How to Grow Tomatoes in Sandy Soil

Overview

Growing tomatoes in sandy soil can be a bit difficult. This is because sandy soil cannot hold water and nutrients well, making it a tough environment for tomato plants. If sandy soil is a problem in your area, you can improve the soil by working compost into the garden bed. Compost increases soil density and nutrient levels. Fertilizing thoroughly is also important when dealing with sandy soil. Giving the plants the nutrients they require will help them produce healthy fruit.

Step 1

Work the top 6 to 9 inches of soil with a hand tiller, loosening the dirt and removing stones and loose roots. Spread a 3-inch layer of compost on top of the garden bed and mix it into the soil with the hand tiller.

Step 2

Scatter 3/4 cup of lime and 1/2 cup of 8-8-8 fertilizer for each tomato seedling onto the soil. Work it lightly into the dirt with the tiller.

Step 3

Dig holes that are about twice the depth and width of the seedlings' root balls. Space the holes 1 1/2 to 2 feet apart.

Step 4

Mix up a solution of one gallon of water and 4 tbsp. of 8-8-8 fertilizer. Place each seedling into its hole and pour a cup of the fertilizer mixture into each hole before filling it in with dirt.

Step 5

Cover the garden bed with a layer of straw to lock in moisture.

Step 6

Water the tomato plants each morning, soaking but not saturating the soil.

Step 7

Side-dress each plant after it has started to set fruit. Dig a shallow circular trench around the base of the plant (4 to 6 inches from the stem) and sprinkle 2 to 3 tbsp. of 8-8-8 fertilizer into each trench. Repeat this process every four to six weeks throughout the growing season.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand tiller
  • Compost
  • Lime
  • 8-8-8 fertilizer
  • Straw

References

  • Texas Gardener: Growing Tomatoes Organically
  • North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service: Growing Tomatoes for Home Use
Keywords: sandy soil tomatoes, growing tomatoes, fertilizing tomatoes, improving sandy soil

About this Author

Katie Leigh is a freelance writer and editor based in Chicago. A Loyola University New Orleans graduate with a Bachelor's degree in communications, Leigh has worked as a copy editor, page designer and reporter for several daily newspapers and specialty publications since 2005.