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.
Combined with Tomorite or Chempak’s Standard Tomato food, will be good enough to produce excellent results if used correctly.
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.
The above should give you all you need to produce an excellent crop growing in soil under most conditions.
If you want to go down the organic route, try liquid seaweed, chicken manure pellets and Miracle grow organic fruit and veg plant food.
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).
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!
See also feeding tomatoes