Best Food for Tomatoes - Knowledgebase Question

Howell, MI
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Question by hecmanczuk
June 2, 1998
I was wondering what you thought was the best food for tomatoes? I usually use 5-10-5. I have already given them some of that. Is fish emulsion good for them? What home remedies do you have that you can make to keep the worms off the tomatoes?

Answer from NGA
June 2, 1998
I like to start my tomatoes off by planting them in rich soil. I add lots of organic matter to my garden soil each year, and mulch with an organic mulch which I till under in the fall. I also add compost to the planting hole, and top-dress the soil around the tomatoes with additional compost.

In the spring, I water my growing seedlings and new transplants with a dilute liquid fertilizer. I like to start out with a 5-10-5 at about half strength. Once the plants are well established in the garden, I switch to a combination of fish emulsion and kelp. These add micronutrients to the plant and soil, and are gentle to soil microorganisms.

You'll find that every gardener has a different method! So whatever works for you is the best!

About the worms/caterpillars: You can try covering smaller plants with a floating row cover, to keep pests off the plants. Once the plants are too large for this, hand-picking (yuk!) is about the best way. If you have a big problem with pests, try to identify the exact culprit. Submit another question (via the web site) with a detailed description, and we'll try to help!

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