Tomatoes are one of the easiest garden vegetables to grow. You don’t need a lot of prior knowledge to get going. Their sweet, juicy, aromatic flesh make them favourites with hobby gardeners and people looking to start their own vegetable patch.
Even though they’re relatively hardy plants, they require good soil, adequate watering and the right fertiliser to grow. Your fertiliser can make all the difference between poor or healthy growth. To help you get started, here are some tips on growing a healthy harvest.
Fertiliser is the secret ingredient to healthy tomatoes. But which type you’re going to use depends on the soil you’ve got in place. Balanced soil that contains enough nitrogen and phosphorus is an important prerequisite for strong growth. You can get your soil tested to ensure you’ve got enough of both. If you can’t get a soil test done, a good way to assess soil balance is by monitoring plant growth. When plants turn sickly despite adequate watering and sun exposure, something might not be right with the soil.
When you’re shopping for fertiliser to use on your tomatoes, you’ll be able to choose between organic and synthetic options. As the name suggests, the organic fertiliser is made from natural products like compost. It’s best to look for a fertiliser that contains phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium. Phosphorus stimulates root growth, nitrogen is important for the leaves and potassium promotes faster growth. You can also make your own fertiliser from manure and compost.
Tomatoes are heavy feeders so they need fertilisation in order to keep growing. If you don’t add nutrients, over time your plants will produce fewer tomatoes. The best time to fertilise tomatoes is at planting. This way you’re giving the tomatoes the right start.
Once your plant bears fruits, you should re-fertilise the soil. You can even add a little plant food every two weeks to ensure that the tomatoes keep growing. Don’t add too much as over-fertilisation could damage the plants. By monitoring the growth of your plant, you can usually keep an eye on when they may need a little boost.
During the planting stage, mix the fertiliser with the soil inside the planting hole. You can cover it with a little raw soil before setting the plant. Make sure you spread out the fertiliser properly as the raw chemicals can burn the roots of your plants.
Adding organic matter like compost and manure will improve the drainage. Aside from providing your plants with adequate nutrients, you should also make sure that they’re being watered regularly. Tomato plants need around two to five centimetres of water weekly.