Growing organic tomatoes is a great way to ensure a healthy harvest of fresh and delicious fruit. Tomatoes require nitrogen, phosphate, potash, magnesium, potassium, calcium and other micronutrients in order to be vigorous plants. Along with regular water and warm sunshine, tomatoes should be fertilized several times during the growing season. There are two broad categories of organic tomato fertilizers to choose from, animal-based fertilizers and plant-based fertilizers. A combination of both animal and plant fertilizers will help tomato plants grow to be strong and vibrant.
Cooked and ground bones from meat processing plants are sold as a slow-release fertilizer rich in calcium and phosphorus. Bone meal can be sprinkled on top of the soil after planting or mixed right in the hole when setting new tomato plants.
High in nitrogen, blood meal is a natural, slow release fertilizer that is high in nitrogen and contains essential trace minerals. Blood meal encourages rapid growth in plants. Mix in the planting hole or scatter in soil around the plant.
Fish emulsion is a liquid fertilizer that is created from byproducts of the fishmeal and fish oil industry. Fish emulsion must be diluted in water before using in the garden.
The excrements of grass grazing animals offers many vital nutrients to growing plants. Composted cow and horse manure makes an excellent addition to any garden. Composted manure greatly enhances the health of plants and soil. When animal compost is used as an organic tomato fertilizer it improves the physical structure of the soil and allows the soil to hold moisture while feeding valuable nutrients to the plants. Composted manure can be mixed in with soil or layered.
Alfalfa meal provides nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus to the soil while providing valuable hormones and micronutrients. This organic fertilizer can be purchased as rabbit food or in hay bales. Place three of four cups of alfalfa meal around the perimeter of tomato plants and water well.
Seaweed does not have the rich nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium elements like other organic fertilizers, but it does have over 60 trace elements that help tomatoes thrive. Seaweed fertilizer comes in both liquid as well as pellet form. If you are using the liquid, it needs to be diluted in water and used frequently. Pellets can be sprinkled around the plant and watered.
Grass Clippings and Weeds
Composted weeds and grass clippings are an excellent source of nitrogen. Placing composted grass clippings and weeds around your tomato plants will not only feed your plant nitrogen but will also help the soil retain moisture.
Liquid Fertilizers Versus Granular Fertilizers
- Liquid fertilizers provide immediate food for plants and can be applied to the soil or sprayed on the foliage.
- Liquid fertilizers need to be reapplied after every rain and during dry spells.
- Granular organic fertilizers provide a slow and even release of nutrients.
- Rain pulls the nutrients deep into the ground which is beneficial to the plant.
- The results with granular fertilizers are not immediate.
Where to Buy Organic Fertilizers
If your local garden center does not carry organic tomato fertilizer, then you can easily order it from one of the many sites on the Internet.
- Clean-Air Gardening has a liquid fish emulsion based fertilizer
- Gardener's Supply has slow-release granules available in a bag or shaker container
- Totally Tomatoes has a liquid fish emulsion fertilizer
Organic Tomato Fertilizer Is Necessary
Organic tomato fertilizer is a vital component to an overall organic gardening plan. Tomatoes require extra nutrients, not readily available in the soil, and benefit greatly from fertilizer applied at regular intervals..