Producing a bumper crop of juicy, flavourful tomatoes is a summer highlight for any gardener. However, providing your plants with the right nutrition is essential to achieve such a harvest.
This article explores the nutritional needs of tomato plants, types of tomato feed, reviews of popular brands, and even how to make your own. These feeds will generally help all tomato varieties, whether you are growing in pots, hanging baskets or using a greenhouse.
What Nutrients do Tomatoes Need from a Feed?
Like all plants, tomatoes require a balanced supply of macronutrients and micronutrients to thrive. The primary macronutrients are Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K).
Nitrogen promotes lush, green growth, phosphorus supports strong root development and flowering, while potassium aids in fruit development and overall plant health. Additionally, calcium is vital to prevent blossom end rot, a common tomato affliction.
While needed in smaller quantities, micronutrients such as iron, manganese, and zinc also play vital roles in plant health and fruit production.
Though some of these nutrients may be present in your tomato soil, a good-quality feed will boost them.
Types of Tomato Feed
Tomato feed typically comes in two forms: liquid feed and granular feed. Liquid feed is diluted in water and used to water the plants, providing immediate nutrition.
Granular feed is mixed into the soil and releases nutrients slowly, providing long-term nourishment.
Do Tomato Feeds Really Work?
There can be some scepticism around the effectiveness of specialised tomato feeds, especially given their additional cost compared to general-purpose fertilisers. However, numerous studies and years of gardening experience have shown that tomato feeds can indeed make a significant difference. After writing this article, I decided to create a split test next season. I’ll grow two identical crops with and without feed so we can see the difference – I’ll update this post when I have a comparison.
Tomato plants have specific nutritional needs, particularly high demand for potassium as they set fruit. Tomato-specific feeds are designed to meet these needs, typically providing a higher ratio of potassium to nitrogen and including other essential nutrients for healthy tomato plants.
Many gardeners report healthier plants and more abundant, tastier fruits when using tomato feed compared to a general-purpose fertiliser. So yes, tomato feeds work and can be a worthy investment for anyone serious about growing a successful tomato crop.
Best Tomato Food Brands and Reviews
Gardeners have trusted several brands for years. Here are some top picks n(I’ve included some links to Amazon if you want to buy, I will receive a small commission):
- Levington Tomorite: This concentrated liquid feed is a favourite among many gardeners. It’s high in potash (potassium), which boosts fruit quality and helps resist disease. Users report robust plants and bountiful harvests when using Tomorite.
- Westland Big Tom: Westland’s Big Tom provides a mix of nutrients with an extra potassium boost for bigger, tastier tomatoes. It also includes a wetting agent to ensure that the feed is well-absorbed. Many users have found Big Tom to deliver excellent results.
- Chempak: Chempak’s Tomato Food is a balanced feed that promotes strong, healthy growth. It’s a soluble formula that can be used as a foliar feed and a root drench, making it versatile and effective.
- Doff: Doff Tomato Feed is another concentrated liquid feed, rich in magnesium and other trace elements. It aims to promote vibrant, healthy plants and a better yield of tomatoes. Users appreciate its ease of use and positive impact on their tomato crops.
How to Make Your Own Feed with Comfrey Leaves
If you’d prefer a natural, homemade solution, comfrey leaf feed is an excellent choice. Comfrey is high in potassium, making it perfect for tomatoes.
To make the feed, fill a container with comfrey leaves, compressing them down. Cover with water, then leave it steep for several weeks until the leaves break down. The resulting “tea” will be a potent, nutrient-rich feed. Dilute it until it’s the colour of weak tea before using it, as it can be quite strong.
Feeding your tomatoes properly will significantly affect their health and productivity. Whether you choose a trusted brand or make your own, the right nutrition will help you achieve that bumper crop of delicious tomatoes.
Brian Sheridan has an allotment in Edgbaston and is a competitive grower. Brian is also a keen photographer and loves cooking. Brian and his wife Mary will also be running a stall at Edgebaston artisan market this year, selling products made from the allotment, including his award-winning relish!