Trying to find the best fertilizers for tomatoes can sometimes be a difficult task. There are so many different fertilizers on the market just for tomatoes, the decision for choosing the best one is like finding a needle in a haystack.
The good thing about fertilizing tomatoes is they don’t really require that much fertilization if the soil is amended with plenty of organic matter to begin with.
There are items in your home right now that make great tomato fertilizers. That’s right – items that you normally throw away can be used as an excellent homemade tomato fertilizer.
If you want to save a few dollars on buying tomato fertilizer and supply your tomatoes with the most organic fertilizer ever, just make it yourself!
Ingredients of the Homemade Tomato Fertilizer
Here’s what you’ll need to get started making your own homemade tomato fertilizer:
A good, high quality finished compost will be the base of our homemade tomato fertilizer.
Pet and Human Hair
Pet (cat, dog, ferret, guinea pig, etc) and human hair is a fantastic material for using in tomato fertilizer.
Hair contains keratin which is a valuable protein. Hair contains good levels of nitrogen, sulfate and small traces of other minerals. Hair takes time to break down, which makes it a good slow-release fertilizer.
Crushed Egg Shells
Crushed egg shells are fantastic to add to tomato fertilizer because they contain good amounts of calcium. Calcium can be important in preventing blossom end rot.
You want to bake saved egg shells in the oven for a few minutes to dry them out. This helps to crunch them up into very small pieces.
Used Tea and Coffee Grounds
Used tea and coffee grounds are a good source of potassium and phosphorus, and low-levels of nitrogen.
It’s a good idea to place the used grounds on a baking sheet and place in the oven for a few minutes to dry them out. It’s much easier to work with them when dried out.
If you have a fireplace do not throw those wood ashes away! Wood ash is a great source of potassium and other trace minerals.
Dried alfalfa leaves, or alfalfa pellets are a great organic additive for tomato fertilizer. Alfalfa contains a growth hormone and is commonly used on roses to promote growth and beautiful blooms. It can also be used on tomatoes as a superb fertilizer.
You can typically find alfalfa pellets at feed stores as feed for rabbits. Some pet stores may also carry it – just make sure it’s 100% alfalfa.
Speaking of rabbits, their manure is an excellent source of organic matter. Rabbit droppings is probably the best animal manure you can use.
One awesome advantage to using rabbit poo is it will not burn plants. Rabbit poo has a N-P-K rating of 2.4-1.4-.6 which means it has good levels of nitrogen and phosphorus, but low enough not to burn plants.
Recipe for Homemade Tomato Fertilizer
My recipe for homemade tomato fertilizer is not steeped in scientific methods and calculations. I want to keep it pretty simple where you can throw the fertilizer together in a hurry without needing a lab to do it.
I mentioned earlier that compost is the base for the tomato fertilizer, and it’s the component you will need the most.
To make about one gallon of the homemade tomato fertilizer you will need:
- one gallon, or larger, container such as a bucket
- 1/2 gallon of compost
- 2 cups of rabbit droppings
- 1/2 cup of human & pet hair, cut into small pieces
- 2 cups of dried alfalfa leaves or alfalfa pellets
- 1 cup of dried, crushed egg shells
- 1 cup of used, dried tea or coffee grounds
- 1 cup of wood ashes
First, place the 1/2 gallon of compost in the container, add the rabbit droppings and hair. Use a short wooden stake or something to stir the ingredients until they are well incorporated.
Add the alfalfa leaves (or pellets), the crushed egg shells, the coffee and tea grounds, and the wood ash. Mix ingredients again until well incorporated.
That’s it! Pretty simple, eh?
Using the Homemade Tomato Fertilizer
Once you have the homemade tomato fertilizer mixed up and ready to go there are many ways that you can use it. The way that I like to use it most is when transplanting the tomato seedlings into the vegetable garden.
Once I dig the hole for planting the tomato, I use the homemade tomato fertilizer mix to re-fill the hole, then water it in well. Doing this makes sure that all the organic goodies contained in the fertilizer reach where it’s needed most – at the roots of the tomato plant!.
I may make another batch of the homemade tomato fertilizer again a few months later, when the tomato plants begin setting fruit, to add as a side dressing to each tomato plant and water it in well.
You can also turn this recipe into a liquid tomato fertilizer by straining the ingredients in a bucket of water much like making compost tea. Use the liquid for weekly feedings of the tomato plants.
If you can’t find all of the ingredients that are listed in the recipe it’s no sweat! Use what you have and in any way that you want and you will be fine. The beauty of this fertilizer is everything in it is completely organic and natural, so you can’t mess it up!