The Q&A Archives: Soil For Tomatoes

Question: I have gone too long with the same soil for my raised garden tomatoes...and my production suffered last year. An urbanbite, I have no access to the good "black earth" I knew as a child. How do I go to the garden center and buy a variety of sacked "soils," fertilizers, etc., mix them and come up with proper soil for tomatoes?

Answer: The best thing you can do to improve your soil is add plenty of organic matter such as compost. You can buy compost in sacks or make your own. Spread a 4-6 inch layer on top of the soil and dig it in to a depth of 12-18 inches. At the same time, add either an all-purpose fertilizer such as 10-10-10 or organic fertilizers such as fish emulsion (nitrogen), bone meal (phosphorus) and kelp (potassium). Or, you can purchase a fertilizer formulated especially for tomatoes, if available. Follow package instructions for amounts. It's best to add organic matter before every planting season. And, it's also important to rotate where you plant crops every year so crop-specific diseases and insects don't have a good chance to build up in the soil.

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