Tips For Growing Tomatoes

Tomatoes are one of the widest grown edible plants on earth. Tomatoes are widely adaptable. They are also nutricous and delicous. There are many different types and varieties of tomatoes, ranging from Cherry Tomatoes and Roma Tomatoes to giant tomatoes that weigh upwards of 2 pounds. Tomatoes can be eaten raw or cooked and there are even more recipes for including tomatoes in your meal than there are varieties of tomatoes. There is nothing like classic sliced tomato to go on almost any kind of sandwich.

 Whether you want to grow the biggest tomatoes or grow the most delicious tomatoes you will find that tomatoes will grow in almost any type of soil. Tomatoes will produce more fruit when given plenty of fertilizer and water. Tomatoes also prefer full sun but will still produce tomatoes in partial shade.
    Whatever kind of tomatoes you choose to grow you will also need to decide what types of fertilizer to use. You can use chemical fertilizer or organic fertilizer. I recomend mostly organic fertilzers to increase yields and plant health and plant vigor as well as disease resistance and tolerance of enviromental extremes. You can choose a simple commercial fertilizer that is designed especially for tomatoes or if you are like me you can also take advantage of natural and free fertilizers that you have access to as well as specialty organic fertilzers that have special effects.
Fertilizer on commercial packages is listed in the N-P-K system. Those fertilizers are nitrogen phosphorus and potash. Potash is also known as potassium. Your tomatoes will grow best if the plants get more phosphorus and potassium and less nitrogen, but they do still need some nitrogen. If you want you can have a soil test done to see what nutrients already exist in your soil or you can just guess. More experienced growers will be likely to recognize symptoms of nutrient deficiency. If your tomato plants are getting too tall and lanky then you might want to cut back on the nitrogen.
It is also important to make sure you include enough trace nutrients in your plant food.
Calcium Deficiency Causes Blossom End Rot
If tomatoes do not get enough calcium they may develop a problem known as blossom end rot. Blossom end rot is when your tomatoes get rotten spots on them either before or during ripening or very shortly thereafter. Rotten tomatoes can also be caused by fruit touching the soil. Blossom end rot is most often caused by a lack of calcium. Great ways to get more calcium to your plants is to use lime or bone meal.

Lime is made from ground limestone and comes in different types including powdered lime, lime pellets and lime spray for spraying onto the vegetation. The exact amount of calcium available in different types of lime will vary and should be listed on the bag. I like to include a very small amount of powdered lime dissolved in irrigation water to provide a trace of calcium to every plant at watering time.

Bone meal is an awesome slow release fertilizer for tomatoes. Bone meal has lots of slow release calcium and also phosphorus to increase tomato production. Bone meal is one of the best tomato fertilizers to be dug into the soil at tomato planting time.

 Iron deficiency

Iron deficiency is often characterized by yellow leaves. Tomato plants that are getting enough iron should have a thriving green color. Like the ones in the pictures above. Yellowing leave can also be caused by lack of nitrogen. Yellowing leaves on tomato plants can also be caused by other problems such as insect infestation, tomato plant diseases and tomato plants that are nearing the end of their life cycle.

Use Compost On Tomatoes

Tomatoes love compost. If you garden and you do not already have a compost pile there is no time like now to start one. You can compost almost anything organic. Composting can be as simple as just tossing organic matter in an ever growing pile of grass clippings, leaves and organic kitchen waste. Add a little soil or finished compost in between layers for quicker composting.

Use Molasses on Tomatoes
Molasses as fertilizer on tomatoes will make your plants grow healthier, faster and more robust. Molasses works by adding carbohydrates to the soil in the form of sugar.  Molasses contains sucrose, glucose and fructose sugars which will help to feed the microbes in the soil. Molasses also contains the nutrients calcium, potassium, magnesium and iron. There is a link at the bottom of the page that tells more about using molasses as fertilizer on plants.

Silicon And Chitin
Silicon and chitin, especially when used together will make tomatoes, and many other types of plants, take on an increased vigor and increase resistance to disease, insects and weather extremes such as drought, heat and cold. Silicon is an element of the earths crust and can occur naturally in soil. Chitin is from the shells of crustaceans such as crabs, crayfish and shrimp.

Mycorrhizzal Fungus
Mycorrhiza is a beneficial fungus that lives on the roots of plants. It actually helps plants grow by increasing root mass and increasing absorption of nutrients and water. Plants that are grown where mycorrhiza is present will grow faster and healthier as well as require less irrigation and fertilizer. Commercial fertilizers can be purchased that contain mycorrhiza. Some of these commercial or organic fertilizers even contain beneficial bacteria as well as mycorrhiza. The plants supply the food that the little fungus need in the form of plant sugars and the beneficial mycorrhizza give the plants the benefit of an increased root system and more efficient uptake of nutrients and water. For more detailed information about using beneficial Mycorrhizal fungi on plants click here
     Best Fertilizers For Tomatoes To Be Added To Regular Fertilizer Already Used
If you click the words of the fertilizers listed in blue below it will take you to another page of mine with detailed information specifically about each one.

  1. Chitin   is in the shells of crustaceans such as crabs crayfish and shrimp. Chitin, also known as chitosans, helps tomatoes and plants of all types tolerate enviromental extremes and actually prolongs the healthy flowering period as well as improving over all plant vigor. Use with silicon for best results.
  2. Silicon helps tomatoes and plants of all types tolerate enviromental extremes and actually prolongs the healthy flowering period as well as improving over all plant vigor. Use with Chitin for best results.
  3. Epsom Salt contains magnesium and sulphur. These are two very important nutrients for tomato plants.
  4. Seaweed Extract contains natural growth stimulants and hormones as well as trace nutrients. A health tonic for your plants.
  5. Compost    is the most important thing to add to any soil at planting time. Compost is like black magic for your plants.
  6. Manure has been the standard in agriculture for thousands of years because it works!
  7. Mycorrhizal Fungus is a benefical fungus that lives on plant roots that can occur in soil naturally or can be purchased commercially and then added to the soil to inoculate the roots at planting time or at transplant time.
  8. Molasses gives your tomatoes carbohydrates in the form of sugars to help them grow better and will also give your tomatoes a sweeter taste.
  9. Lime will provide calcium to help prevent a condition know as blossom end rot.
  10. Iron will help your tomatoes grow better.


   Best  Tomato Mulches

  1. Straw
  2. Grass clippings
  3. Tree leaves
  4. Newspaper
  5. Black plastic or red plastic
  6. Compost
  7. Hay                                                                 
  8.  to learn about using molasses as fertilizer         For a site with tips on growing strawberries click the link.  For an interesting site with tips for growing squash click the link