Nutrients for Tomatoes

Nutrients for tomatoes and tomato feeds

Over the years I’ve been able to try out many different types and brands of nutrients for tomatoes and products for growing tomatoes generally.

Companies send me free stuff to try out, in the hope I’ll promote their products on my website. 😉

When I visit a trade gardening or growing exhibition I come home with bags full of samples of the latest and greatest nutrients and additives etc., that are supposed to make plants grow better than ever!

However good these products may be, most are expensive and don’t really justify the extra expense for the slightly improved results (if any) the products produce. Also, they mainly benefit plants growing in greenhouses in ideal conditions.

Since I started growing tomatoes, I think I have used almost every tomato food on the market in the UK, including most of the hydroponic nutrients and additives/boosters.

Balanced nutrients for tomatoes

It is my view that value nutrients such as Wilco’s Liquid Growmore (NPK-777) or Liquid Plant Feed (NPK-555) are perfectly good for tomatoes before they begin to fruit.

Balanced feed nutrients for tomatoes
There is a reduction on Growmore at the moment!

 

Combined with Tomorite or Chempak’s Standard Tomato food, will be good enough to produce excellent results if used correctly.

nutrients for tomatoes

 

Along with these general balanced feeds and a tomato feeds, I recommend extra magnesium and calcium. For mag and cal, see last week’s newsletter or photo below.

calcium and epsom salts for tomatoes

The above should give you all you need to produce an excellent crop growing in soil under most conditions.

Organic feeds

If you want to go down the organic route, try liquid seaweed, chicken manure pellets and Miracle grow organic fruit and veg plant food.

organic nutrients for tomatoes

Of course we can spend a small fortune on our plants, only to get wiped out by blight at the end of the summer!

This season I’ve been singing the benefits of self watering planters which include the Quadgrow and Oasesbox.

Combine self watering planters with blight free tomato varieties such as Crimson Crush and Lizzano, and you will have a blight free and blossom end rot free summer. Blossom End Rot is much less of a problem when plants have access to moisture and nutrients 24/7.

Jobs right now

Remove lower leaf branches

The lowest leaf branch or two, is usually too near the soil and most likely curled and yellow. It’s best to remove it to increase air flow around the lowest part of the stem.

Remove side shoots on tall varieties

It’s funny how easy it is to not see side shoots until they are huge … side shoots can be left to develop in to a second stem but this is only practical when growing cherry varieties (for outdoors in the UK).

Plant support

I usually start my plants off with cane supports then support the main stem of tall varieties with string.

When to start feeding

There is a lot of flexibility and opinions concerning when to start feeding!

The traditional advice is to feed (tomato feed) as soon as the flowers set and show small pea-like tomatoes.

This is good advice for bush (determinate) varieties but for tall indeterminate plants I like to start feeding tomato food after the second truss begins to set.

When the first truss begins to set I give my plants a general balanced feed – see above. This helps give more energy to develop the higher trusses.

Tomato food may be thought of as a finishing feed, to bring tomatoes and plants to maturity. We don’t want them to peak too soon – before they have developed the upper trusses.

That’s it for this week – we’ll soon be eating our own tomatoes!

Regards,
Nick

See also feeding tomatoes

 

9 Responses

  1. andy j fairclough
    | Reply

    Hi Nick,I have been using the Quadgrow system along with the recommended Nutri Grow fertiliser from Greenhouse Sensation for the last 3 seasons with great results.No BER and other usual problems noticed.The first season using the Quadgrow and Nutri Grow i noticed better quality fruits,a slightly higher yield compared to my potted plants fed with Tomrite.It would be good to know if any other readers have used this and what their results were.

    • Nick
      | Reply

      Hi Andy,
      Thanks for the information about Nutri Grow. It could be that it’s the Quadgrow that improves the quality and yield rather than the Nutri Grow, plants in ordinary pots without a reservoir are at a disadvantage.
      It would be good one day to make a comparison in the same summer.
      Regards,
      Nick

    • Rhys Jaggar
      | Reply

      Andy

      I have not used Nutri Grow with my Quadgrow, but I did use comfrey tea last year after fruit set was complete to promote fruit growth in late July/early August. The result was fairly spectacular, although I would only use one treatment as a second treatment caused the main stems to want to lie down. I still had the best Zenith crop ever – 5lb vs 3 lbs when growing four trusses for shows.

  2. David Clarke
    | Reply

    Just picked my first tomato (Red Alert) and more coming. Good advice on nutrients and feeding tomatoes. Just bought 1kg of Empsom salts calcium carbonate on eBay as cheaper way of buying.

    • Nick
      | Reply

      Hi David,
      Your toms are well advanced – Red Alert is a fantastic variety for earliness and taste!
      Good idea about eBay.
      Cheers,
      Nick

  3. Margaret Patteson
    | Reply

    Thank you Nick for all this information

    • Nick
      | Reply

      You are very welcome Margaret 🙂

  4. Rhys Jaggar
    | Reply

    First fruit now set on late Feb sowings (dozens on both Red Alert and Maskotka) and March sowings (a few on Tigerella and Super Marmande).

    Flowers on March Black Russian and Alicante too.

    For me feeding starts this weekend as food in compost starts to deplete in plants potted out 14-22nd May. For those planted out 31st May I will wait until the solstice.

    As an interesting side note, the plants I sowed 24th April now have formed first trusses, first appearing around six weeks after sowing. They are being grown in a Quadgrow to give them the best chance of rapid growth and fruit maturation. The aim is a crop maturing in Sepember, following my main sowings aimed for harvest from late July onwards. The target is four trusses, with tops chopped off no later than August 1st.

    I must say I find that tomatoes do very well with liquid seaweed and tomorite. Each season I learn something from your comments about how to time these feeds, integrate them and modify doses through the fruiting cycle.

    • Nick
      | Reply

      Hi Rhys,
      Sounds like your plants are coming along very well – it’s great to see the flowers set and and tomatoes begin to swell.
      I learn something each season too because, like you, I enjoy experimenting!
      Nick

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