Gardening Growing Tomatoes

When to Fertilize Tomatoes – 7 Helpful Tips

Tomato plants need a lot of nutrients to produce fruits. Too much and too little fertilizer both are harmful to your tomatoes. So, they need to schedule fertilization and water supply.

Most of the beginner gardeners become confused when to fertilize tomato plants. Besides how many times and which part of the day is best for fertilizing tomatoes is very important.

So, keep reading to find the answers you are looking for.

1: When to Fertilize Tomatoes

Your tomato plants should be fertilizing at different stages of their plant’s growth. But first of all, you must get the soil test. This is very important to identify the exact nutrients deficiency and determine the proper fertilizer ratio.

Fertilize Soil Before Planting Tomatoes

After getting the soil test report make a proper fertilizer mix based on that report. Then add the fertilizer mix at the bottom soil of the planting hole.

Next, add a layer of infertile soil over the fertilizer mix and place the plants on it.

This unfertile layer of soil keeps away the plant root to contact the fertilizer mix at the very beginning and prevent root burning.

Fertilize Tomatoes After Planting to Before Flowering

After transplanting tomato plants, you should wait at least 2-3 weeks to fertilize them again. At this time, your tomato plants will set on the container or ground and recover the plant stress. Then again you can apply granular or liquid fertilizer to your tomatoes.

In that case, the fertilizer ratio will depend on the soil test report. And no one can tell you the exact fertilizer ratio without having the soil test report. So, go get the soil test with a kit from your local gardening store before fertilizing your tomatoes.

Besides the fertilizer measurement and time also vary on the tomato varieties, plant growth, and if you grow them in containers.

Apply Fertilizing Tomatoes During Setting Flowers and Fruits

Tomato plants need more phosphorus and potassium-rich fertilizer during they setting flowers and fruits. Besides, you should also apply some calcium, magnesium, and Sulfur fertilizer for a better harvest.

Once the tomato plants start flowering and producing fruits fertilize them every 2 to 3 weeks later, based on the plant’s performance. For container tomatoes, you need to feed them every week with a little.

2: What Is the Best Part of The Day to Fertilize Tomato Plants

Morning is the best part of the day to fertilize tomatoes. There are several reasons you should fertilize your tomatoes in the morning than other parts of the day. Such as –

  • Temperatures become cool in the morning.
  • Morning is the best time to water tomato plants.
  • Water helps the necessary elements of the granular fertilizer reach quickly to the roots of the plants.
  • You can also apply liquid tomato fertilizer through watering.  
  • It reduces the risk of fertilizer evaporation and wind loss.
  • Your plants become stress-free of midday head and absorb the nutrients easily.

3: When to Apply Liquid Fertilizer for Tomato Plants

Liquid fertilizers are very effective for tomato plants especially container tomatoes. But never apply these liquid fertilizers at the same time you transplant tomato plants.

Once you move your tomato plants from small pots to the large containers or in the ground, some root hairs will damage.

In that case, if you apply liquid fertilizer right after transplanting tomatoes, this will directly reach the roots including the broken points. As a result, this will burn your plant roots and causing further problems.

So, apply liquid fertilizer at least two weeks after transplanting tomato plants.

4: When to Feed Tomato Foliage

Some folks say foliar fertilization can be useful in the evening. But I never encourage you to do that. Plants only uptake water at night, not the nutrients.

So, morning is the best time for tomato foliar fertilization as ground fertilizing.

Besides foliar spraying with water-soluble fertilizer in the morning get enough time to dry out before evening. This also saves your plants from fungal infections.

5: When to Apply Slow-Release Fertilizers for Tomatoes

Slow-released organic fertilizers are ideal for the home gardeners. They last longer in the soil, develop the soil structure, and reduces the risk of root burning.

These fertilizers will take around 3-10 weeks to start feeding your tomato plants. So, they need a longer season.

Therefore, if you want the best output from these slow-released organic fertilizers apply them in the spring so that they can feed the plants during the summer.

On the flip side, if you apply them in the fall, they will start releasing nutrients during the winter. As a result, you won’t get the best result of it.

6: When to Apply Fast-Release Fertilizers for Tomatoes

Fast-released fertilizers work quickly and won’t last long. When you need to feed your tomatoes instant then you should apply these fertilizers. Besides it also good for the short growing season.

So, once you need to fertilize your tomatoes in fall you should go for fast-released fertilizer.

7: How Long You Should Fertilize Your Tomatoes

You should fertilize your determinate tomatoes until they start ripening and change their color. But once they start ripening, they no need to fertilize anymore.

On the other side, you should continue fertilizing your indeterminate tomatoes until the end of the season.

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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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