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Are Fertilizers the Best Approach For Growing Tomatoes?

Fertilizers, whether chemical or organic, can help provide the extra nutrients tomatoes need to grow quickly. But what are the best fertilizers for tomatoes? And when should you be fertilizing tomato plants? Read this article and we will answer the question about fertilizing tomatoes.

Increase your tomatoes production with fertilizers

It takes a few simple steps to give the right type of tomato fertilizer to your plants at the right time during the growing season. Over the course of a few months, a tomato grows from a tiny seed to a mature plant bearing dozens of fruits. No wonder tomatoes are big feeders. Fertilizing begins before plants are placed in the garden and continue until frost.

Fertilizing first before planting

Work the compost into the soil before planting. The compost will improve the soil and provide a wide variety of nutrients for the new tomato seedlings.

If you’re working on organic matter in the soil that hasn’t yet broken down into compost (such as leaves or grass clippings), apply a good source of nitrogen as well, since organic materials use nitrogen when they break down.

Fertilize when the fruit has set

Apply tomato fertilizer once the fruit has formed. Some gardeners look to their first golf ball-sized tomatoes as a signal to begin the season’s systematic feeding program. Be sure to use a fertilizer that has the nutrient content that tomatoes need.

Continue to fertilize the tomatoes approximately every 3-4 weeks until they are frozen solid.

Tomatoes grown in sandy soil need to be fertilized more often because nutrients quickly leach out of the soil.

Tomatoes grown in heavy, clay soil will retain nutrients and can be fertilized on a less frequent schedule.

One of the easiest ways to fertilize tomatoes is by top dressing. Top dressing tomato plants is a fancy way of saying “apply fertilizer and work it into the soil around an established tomato plant”

Step by step application of tomato fertilizer

Remove the mulch about 4-6 inches from the base of the tomato plant

Three tablespoons of the fertilizer should be enough, sprinkle them at the lower end of the plant. Don’t let the fertilizer touch the plant or it will burn the leaves and stems.

Use a garden hand tool to gently work the fertilizer into the soil. Don’t go too far into the soil or you will disturb the plant’s root system.

Water the tomato plant to allow the fertilizer to start soaking into the soil.

Reapply the mulch around the base of the plant.

What is the best tomato fertilizer?

Providing the correct type of fertilizer for your tomatoes helps your plants maintain healthy growth and ensures a productive growing season. The best method of fertilizing your tomatoes is providing fertilizer before and during the growing season. Knowing the right type of fertilizer for your garden tomatoes ensures they have enough phosphorus and potassium to support healthy fruit production without flooding the soil with nitrogen.

Your soil nutrient value would determine the fertilizer you should use. Before you start fertilizing tomatoes, it’s best to do a soil test.

Make use of fertilizers higher in phosphorus and lower in nitrogen if your soil has high nitrogen, or is balanced. The mixture ratio should be 5:10:10 or 5:10:5.

When lacking some nitrogen, use a balanced fertilizer like 8-8-8 or 10-10-10. If you can’t get a soil test done, unless you’ve had problems in the past with diseased tomato plants, you can assume you have balanced soil and use the tomato fertilizer with the highest phosphorus content.

Avoid using too much nitrogen when applying fertilizers, so it doesn’t result to too many green plants and fewer tomatoes. If you have experienced this problem in the past, you may want to consider simply providing the plant with phosphorous rather than a complete tomato fertilizer.


Tomato plant roots are found primarily within the top six inches of soil. Tillaging your fertilizer into the soil at this depth ensures that you don’t waste fertilizer on the ground where your tomatoes aren’t growing.

Fertilizer applied early in the growing season does not provide enough nutrients to reach the full growth potential of your tomato plants throughout the year.

The best time to apply subsequent doses of fertilizer is when the first crop of tomatoes is one-third the size of the full fruit and is still green.

Applying a subsequent dose of fertilizer about two weeks after harvesting the first fruits and a third dose a month later ensures that your tomatoes can continue to produce abundant fruit.

Types of fertilizers for tomato

Nitrogen helps tomato plants grow strong and bigger stems. On fertilizer labels, nitrogen content is indicated by the first number in the NPK ratio.

Fertilizers that include the word “nitrate,” such as ammonium nitrate, are good sources of nitrogen. Pale flowers and yellowish or light green leaves indicates a deficiency in nitrogen. However, too much nitrogen in the soil will result in large stems and lush leaf growth, but little fruit.


Phosphorus is important for plant root growth and aids in flower formation and fruit set. Insufficient phosphorus is indicated by a purplish hue to the stems and thin growth. It is not generally found in toxic amounts in the soil.

Potassium, calcium, and magnesium

Potassium helps fruit form properly and ripen well. Fruits with a deficiency in potassium would develop poorly.

Magnesium deficiency is common in greenhouse tomatoes and is indicated by yellow leaf veins. Calcium deficiency can lead to bloom rot. Calcium, magnesium, and potassium should be applied in equal amounts so they don’t block the uptake of the other minerals if there is too much of one in the soil.

When to Use Tomato Plant Fertilizers

Tomatoes should be fertilized first when you plant them in the garden. You can then wait until they set the fruit to start fertilizing again. After tomato plants begin to set fruit, add a light fertilizer once every one to two weeks until the first frost kills the plant.

How to Fertilize Tomatoes

When fertilizing tomatoes during planting, mix the tomato plant fertilizer with the soil at the bottom of the planting hole, then put some unfertilized soil on top of this before placing the tomato plant in the hole.

If the raw fertilizer comes into contact with the roots of the plant, it can burn the tomato plant. When fertilizing tomato plants after the fruit has set, first make sure the tomato plant is well watered.

Sarah Williams
Sarah Williams

Sarah Williams is a blogger and writer who expresses her ideas and thoughts through her writings. She loves to get engaged with the readers who are seeking for informative contents on various niches over the internet. She is a featured blogger at various high authority blogs and magazines in which she shared her research and experience with the vast online community.

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