Are you seeding and growing your own tomatoes? In this post, we’ll tackle and explain how tomato feeding is important to get those delicious tomatoes, select the best soil and fertilisers before harvest.
First, plan your calendar well ahead. For example, see if you’re near or already in springtime.
Second, search and buy good quality compost/soil with plenty of nutrients. Soon after or at the same time buy the tomato seeds so you can start early seeding in small pots.
Third, same as we humans, water your tomatoes often during the seeding stage. Remember to dilute the much-needed well-balanced nutrients when growing tomatoes.
But not so fast, as you’ll not be harvesting tomatoes just yet, you have to think about when and where you’ll grow tomatoes. Is it indoors or outdoors? In containers or greenhouse?
Maybe hanging baskets. All you need to grow tomatoes is preparation, soil, and some tools. Nevertheless, growing tomatoes requires regular feeding and at the same time understanding a few other things.
Read on for more.
Do you need to feed tomato plants?
In short, the answer is yes. Start once the tomato seedlings have germinated, they are going to grow very fast, with an initial burst in growth just prior to their flowering. Or once they reach a half foot or so.
Whether you buy determinate (aka bush) or indeterminate tomatoes, sooner or later they need good nutrients, water, and warm temperatures.
The beauty of feeding and growing tomatoes is that after you feed them for a few weeks, they will return the favour by producing plenty of goodness in the shape of tomatoes.
Like many things in life, give and you shall receive. On average, your tomato plants will produce their first fruits around 45 to 50 days after you plant them in the soil.
You might not know but in total it may take 65 – 70 days before you get to eat your first tomatoes. But beforehand, you have some work to do, which is the feed process.
Which fertiliser should your tomato plant need?
You should buy one that has balanced nutrients – for example go for the ones that contain:
- Phosphorous is vital for the structure and thickening of roots,
- Potassium helps the plant produce flowers and general growth, (found in many compost bags) contain chemical compounds that are very important in fighting some diseases.
- Nitrogen is in charge of taking care of the foliage – be aware that too much nitrogen (see below in balanced feritilisers) creates bushy plants and will deliver little or no fruits.
- Phosphorous is also crucial for the growth and development of fruit. It is therefore an important nutrient in both: the initial and the final stages.
Each supermarket (if they stock fertiliser/compost) and or garden center offers you a range of different brands. The tomato market is widely gigantic in that topic. You’ll find out in the end, that all are very similar which will of course make things less easier for us.
Some of the best ethical brands
Following the previous line and on that note, you can save time and some money if you buy the one I now use, which is Vitax Q4, classed among the top U.K. brands.
The very first all-purpose premium pelleted fertiliser that covers all types of tomatoes and gardens. Is this a good thing? I say it is because you don’t have to buy extra brand fertilisers to feed your tomatoes, fruits, veggies, and/or flowers.
Also saves us quite a chunk of money in the end, especially if you have a plant, fruit tree and lawn.
But before fertilising your tomato plants, you need to know your soil. We don’t want you to make the mistake many of us made. Okay, let’s find out, this soil test kit is fairly easy to use.
Once you have tested the soil, you can apply the Vitax Q4 or any other feed you sourced.
Other great tomato fertilizers to consider:
- Jobe’s Organics vegetable and tomato fertilizer (US market and many countries around the globe)
- Dr Earth organic tomato vegetable & Herb fertilizer ( a 4-6-3 formula)
- Miracle-Gro tomato plant (water-soluble tomato food with an 18-18-21 formula)
One more thing, before you decide which one would be better for you. Make sure it contains vital plant foods and other essential elements for vigorous plant growth and ripening of fruit.
Pick a well-balanced fertiliser in nutrients
Your best bet is to choose a fertiliser that has a well-balanced ratio of the three major compounds, such as 6-7.5-10, or where the middle number (phosphorus) is larger than the first number (nitrogen). Tomatoes usually do like to have soil full of nutrients, if that isn’t the case for you add your favourite fertiliser.
You might want to know that most compost mixtures for tomatoes already include nitrogen, potassium, and other nutrients that are enough to sustain six weeks of growth.
However, from experience, I’d recommend that you buy those that are balanced and contain slow-release fertiliser. Why? You don’t need to overdo it as it will last at least a month and 10-15 days while getting the same effect.
Just remember that after that, you’ll need to feed your plants regularly. Especially young plants, and it doesn’t matter the type of tomato variety. Hanging baskets also need to be fertilised too, but maybe with fewer amounts.
These can either be chemical or organic as they can help provide the extra nourishing compounds that tomatoes need to grow faster.
Important: The feed, good quality soil, sun, and water are ultra important to grow tomatoes.
How to fertilise Tomatoes
You have several options with regard to feeding tomatoes. Just before transplanting the plant out, you can directly apply it at the bottom of the planting hole, then place a good amount of unfertilised soil on top before placing the tomato plant into the hole.
After that just mix the tomato plant fertiliser in a watering can and pour it over.
Be aware: when using raw fertiliser – do not make contact with the roots of the plant, or the tomato main stem as it can burn them.
Tomato feeding instructions:
- Apply 200 g per square meter (6 oz/sq yard) before planting the soil.
- Spread 35 g per square meter (1 oz/sq yard) – as a regular feed on average 3-4 week intervals.
When feeding tomato plants after the blossom of the first fruit, make sure your tomato plants get enough water. If your tomato plants aren’t watered enough before being fertilised, they will suck up too much fertiliser and will eventually burn and die.
After watering, spread the fertiliser on the ground starting approximately 6 inches (15 cm.) from the base of the plant.
When to use tomato feeding?
To prep and grow tomatoes in abundance, you should first fertilise the soil before you begin to transfer them into the garden. Outdoor tomatoes or if you’re growing them in a greenhouse just follow the steps below.
One easy way to remember the feeding time is:
- Wait until the first fruit trusses appear (this tells us that they are growing and thirsty).
- Buy and spread the best fertiliser you find in the market on the
- After the tomato plants start growing several fruits and depending on your soil, add light fertiliser once every one to two weeks.
A tiny tomato guide to help you grow better tomatoes.
A few things to help you keep your plants safe.
Indeterminate tomatoes need cutting and little water once they are fully grown. I did this in a previous season and the result I got was far too much foliage and not enough fruit. Tomatoes are nutritious, colourful and can deliver tasty flavors when you follow the advice and tips described here.
Feeding outdoor tomatoes in containers requires you to give them less fertiliser and some afternoon shade.
Factoids: It is hard to call the tomato plant a fruit. Well, it is called a fruit. The confusion about what the tomato really is called makes no difference to the gardener. Only difference is the varieties you can get nowadays.
How often should you feed and water tomato plants?
Your tomato plants will need little effort from your end. Remember that feeding must happen every 3-4 weeks aftre you’ve water (essential) the tomato plants , allow them to regulate themselves to grow bigger.
I don’t know about you but I initially wondered how to get my tomatoes to produce more fruit all the way to the top. Now it’s easy. Have you wondered or tried to figure it out too?
How to continue caring for tomato plants
Here are some basics rules to keep in mind at all times. As the plants continue their growth you’ll need more compost, cordon, pots or containers, feeding. Read and learn how to continue in taking care.
The things to do:
- Find stakes or canes to support hold and the weight of non-determinate tomatoes
- Protect tomatoes from humidity, frost as it can stop the pollen to do its job
- Place structure in a way that supports the tomatoes as they grow further
- If outdoor shade them in high temperatures when it rises above 85 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and protect them 75 degrees Fahrenheit at night.
To sum up
If you are growing tomatoes and have been struggling with the feeding and growing of tomatoes, you might have some other problems. Could it be the soil? Or you are watering stems etc. But, I promise that if you follow the tips above, experiment, take notes, you’ll most likely be okay.
Bear in mind that to grow quality tomatoes you should place seedlings in rich soil with lots of organic matter and a steady slow-release fertilizer.
Also, tomatoes don’t like many high temperatures and wicked frost either. Though growing tomato plants isn’t difficult, but it does require some attention and care.
Like anything, think of getting a good balance as tomato plants do like a combination of nutrient rich-soil, water, warm sunlight, and quality fertiliser. That is the key to get tomato fruit in abundance.
I’ve learned upon trial and error, reading what gardeners were doing and saying.. These were the most important things for me. I have also found that you need to pick them regularly so that the plant will continue to grow out more fruit.
Happy feeding and hope you’ll get plenty of tomatoes every season!