Choosing the Right Fertilizer For Tomatoes

Tomatoes rely on regular supplies of macro nutrients like nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K), making the selection of an appropriate fertilizer essential to plant growth, flowering, fruiting, disease resistance and soil health.

Water-soluble fertilizers dissolve quickly and are easy to use with standard watering methods. Jobe’s Plant Spike can provide months-long slow release of nutrients after being placed around tomato plants at planting time.


Tomatoes are heavy feeders and thrive best when their soil is rich and well-amended. Organic matter such as compost and manure add structure to the soil, helping it retain more water during wet periods and drain more rapidly in dry ones, while providing micronutrients and inviting earthworms into the mix with their droppings. Composted cow manure in particular serves as an ideal balanced fertilizer that encourages both root development and fruiting at once – two hallmarks of success for tomatoes!

To use compost as fertilizer, dig in an abundance of it when planting time arrives. For even more nutrients, cover the bed surface with a thick layer of mulch such as chopped leaves or grass clippings or even newspaper shreds to repel weeds while also slowing decomposition for consistent nutrition throughout the growing season. Doing this will also help regulate soil temperature by keeping temperatures consistent while helping provide steady supplies of essential elements throughout their entire growing cycle.

Garden fertilizers typically provide all three essential plant nutrients: nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P), and potassium (K). Aim for a ratio such as 3-4-6 or 4-7-10 to ensure your tomato plants receive sufficient amounts of these essential elements.

Nitrogen provides essential fuel for green leafy growth, while phosphorous fosters strong roots and potassium ensures fruit-bearing plants. Too much nitrogen fertilization, however, can result in lush but ineffective plants; to avoid this scenario it is wise to monitor closely your plants and stop fertilizing once fruiting starts occurring in earnest.

Organic and conventionally manufactured synthetic liquid tomato fertilizers are widely available on the market, offering easy use. Liquid formulas work quickly, needing frequent applications. Drip irrigation or cone spike systems work great with liquid fertilizers for application, providing low and slow nourishment that won’t wash away in wet weather. One drawback with liquid formulas may be their quick acting properties that need frequent applications to stay effective.


Tomatoes appreciate organic manure as it provides essential micronutrients. Organic manure may be added directly into the soil before planting or purchased as a granular form and sprinkled around. When applying manure directly, make sure it’s thoroughly mixed in so it doesn’t pile up on any stems or leaves of your plants.

Chemical fertilizers can also be an excellent option for tomato plants. Most synthetic all-purpose fertilizers contain only nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). When purchasing chemical feed, look out for three numbers on the package that represent how much of each component there is in each feed product. For optimal growth results, look for fertilizers containing not only all three primary nutrients but also additional secondary ones like iron, magnesium, sulfur, zinc and copper.

When selecting fertilizers for tomatoes, be sure to read their labels thoroughly. Many tomato plant fertilizers contain high levels of nitrogen for rapid vegetative growth; however, too much nitrogen could cause the plants to focus solely on foliage rather than producing fruit. When selecting one at the beginning stages of tomato plants‘ lives such as a 10-10-10 fertilizer.

If using commercial fertilizers, make sure that they have been watered before applying them as too much liquid fertilizer will saturate their roots and burn themselves.

For optimal results, fertilize tomato plants once weekly during their growing season. Be sure to water and mulch after fertilizing to retain moisture in the soil. When using liquid fertilizers, be sure to spray from 6 inches (15 cm.) away to avoid overly saturated leaves and stems with fertilizers; when applying granular organic or synthetic fertilizers strew evenly around tomato plants then cover them with soil before watering immediately afterward to carry nutrients deep down into their root systems.

Liquid Fertilizers

Tomatoes are heavy feeders that need extra nutrients in their environment to thrive, whether that’s through adding compost mix to the soil, liquid fertilizers such as organic worm tea or commercial tomato plant food, granules or slow release fertilizers added directly into planting holes, or spread on top of ground afterward – these methods of application each carry a risk of overfertilizing or burning your plants; so read and follow all product instructions closely when applying these treatments.

When choosing a liquid fertilizer, choose one containing all three macronutrients — nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) — at the rate recommended by its manufacturer. Nitrogen helps the plant develop thick stems and foliage while P promotes flowering and fruiting while K supports healthy root development for better weather resistance in tomatoes.

Organic liquid tomato fertilizers generally include macronutrients as well as other ingredients like kelp meal, seaweed extract and yucca root to promote beneficial soil life, helping your tomato plants to absorb its essential nutrients more readily. As a result, these liquid fertilizers offer a rich, nutrient-dense mixture to promote healthier tomato plants throughout their growing seasons.

For an in-depth approach, make your own liquid organic fertilizer by mixing together organic matter such as compost, kelp meal and blood meal with coffee grounds, egg shells and pet/human hair – this will also help deter pests. Once mixed, pour it over the soil or containers full of tomato plants before watering them according to manufacturer instructions.

Use Jobe’s Plant Spike Tomato Fertilizer as it’s easily applied at planting time and will continue providing nourishment as it slowly dissipates into the soil. Other products come in granule form for mixing into soil at planting time or adding directly into watering bottles and drip/cone spike systems for easier watering methods for tomatoes such as drip watering or cone spike watering.

Biological Fertilizers

Tomatoes require a steady intake of nutrients in order to grow into giant fruit-bearers. Organic fertilizer provides slow release micronutrients more easily absorbed by roots than synthetic alternatives; plus it keeps soil rich and healthy, creating the ideal growing conditions for tomatoes.

Home gardeners frequently utilize composted manure as a fertilizer for tomatoes in the early stages of growth, providing your tomato plants with powerful yet slow-releasing nutrition for their first four to eight weeks in the ground. Mixing in some worm castings adds even more long-term nourishment for your tomato plants.

Based on your soil test results and planting season, it may also be wise to supplement your planting with liquid fertilizer. Although not essential, using the appropriate type can increase tomato success. There are two forms of liquid fertilizers: either pure liquid from a bottle, or granular forms that dissolve easily in water (think Kool-Aid!) that can be applied directly onto the soil surface.

An effective fertilizer contains three primary macronutrients — nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Nitrogen stimulates leaf growth while phosphorus and potassium support overall plant health and flowering. Balance between these three elements in your soil is critical for producing healthy vegetable crops, and one way of measuring their levels is with a soil test – easily accomplished at most garden centers or from home using kits available from them. Soil testing will enable you to identify which nutrients are depleted from your soil, as well as which ratio of synthetic all-purpose fertilizer you should purchase. Typically for tomatoes, choosing one with lower nitrogen levels first before supplementing it with higher concentrations of phosphorous and potassium will promote flowering and fruit production.

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