Gardening Growing Tomatoes

20 Easy Organic Tomato Fertilizer Ideas for Home Gardeners

As a home gardener, you are always intending to apply organic fertilizer for your tomato plants. There are so many different options for you to pick the right one for your tomato garden. Here I discuss some easiest and the best organic tomato fertilizer ideas for you to choose the right one.

1: Homemade Organic Compost Fertilizer for Tomatoes

Homemade compost is the best, easiest, and the free source of nutrients for your tomato plants.

Making your compost from kitchen waste and other household organic matters is a great nutrient source for tomatoes. A good quality compost fertilizer can fulfill all the nutrients your plants need. This also develops the soil structure. 

Most of all it costs nothing. You just need time, space, patience, and some containers to make it yourself.

Best Ingredients to Make Your Homemade Compost Fertilizer

You need to add three different types of ingredients to your compost bin to make good quality homemade compost fertilizer.

All Types of Food Scraps and Other Organic Leftovers 

You can add any types of fruits, vegetables, and other food scraps to your compost pile for making compost. But adding the following ingredients will make your compost is super nutrient-rich particularly for tomatoes.

  • Banana peel (contains potassium and magnesium)
  • Orange peel (contains nitrogen, potassium, calcium, sulfur, and phosphorus)
  • Potato peel (contains potassium)
  • Different fruits and vegetable scraps (contains essential nutrients)
  • Garlic and onion skins (contains essential nutrients)
  • Crushed eggshells (contains calcium and potassium)
  • Wood ash or other organic ashes (contains phosphorous)
  • Alfalfa meal (contains nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, sulfur and other essential minerals)
  • Grass clippings, weeds (contains nitrogen)

Carbon-Rich Materials

This contains dry leaves, straw, hay, cardboard, wood chips, sawdust or shredded newspapers.

Soil

Soil gets enough bacteria. So put a thin layer of soil on the compost to decompose the ingredients faster.

Water

Water is not essential for making compost. But if the weather is hot and dry then add some water on the compost pile.

Ingredients You Should Avoid to Add Your Compost Pile

Some household ingredients break down slowly, release bad smell, and attract natural critters and pests. So, you should avoid these following ingredients when making your homemade compost.

  • Any types of animal products like meat, bones, fat, skin, or others.
  • Fish leftovers
  • All type of dairy products
  • Animal waste
  • Oil products

How to Make

No matter whatever you put on the compost bin at first chop them into small pieces (less than an inch). This will make faster the decomposing process.

Then do the following things:

  • Take a container as you required based on your garden size.
  • Make some holes at the bottom of the container for a proper drainage system.
  • Then put some shredded dry leaves, cardboard or newspapers at the bottom of the compost bin.
  • After that add all the green items like fruits and vegetable scraps, organic household waste as mentioned above.
  • Next, put a half-inch layer of soil on the green ingredients in your compost bin and cover the top.
  • After 2 to 3 weeks later the layer of the compost gets down a few inches.
  • Then fill the container again following the above method.
  • Leave the container around 3 to 6 months mainly depends on the ingredients.
  • After that, you will get good quality black color compost for your tomato plants.
  • Put a tray under the container from the beginning to hold the liquid that seeps out from the containers.
  • Preserve this liquid fertilizer in a plastic bottle for later use.

How Long Does It Take?

Usually, you should wait around 3-6 months to make good quality compost. It mainly depends on the ingredients you add to your compost bin.

When to Apply

Compost fertilizer releases slowly. So, you should apply compost fertilizer at the beginning of the tomato planting hole.  Add 30% of compost to the overall soil mixture of a planting hole for a good harvest.

Caution

Never use slightly decompose fertilizer because it can kill your plants. When you apply this semi decompose fertilizer to your tomatoes, first it will take time to fully decompose and then feed your plants.

During the process of decomposition, the compost needs more oxygen from the soil. So, your plant roots can’t get enough oxygen from the soil. As a result, your plants may die in some cases.

2. Animal Manure Organic Fertilizer

Animal manure is a good soil amendment and a great source of nitrogen and other essential nutrients. You can find different types of animal manure around you to turn it into good quality composted manure. 

  • Chicken poop fertilizer (NPK Ratio: 1.1-0.8-0.5)
  • Cow manure fertilizer (NPK Ratio: 0.6-0.4-0.5)
  • Horse manure fertilizer (NPK Ratio: 0.7-0.3-0.6)
  • Rabbit poop fertilizer (NPK Ratio: 2.4-1.4-0.6)
  • Goat or Sheep manure (NPK Ratio: 0.7-0.3-0.9)
  • Pig manure (NPK Ratio: 0.8-0.7-0.5)

A nicely composted aged manure (around 6 to 9 months) is highly rich in nitrogen. Besides it also contains some phosphorous and potassium.

If you use too much of this composted manure in your tomato plants, they will produce more leaves than fruits.

So, apply the composted manure as a soil amendment sparingly to your tomato plants.

For the best result add this into the tomato planting hole at the very beginning.

Typically, tomato plants required more nitrogen than phosphorus and potassium at the beginning stage of tomato plant growth.

Besides, add some other compost and fertilizer to your tomatoes which contain more phosphorus and potassium.

Caution

Never use fresh manure to your tomatoes. This may burn or even kill your plants.

3. Alfalfa Meal Organic Fertilizer for Tomatoes

Alfalfa meal is a great organic source of nutrients for tomatoes and other garden plants. Its NPK ratio is 3-0.5-3. Besides it also contains other essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, sulfur, boron, iron, and zinc. This helps to produce more tomato flowers and fruits.

How It Works

Alfalfa meal works faster because it decomposes very quickly. You can also add this to your compost pile to boost up the decomposing process. Besides, it develops the compost quality and adds more nutrients.

As well it develops the soil structure, aeration, and maintain the soil moisture. Moreover, adding alfalfa meal or pellets to your garden soil can protect your tomatoes from root-knot nematodes’ attack. Alfalfa hay is a great mulch for tomatoes.

However, this is a good alternative to blood meal or fish meal for tomato plants.  

How Much Alfalfa Meal to Use Per Plants

Add 4 to 8 tablespoons or quarter to a half cup of alfalfa meal per tomato plants for a good result. Sprinkle it on the ground around your tomato plants just after watering them.

Apply Alfalfa Meal Based On Tomato Varieties

For determinate and early mature tomatoes, you should apply alfalfa meal once in a growing season. This may also depend on the soil quality.

On the other hand, for indeterminate tomatoes, you should apply an alfalfa meal once every 6 weeks throughout the growing season. 

Alfalfa Liquid Fertilizer

You can use alfalfa tea fertilizer for your container and garden tomatoes. Besides, this will be beneficial if you have a dust allergy to alfalfa meal power.

To get alfalfa tea you should add 5-gallon water, 4 cup alfalfa meal, and 2 cup Epsom salt in a container or jug with a lid. Then let the solutions sit and seep for a week.  

After that apply the solution directly to the soil around your tomato plants using a garden water cane.  

Where to Buy

The animal feed store is your best bet to buy an alfalfa meal at a reasonable price. This is mostly because used as animal feed.

However, you can also get them from your local gardening stores or online. Alfalfa pellets perform better than meals for tomato plants and easy to use but the price is a little bit higher. 

Caution                                                                

Tomatoes are acid-loving plants. On the other hand, alfalfa meal turns acidic to slightly alkaline once fully decomposed. So never use too much of alfalfa meal or pellets for tomato plants in a growing season.

You should use face mask and goggles before use alfalfa meal powder for safety reasons.

This may attract natural critters if you don’t preserve it properly in a secured container.

4. Cucumber Skin Fertilizer for Tomatoes

Burned cucumber peel is a great source of phosphorus and potassium for your tomato plants. Its NPK ratio is 0-11-27.

Cucumber skin releases very fast and active into the soil around 2-3 weeks. So, add burned cucumber skin in your garden soil every three weeks later will bring you good results.

Add 2 to 3 cucumber peels per plant.

Typically, tomato plants need more phosphorus and potassium than nitrogen during flowering to the end of the season. So, it can easily provide these basic nutrients supplies to your tomato plants.

You can look for your local restaurants for cucumber skins if they are available.

Besides, you can also save cucumber skins into the freezer. After making a big lot of skins add them to your tomato plants throughout the growing season as you required.

Caution

For determinate tomatoes, you don’t need to add any cucumber peel once they start ripening. On the flip side, you should continue cucumber skin fertilizer till the end of the season for indeterminate tomatoes.

5. Banana Peel Fertilizer for Tomatoes

Banana peel is a good source of potassium and other nutrients for tomato plants. This is a slow-release organic matter that can feed your tomatoes over time. Its NPK ratio is around 0-3-42. Besides it also contains a little amount of calcium and magnesium.

This prevents blossom end rots, develop a strong root system, and ensure healthy blooming.

  • You should first cut the banana peels into small pieces about less than an inch.
  • Then, add 3-4 cut up peels per tomato plants into the planting hole before transplant tomatoes. 
  • You can add more banana peels every 3-4 weeks later throughout the growing season.
  • In that case, add peels in the ground around the tomato plants digging 2-inch deep of the surface layer.
  • You can also dry and store them in a sealed plastic bag for later use.
  • Besides, you can add them in your compost pile for making great compost.

Banana Peels Liquid Fertilizer

  • Take a 2-quart or larger water container.
  • Then cut around 10 banana peels into 1 cm piece and put it into the container.
  • Then pour that container with 1-quart of freshwater.
  • Keep the container in a dark place for 3 days to ferment the liquid.
  • After that strain the blend and get the liquid.
  • Through away the leftovers to your compost pile.
  • Mix 2 cup of liquid in a gallon of water and apply it to your tomato plants once a week.

6. Eggshells for Tomato Plants

Eggshell is a pure organic source of calcium for tomatoes plants. It prevents blossom end rot of tomatoes.

Besides, this can also save your tomatoes from slugs when you sprinkle crushed eggshells around your tomato plants.

The NPK ratio of eggshells is 1.19 – 0.38 – 0.14. Besides, it roughly contains 40% of calcium and some magnesium.

You need around 3-4 eggshells per tomato plant.

Eggshells decompose very slowly. It takes around 1 to 3 years to fully decompose into the soil. The performance of the eggshells mainly depends on how well you grind them.

Therefore, at first, dry them in the sun for a few days. Then grind them into a fine powder before using them.

The best way to add this eggshells powder into the planting hole before transplanting tomato plants.

Besides, you can also add the finely ground eggshells into your compost pile or apply it to your plants through the water.

7. Urine Fertilizer for Tomatoes

Human urine is the ultimate organic fertilizer for tomatoes. Yup, it sounds a little bit wired but makes the best output for your tomatoes at no cost.

The NPK ratio of human urine is around 11-1-2. Besides, it also contains calcium, magnesium, phosphate, and other essential minerals.

How to Use

Add the urine to your compost pile to get the best compost fertilizer or pour on the straw bales.

Besides, you can add this with wood ashes for the bumper harvest of tomato plants.

A recent study found that urine with wood ash can be a great organic substitute for costly chemical fertilizer without any threats of disease. 

You can also use it after diluting with water. 

For garden plants dilute 1-part urine with 10-15 parts of water.

On the other side, use 1-part urine with 30-35 parts of water for container tomatoes.

However, the ratio of the dilution may vary on the soil condition and the plant varieties.

You can also apply it directly to the soil around your tomato plants.

Caution

Never use your urine if you are suffering from any diseases.

Usually, the pH level of urine stays between 4.5 to 8. On the other hand, tomato likes the pH level between 6 to 6.8. So, get the soil test before applying it for a great result.

Never pee on the public. This is illegal.

8. Wood Ash Fertilizer for Tomatoes

Wood ash is the great organic fertilizer cum soil amendment for your garden. Its NPK ratio is 0-1-3. Besides, it also contains calcium, magnesium, and other minerals.

Nevertheless, hardwood produces more nutrient-rich ash than softwoods.

Adding wood ash to your compost pile makes it more nutrient-rich. Besides, adding human urine with wood ash will bring you a great yield of tomatoes. 

Moreover, the salt in the wood ash saves your tomatoes form snails, slugs, and other soft-bodied invertebrates.

Caution

Wood ash makes the soil alkaline. On the flip side, tomatoes like slightly acidic soil. So, get your soil test first before using wood ash. If the soil test report says the pH level range in 6 or lowers then apply wood ash to your tomato field.

9. Coffee Ground Fertilizer for Tomatoes

Used coffee ground is a good source of nitrogen and a wonderful organic soil amendment additive. This is acidic and the average pH level of the used coffee ground is around 6.5 to 6.8.

You can apply it directly to the ground or add to your compost pile for the great result. Its NPK ratio is 2.1- 0.3 – 0.3. It also contains some magnesium, calcium, and other minerals.

The coffee ground produces more heat and holds it overtime when applying to the compost pile. As a result, it kills the harmful germs and seeds inside the pile. For the best output, add 25% of coffee ground in your compost pile of the total volume of compost.

Besides, you can also use coffee ground tea for your tomato plants. To do that, take a 5-gallon container and add 2 cups of used coffee ground on it. Let the tea dissolve into the water for a day.

After that apply this liquid solution to the ground around your tomatoes or container plants. Besides you can also use it as a foliar spray.

There are some other benefits using coffee ground in your tomato field such as-

  • It develops the soil structure and water holding capacity.
  • Feed the earthworms.
  • Deter pests like snails, slugs, ants, and others.
  • Reduce the risk of late blight and other soil-borne fungal diseases.
  • Produce more plant food and oxygen.

Caution

If your garden soil already has enough nitrogen, then avoid adding more coffee ground for your tomato plants. An extreme nitrogen supply for tomatoes will produce leafy plants with fewer fruits.

10. Seaweed Fertilizer for Tomatoes

Liquid seaweed fertilizer contains a little potassium but rich in other helpful minerals, especially for your organic garden.

However, adding this fertilizer develops your tomato plant cells and roots. Make them stronger and disease resistant.  It also helps to control the pest of your garden.

Besides, it produces more flower buds if you apply this during the plants start flowering. As a result, it increases your overall tomato harvest.

You can use this as a foliar spray or add directly to the soil around your tomato plants.

Caution

Seaweed fertilizer contains very little of the basic nutrients. So, you must have to apply additional NPK rich fertilizer to your tomato plants from other sources.

11. Fish Emulsion for Tomatoes

Fish emulsion is a quick-release fertilizer. It contains all the basic nutrients for tomato plants. Besides it also contains calcium, magnesium, and sulfur which helps the tomato plants produce a great harvest.

You can make your fish emulsion fertilizer from the fish leftovers. Besides you can also buy it form gardening stores. In that case, you may find different NPK ratios depends on the brands.

Usually, you should apply fish emulsion fertilizer to your tomato plants every 3 to 4 weeks later. You can apply it to the ground or use it as a foliar spray.

It helps to produce large and healthy fruits. Besides, it prevents blossom end rot of tomato plants.

Caution

Check your soil before applying fish emulsion. If your soil already has enough nitrogen you shouldn’t apply this fertilizer frequently.

However, it also releases bad smell and may attract natural critters.

12. Epsom Salt Fertilizer for Tomatoes

Epsom salt makes the leaves greener, develop a strong root system, increases plant immunity, and produce more flowers and fruits. This is a great organic source of magnesium and sulfur. It releases these two helpful minerals once dissolved in water.

Apply Epsom salt liquid every 2-4 weeks later directly to the ground or as a foliar spray during a growing season.

Caution

Epsom salt is supplementary nutrients for tomatoes. So, you must need to apply the basic fertilizer like good quality compost to fulfill the NPK needs of your tomato plants.

13. Crab Shell Fertilizer for Tomatoes

Crab shell fertilizer composed of the shells of crustaceans, shrimps, crab, and lobster. It is mostly known as a crab meal.

Adding these additives in your compost pile can turn it into good quality compost. Crab shell is a slow-release organic fertilizer. So, it doesn’t burn your tomato plants.

Crab waste contains nitrogen along with calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. Its NPK ratio is about 4-3-0. Besides, it performs better during transplant.

However, sprinkling crab meal around your tomato plants helps to deter snail, slugs, ants, and grubs from your tomato field.

Besides, it feeds the earthworm and helps to prevent tomato root rot, blight, and powdery mildew when adding to the tomato planting hole.

You can easily buy it from your local gardening stores or online stores. Or if you have a large number of crab shells and waste, wash them first and crush them into small pieces and through them into your compost pile.

Caution

Never apply too much of it during the growing season.

14. Bone Meal Fertilizer for Tomatoes

Bone meal fertilizer comes from any type of bones and other wastage of the slaughterhouse. This is a slow-release organic fertilizer and a good source of phosphorous and calcium to your tomato plants. Bone meal has an NPK ratio around 3-15-0.

It helps to produce more flowers and healthy fruits. Adding bone meal with composted manure will make a wonderful organic fertilizer mixture for tomatoes.

Once you apply bone meal to your garden soil it will work around four months. You will find different branded bone meal fertilizer available in the gardening stores or online stores.

Caution

The bone meal doesn’t work if the soil pH reaches 7 or above. So, get the soil test first before adding bone meal to your garden soil.

15. Blood Meal for Tomatoes

A blood meal is rich in nitrogen. Its NPK ratio is around 13-0-0. So, you should apply it at the beginning state of your tomato plant growth for the best result. Never apply this during the plants start flowering or fruiting.

It works around 6 to 8 weeks once you apply it to the ground. You can also use it as a liquid fertilizer.

Blood meal fertilizer is available to your local gardening stores or online stores.

Caution

Blood meal decreases the soil pH level and makes the soil more acidic. So, don’t apply a blood meal to your garden soil if the soil pH is 6 or lower. However, you can balance the soil pH mixing blood meal with wood ash before applying to your garden. 

Too much nitrogen of blood meals may produce a leafy plant and fewer fruits. Besides, it may also burn your tomato plants.

16. Cottonseed Meal Fertilizer for Tomatoes

Cottonseed meal comes out as cotton manufacturing by-products. It contains all the basic nutrients and minerals. The approximate NPK ratio of cottonseed meal is 7-3-2.

This is a slow-release organic fertilizer that makes the soil acidic and good for tomato plants.  Add 6 to 8 tablespoon of cottonseed meal per tomato plants at the beginning of the tomato growing stage.

Caution

Before apply this confirm your fertilizer is Non-GMO and pesticide-free.

17. Blackstrap Molasses for Tomatoes

Blackstrap molasses contains potassium and a good source of micronutrients such as calcium, magnesium, sulfur, and other microbes.

It tastes mildly sweet which increases the sweetness of fruits and produce more flavorful tomatoes. Besides, it helps to prevent some pests and fungal diseases as well as the splitting of tomatoes.

Molasses dilute in the water easily and reach the plant roots earlier. As a result, it can feed the tomato plants faster.

Caution

Extreme application of molasses may burn or kill the plants.

Sometimes grocery store molasses doesn’t work well for garden plants.

18. Bat Guano Fertilizer Tomatoes

Bat guano or manure is a good organic fertilizer for tomatoes. It develops the soil structure, controls fungus, and prevent nematodes in the soil.

You can use it dry or liquid in both ways.  Its NPK ratio is about 10-3-1. But you may also find it with an NPK ratio around 3-10-1.

Get a gallon of water and add a cup of bat poop in it. Let it steep in water overnight. After that strain the solution and apply it to your tomato plants.

Caution

Don’t use too much of it for your tomato plants.

Check the NPK ratio of the fertilizer before applying it.

Never use nitrogen-rich guano during the tomatoes setting flowers and fruits.

19. Worm Casting Tea for Tomatoes

Worm casting tea is a balanced nutrient solution for your tomato plants. It contains all the necessary nutrients and minerals for tomatoes. The NPK ratio of worm casting is around 5-5-3.

It develops the soil structure, soil aeration, and increases the water-holding capacity of the soil. Besides, adding too much of this worm casting tea doesn’t burn your plants.

Put 1 cup of worm castings in a bucket and fill it with 5 gallons of water. You should wait around 2 days or until the water changes its color. Then get the tea and apply it to your tomato plants.

20. Leaf mold compost

Leaf mold is a free natural soil amendment. It develops the soil structure and holds the soil moisture longer. It may contain different soil nutrients depend on the type of leaves.

You can use this as mulch for tomato plants. Besides you can also use this as an additive of your potting mixes. 

Caution

Leaf mold increases soil pH and makes the soil acidic. So, check the soil pH before adding this to your tomatoes.

It takes a longer time to make good quality compost around 12 to 18 months.


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John Michael
John Michael is a self-help writer and a hobby gardener. He has a bachelor's degree in Library Science. Michael’s passion in writing is to inspire the beginner gardeners to not just “hang in there” or “make it through” but to thrive. He does this through blogging at ofags.com. He began writing in 2017.

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