There are many tomato fertilizers available in stores. But what for? Do tomatoes really need a special fertilizer? We show why tomato fertilizer is so important.
The tomato ( Solanum lycopersicum ) is the vegetable most commonly eaten in the USA and many fertilizer manufacturers offer special tomato fertilizers. But does the fertilization of the plant in the home vegetable garden really need such attention? We answer this question with the most important information about tomato fertilizer.
The following paragraphs deal with the question of why a special tomato fertilizer makes sense and what it can consist of. We also explain the advantages and disadvantages of different types of tomato fertilizers.
Why do tomatoes need a special tomato fertilizer?
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Compared to many other vegetable plants, tomatoes have a high nutritional requirement: In comparison, they require more potassium (K) and less phosphorus (P), and nitrogen (N). The three main nutritional elements N, P, and K are required by tomatoes in a ratio of around 10: 3: 20. But this is not unique in the plant kingdom, there are other types of vegetables, such as peppers ( Capsicum ) and broccoli ( Brassica oleracea ), which love a similar nutritional composition.
In order to cultivate good yields and healthy plants, the number of nutrients offered should not deviate too much from the optimum. Otherwise, the consequences could be as follows:
- An excessively rich supply of potassium or magnesium can lead to blossom end rot in tomatoes. Too little supply leads to poor drought resistance, dead leaf edges, and yield losses
- Heavy nitrogen fertilization leads to too many leaves but reduces the fruit set. Too little nitrogen fertilization will reduce the yield
- An insufficient supply of phosphorus causes the roots to suffer so that the water supply is insufficient to ensure good growth
Fertilizing with a special tomato fertilizer is the safest and easiest way to prevent both deficiency symptoms and diseases. But that doesn’t mean that tomato fertilizers are completely unsuitable for fertilizing other vegetables. Many other vegetables can be supplied with the nutrients in tomato fertilizer, such as:
- Celeriac ( Apium graveolens Rapaceum )
- Broccoli ( Brassica oleracea )
- Potato ( Solanum tuberosum )
- Paprika ( Capsicum anuum )
What is tomato fertilizer made of?
A tomato fertilizer is characterized by the above nutrient weighting. The nutrients can be offered in different forms, depending on whether it is a mineral, organic, organic-mineral, or organic fertilizer. All of these forms of fertilizer contain the nutrients required by tomatoes, but the form of fertilization has a huge impact on how well it can be used. You will now find out exactly where the differences are in the following.
Tomato fertilizer in comparison
The perfect tomato fertilizer has to be able to do more than just provide nutrients for your tomatoes. An environmentally friendly, low-odor fertilizer would be perfect, which at the same time keeps the soil healthy so that it can optimally provide the tomato plants with natural supplies. We have the services of the fertilizer types for you.
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Mineral tomato fertilizer
Like all mineral fertilizers, such a tomato fertilizer also contains all nutrient ions crystallized out as salt. The concentration of nutrients is high and the prices are often quite low. The very quick availability can help with acute deficiency symptoms. Some mineral tomato fertilizers are offered with long-term effects in order to minimize the amount of fertilizer required. It does not contain any organic components and other micronutrients are also missing unless otherwise stated.
Mineral fertilizers release nutrients depending on the soil moisture, which is why there is a risk of leaching and over-fertilization. The sole use of mineral fertilizers, therefore, leads in the long term to the loss of important soil qualities such as water storage capacity, nutrient buffering, rooting, and aeration. This is because these are strongly influenced by the humus content of the soil. Since humus shrinks with mineral fertilization alone, we do not recommend this type of fertilization. Added to this is the partly destructive and energy-intensive production that does not rely on recycling and sustainability but on the extraction of partly finite fossil resources.
Organic tomato fertilizer
Like all organic fertilizers, such a tomato fertilizer also contains nutrients in organically bound form. This means that the nutrient ions are in complex and naturally grown structures. They have a delayed effect: After being made usable by microorganisms in the soil, availability for the plant roots follows. At the same time, soil fertilization takes place, which benefits the soil organisms – and, in the long term, the soil qualities already mentioned above. Micronutrients are contained in traces so that a deficiency of these important elements is prevented. Organic (tomato) fertilizers are made from animal or vegetable material and are therefore a recycling product. Unfortunately, production from animal waste is still the norm. So if you are critical of commercial factory farming, it is best to look out for purely vegetable fertilizers.
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Organic tomato fertilizer
Organic fertilizer is a kind of organic-mineral fertilizer. The focus is clearly on the organic side and the mineral components used can also be used in organic farming. Organic tomato fertilizers have all the advantages of organic fertilizers and the few mineral components make the respective nutrients available more quickly. Defects in the organic raw material can also be compensated for. Even living microorganisms can be included to revitalize very poor soil. Organic tomato fertilizer is based on purely vegetable raw materials from the food and beverage industry and therefore has no unpleasant odor. We rely on producers who demonstrably operate ecologically.