Tomatoes are one of the most popular plants grown in home gardens because fresh homegrown tomatoes have a better flavor and can be a money saver. Tomatoes are heavy feeders and tend to need a lot more amending of the soil to care for than other plants.
The good news is that there are many great things you can do to help your tomatoes grow and thrive in the garden. From ensuring that they are getting enough sunlight and water to adding in some common soil amendments, every step you make can help build a successful tomato garden.
Why Soil Additives are so Important for Your Tomatoes
Tomatoes are very heavy feeders. They love acidic soil and need large amounts of calcium to thrive and produce healthy fruits. Because of this, most garden soil on its own can not sustain tomatoes in their optimal growing environment.
You will need to play with additives to help your tomatoes grow and thrive. To help decide what additives your soil needs, you can test your soil PH levels.
Common Soil Additives and What They do
When it comes to giving your garden an advantage, you can make use of common items sold in the garden section, as well as items you have around the house or in your kitchen.
Adding these things to your soil is a great way to make the most of your garden’s potential.
Compost is the best additive you can use to feed your garden. This applies to tomatoes and every other plant in your garden and should be standard for every garden bed you own.
Mix several inches of compost into your garden beds every year for the best results.
Epsom salt is a popular soil additive for tomato plants because it contains magnesium and sulfur. Both of which are used to help tomato plants absorb the calcium they need to grow a strong, healthy crop without issues like yellowing leaves and blossom end rot.
Many gardeners use Tums, the calcium-based antacid, as part of their gardening additives for their tomato plants. This is because Tums are calcium-based and break down easily to release that calcium into the soil.
This is an easy option for your tomatoes if you notice issues like blossom end rot and need to act fast with what you have on hand already.
Eggshells are filled with calcium and make a great addition to the garden for multiple reasons.
Washing and crushing your eggshells into small chunks is a great way to help deal with slugs and snails, as well as other ground insects in your garden because the sharp edges will cut and dry out the insects. As the eggshells break down, they will release calcium into the soil that your plants can use.
If you need this breakdown to move faster to improve your soil quickly, you can simply turn your eggshells into powder using a coffee grinder. This powder will break down very quickly in the garden to nourish your plants.
Many gardeners use coffee grounds that have already been used as a garden additive for acid-loving plants like tomatoes and blueberries. Used coffee grounds are a great addition to your garden soil if you need to raise the acidity.
Many coffee shops collect these coffee grounds and leave them for free to be used by customers in their gardens as part of an initiative to be more environmentally friendly.
Keep in mind that while acid is vital for your tomatoes, you also need to keep an eye on your soil to be sure that it has enough calcium as well. Test your soil PH levels before adding coffee grounds. You can always compost them if your soil is not in need of them yet.
Gardening lime is fairly inexpensive and readily available in most gardening sections. This simple and effective additive is used to increase the calcium levels in your garden and help fix common issues like blossom end rot. Simply sprinkle into the garden and water to help it move into the soil.
If your soil is not acidic enough, you can get another common additive in the garden section, sulfur. Sulfur can be applied lightly and your garden watered in the same way as lime for a quick way to increase your soil acidity.
This is a great quick fix for yellowing leaves of your tomato plants if the soil PH level tests as too alkaline.
Banana peels are a great soil addition in the garden providing potassium that helps keep your plants strong after being attacked by insects.
Place cut-up banana peels right into your garden with your tomato plants to give them a boost that will help them stand strong while recovering from an infestation of leaf miners, aphids, or hornworms.
Following these tips, you will know which soil amendments will benefit your tomato plants during their growing season. Knowing about these common soil amendments can help build a successful tomato garden so you can enjoy a bountiful supply of tomatoes to harvest.
And for more tomato growing guides, be sure to read these next: