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How to Feed Tomato Plants

By Kaye Lynne Booth ; Updated September 21, 2017

Tomatoes, which come in many different varieties, are easy vegetables to grow. All varieties of tomatoes have the same basic nutritional needs: humus-rich soil and a steady, even supply of water. Tomatoes are heavy feeders, so the nutrients in the soil must be renewed frequently. Meet their nutritional needs throughout the growing season, in order to produce strong, healthy plants.

Prepare the planting bed about four weeks before last spring frost date by digging in plenty of compost or manure (at least 12 inches), as tomatoes grow best in humus-rich, well drained soil. Add some builder’s sand to the mixture to improve drainage, if needed. Cover with clear of black plastic to draw heat and warm the soil.

Plant seeds in a nutrient-rich growing medium of one half peat moss and one half sterile compost. (Sterile compost can be purchased or made by baking at 180 degrees for 30 minutes.) Use 3- to 6-inch pots and plant 2 -3 seeds per pot, which can be thinned once seedlings are about 4 inches high.

Feed newly planted seeds with compost tea or fish emulsion. Make compost tea by placing one quart of compost in a cloth bag and steeping in a gallon of water for several days. Regularly stir or otherwise aerate to activate beneficial micro-organisms that will help nourish plants.

Transplant seedlings into holes filled with 4 inches of compost mixed with the soil in the bottom. The nitrogen content in the compost will give tomato plants a good start and encourage lush foliage. (Do not feed again until blossoms have appeared, as too much nitrogen leads to lots of lush, green foliage, but little fruit.)

Top dress plants with compost in mid-summer, after plant is well established and in full blossom.

Spray tomato plants with compost tea regularly, once they have fully blossomed.

Feed with compost tea once fruits appear.


Things You Will Need

  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Builder's sand (optional)
  • Peat moss
  • Compost tea or fish emulsion

About the Author


Kaye Lynne Booth has been writing for 13 years. She is currently working on a children's, series and has short stories and poetry published on authspot.com; Quazen.com; Static Motion Online. She is a contributing writer for eHow.com, Gardener Guidlines, Today.com and Examiner.com. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology with a minor in Computer Science from Adams State College.