shells and coffee grounds. These wastes are a favorite of many tomato growers and those involved in organic farming.
Most households have biodegradable waste, so instead of throwing them, they can be collected and used in composting the waste. A pile of this waste with the compost can be stored in the backyard. Fish emulsion, bone meal or powder, cow manure, manure tea and seaweed emulsion are probably the oldest organic fertilizers. These will work excellent for tomato plants.