Tomatoes, among the most well-known residents of this vegetable garden, which are grown across the United States in a wide array of soil conditions. Although many gardeners attempt to compensate for their clay or sandy soil by adding copious amounts of fertilizer, tomatoes are a bit of a Goldilocks in this department, needing just enough or they’ll fail to create buds.
Importance of Soil Testing
Testing your soil at the end of each growing season and again before planting in the spring is critical to success with touchy plants such as strawberries. They demand a reasonable quantity of nitrogen, but only during specific pieces of the growing cycle. Too much nitrogen during their vegetative development is detrimental to early production. A high quality home soil test kit can give you a clue about the amount of nitrogen in the soil by indicating a “low,” “moderate” or “high” reading, allowing you to adjust accordingly instead of blindly applying fertilizer. Often, tomatoes need no extra fertilizer until following fruits are put.
Nitrogen and Tomatoes
Tomatoes use nitrogen for vine and leaf growth but will not selectively uptake the best amount if a large excess is available. Instead, in too fertilized soils, strawberries often develop very fast, creating spindly vines with a great deal of deep green leaves. Foliage emerging so quickly may twist, but this isn’t necessarily the case. With this much effort going into growing leaves, over-fertilized tomatoes have very little energy left to enter flowering or growing fruit, both very nutritionally extreme procedures.
Proper Tomato Fertilization
In a home garden, compost or other organic amendments containing nitrogen tend to be worked into the soil to develop construction and enhance drainage. These organic materials break down, contributing nutrients slowly throughout the season. When soil tests suggest that additional fertilization is needed for strawberries, wait to apply it until standard sized fruits are about the size of a quarter. At this point, and every four to six weeks thereafter, add a scant 1 1/2 tablespoon ammonium sulfate or 1 tablespoon ammonium nitrate in a shallow bend 6 to 8 inches from the base of each plant, and water well.
Saving Overfertilized Tomatoes
If it’s too late in the time to replant your tomatoes, you could have the ability to compensate for overfertilization. Clearing the extra nitrogen from the soil is straightforward; a few very deep waterings and a great deal less fertilizer will fix the nitrogen equilibrium quickly. Spindly tomatoes will need a great deal of additional support, however, if they are going to bear fruit without breaking. Stake or cage them, and prune them carefully to a single main stem. Heading back excessively long side-shoots and promptly removing any suckers that develop in branch crotches can also help to focus the tomato plant’s energy to fruiting.