How to Fertilize Established Tomato Plants


Tomatoes are a staple in many home vegetable gardens. They are productive plants, with most varieties producing a steady harvest from mid-summer until the first fall frost kills the plant off. Like many summer vegetables, tomatoes thrive best if properly fertilized once established. In mid-season, when the plant is beginning to flower and set fruit, much of the starter fertilizers worked into the soil at planting have been depleted. Fertilizing in the middle of the growing season gives the tomatoes the boost they need to produce a bountiful supply of fruit.

Step 1

Dig a 1 to 2-inch deep hole in the soil approximately 6 inches away from the tomato plants stem once the plant begins flowering and setting fruit. Fertilizer must not come in direct contact with the plant as it can burn and damage it.

Step 2

Measure out and place 2 tbsp. of 10-10-10 analysis fertilizer in the hole. Repeat the process for each plant, then fill in the holes with soil.

Step 3

Water the plants thoroughly after fertilizing. This leaches the fertilizer into the soil around the roots so the tomatoes can immediately begin benefiting from the feeding.

Step 4

Repeat the fertilization every four to six weeks throughout the rest of summer and until the plants stop producing or succumb to frost.

Tips and Warnings

  • Over fertilizing can be more damaging to plants than under fertilizing. Avoid additional feedings beyond what is recommended for the tomatoes.

Things You'll Need

  • Spade
  • Fertilizer


  • North Carolina Cooperative Extension: Growing Tomatoes for Home Use
  • University of Missouri Extension: Growing Home Garden Tomatoes
Keywords: fertilizing established tomatoes, feeding tomato plants, vegetable gardening

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.