Are you wondering which tomatoes fertilizer to buy? A fertilizer that will increase yields and increase your farming income? Then you have come to the right place. First of all, you need to understand that though fertilizers play a significant role in how successful your tomato farming venture will be, other factors such as the type of greenhouse you have, the local climate and the type of soil also plays a role in how successful a venture will be. However, this will be a story for another day, today, we will only discuss tomatoes and fertilizers.
First of all, there are different types of tomatoes, all with different micronutrient requirements. Some tomatoes grow better in one geographical region than the other and as a farmer, you must always be aware of this fact. Tomatoes also come in several colour varieties such as white, pink, yellow, purple and moulted. The first rule of becoming a successful tomatoes farmer is to know the variety that thrives well in your local geographical region.
To do this, get in touch with your local agricultural officer for better advice in regards to the local climate and variety.
Best Fertilizer for Tomatoes
The best fertilizer for tomatoes is that which contains a wide range of micronutrients such as magnesium, zinc, calcium and boron. In addition, tomatoes must also feed on nutrients such as potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen. If this is your first tomato growing venture, then you need to know that all these nutrients should be added to the soil at different stages and not all at once. So how important are these nutrients to the plant?
Nitrogen increases the foliage of the tomato trees. However, it should always be used with caution, because too much of it might cause your greenhouse to be too bushy. If you think that a bushy plant is more advantageous, then think again. If too much energy is used by the plant to increase its foliage, then there will be no fruit development. As a result, yields will significantly reduce.
We advise that phosphorus be added to the plant during the initial and final growth stage because it helps in the development of the tomato fruit. Phosphorus also helps in the development of roots, which make the tree more stable.
Potassium has two main important uses; the first is to help in the production of flowers and the second is to help in photosynthesis.
Don’t worry if you do not know how and when to apply these micronutrients because we will create a tomatoes fertilizer program for you. To know which fertilizer is best for tomatoes, you must first be aware of the different types of tomatoes in the market as each will have different nutritional requirements.
5 Types of Tomatoes that Are Currently in Demand
Heirloom tomatoes are purebred tomatoes and are known for their superior texture and taste. Unlike other varieties that are a result of crossbreed, these come from a single genetic line. Because they are purebred and come from a single genetic line, they are more susceptible to diseases than their hybrid counterparts.
If you are planning to plant heirloom tomatoes, we advise you use organic fertilizer because they are proven to increase yields. Also, they need to be planted in rich loamy soils. If the soil is heavy clay, then we advise you make raised beds.
Plum tomatoes are probably the most common variety in the market today. They are known for their cylindrical shape and because they have fewer seeds, they are best suitable for making paste and caning. If the plum tomatoes are unusually small, then they can be referred to as grape tomatoes. When planting plum tomatoes, make sure you have a soil test done, to determine the nutrient composition of the soil.
In addition, if you are planting in a water stress region, we advise you to plant the transplants deeply so that you encourage their growth because they are deep-rooted plants.
Cherry tomatoes are smaller than grape tomatoes but they are a favourite in high-end restaurants because of their sweet and punchy taste. They have a soft texture and come in a wide range of colours ranging from orange, yellow and red. If you are planning to plant cherry, ensure the soil PH is between 6 – 6.5 for maximum yields. Also, if you plan to grow them indoors, ensure they get at least 6 hours of sunlight or they will die.
Other types of tomatoes that you can consider for your farming venture include the pear and the Campari tomatoes. The Campari variety is a hybrid fruit that is known for its sweet flavour, unforgiving texture and low acidity.
Tomato Fertilizer Recommendations
Below, we have created the best tomato fertilizer program that will increase your yields, reduce pests and diseases and most importantly, make your farming venture a success. Our recommendations are scientifically proven to work but you must never forget the golden rule associated with farming; the type and amount of fertilizer you use should always be guided by a soil test!
Tomato Fertilizer Program
Your program should start before you plant your seeds. To ensure that your garden has enough nitrogen, you will have to prepare your beds early. If the soil is rich in humus it is a clear indication that there is sufficient nitrogen. A common question that we normally receive is how one can tell that their fruits require more nitrogen. The easiest way to tell is to identify the colour of the tomato leaves. If the leaves are yellow, then more nitrogen is needed in the soil.
Add Composite or Organic Manure to the Bed
The first stage is to prepare your beds by adding composite or organic manure. This is done to increase the amount of nitrogen in the soil so that it can boost plant growth. If you are adding compost, ensure you add 4-6 inches of it for best results.
After you have prepared the bed, it is now time to plant the tomato tree. If you are using chemical fertilizer, ensure there is no direct contact between the fertilizer and the plant. Do this by creating a thin layer of normal soil to separate the two to prevent root-burn
During the flowering stage, the plant will require plenty of nitrogen and potassium. Potassium is used to encourage more flowering and to make the plant strong and healthy. At this stage, it is important to use a fertilizer that has more potassium than nitrogen. A ratio of 2: 4 would be ideal.
After the flowering stage, comes the fruiting stage. At this stage, we advise you use a tomato fertilizer that contains both phosphorus and potassium.
5. During Fruiting
As the tomatoes mature, lightly fertilize the plant at least every 2-3 weeks. At this stage use more phosphorus than calcium.
Some of the fertilization tips that you need to keep in mind are:
- Never fertilize directly on the leaves
- Fertilizer for tomatoes in pots should be applied more frequently than you would if you had planted in the soil
- Sandy soils require you to apply more tomatoes fertilizer than you would if you have clay soil
Signs of Tomatoes Overfertilization and How to Fix It
Sometimes, you might overfertilize your plant without you knowing it. Overfertilization is bad for the plant and will reduce yields. So which are some of the common signs that you have overdone it?
- You spot yellow leaves
- There is a delay in the flowering stage
- Your tomatoes tree is suddenly shedding leaves
- The tomatoes tree is too bushy
So how do you fix this problem?
If you plan to add mulch, you need to get organic mulch rather than synthetic mulch. The reason why we recommend this is that the decomposition process will consume nitrogen hence reducing its amount in the soil.
Soak the Soil
Another way to reduce the excess fertilizer is to soak the soil. This is a practical option especially if you have raised beds. As the water drains into the ground, it dissolves the excess nutrients in a process known as flushing or leaching.
Scrape Out the Sediment
You can tell that there are excess nutrients on the soil if you spot white salt around the plant. In such a case all you have to do is to scrap it off.