Just about every tomato grower has a secret weapon for growing those perfect tomatoes. There are just about as many different methods that people use to grow tomatoes as there are tomato varieties.
Organic gardening methods have brought about many homemade tomato fertilizers and techniques – not to mention the plight to be more frugal.
Here are eight strange things that I have used, seen, read, or heard about for fertilizing tomatoes. Some of these are fairly common in vegetable gardening, while there are a few that just seem plain weird.
While egg shells are mostly used to help bolster calcium levels in the soil, it is a strange thing when you think about it.
Most people collect egg shells that are left over in the kitchen, and then give them a quick bake in the oven to dry them out. The egg shells are then broken into small pieces and added to the hole when planting the tomatoes.
They can also be broken up and added around the base of the plant after the tomato plants have grown some. Many gardeners believe adding egg shells helps with blossom end rot.
Human and Pet Hair
Keratin is a valuable protein that helps tomatoes establish strong root systems. Hair breaks down slowly, which makes for a great slow release fertilizer. Just plop a tuft of hair into the hole when planting and you are on your way.
Vacuum Cleaner Fluff
You know – that stuff that comes out of the vacuum cleaner bag. It makes for some good tomato fertilizer. The stuff that your vacuum sucks up is full of nutrients that come from hair and dead dust mites. All good stuff for your tomatoes.
Tums are not really a fertilizer, but it has been used to help boost calcium in the soil. I have heard of people dissolving Tums in water, and then pouring it around tomato plants. Personally, I have never tried this and prefer to raise calcium levels ,if needed, in other manners. It is an interesting idea though.
Used Coffee Grounds
Coffee grounds have long been regarded as a common fertilizer and mulch in the garden. Just take some used coffee grounds and place in the microwave or oven to dry out. The dried grounds are easier to spread than when wet. Coffee grounds are great for suppressing weeds as well.
Used Tea Bags
Used tea bags have a similar effect as coffee grounds – they are a great fertilizer and mulch around your tomatoes. Make sure to remove the tea grounds from the bags, and dry out like with the coffee grounds, before using in the garden.
Including the bones, too! Put fish scraps and bones in a blender and puree. Combine two cups of the puree with water and one cup of milk for a supercharged fertilizing concoction. The ground-up fish scraps will provided some powerful nutrients, while the milk will provide disease control.
Yes, human urine. There have been studies that show human urine is a superb fertilizer for tomatoes and most other vegetables. Urine is an exceptional source of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphate – the key nutrients in any fertilizer. Fresh human urine is sterile and therefore bacteria free (unless you have a urinary tract infection, at which time you should not use urine as a fertilizer). It might be a great fertilizer, but I don’t think I’m peeing on my tomato plants any time soon.
What unusual items have you used or heard of to fertilize tomatoes?