Soil temperature is very important in growing tropical plants like tomatoes so instead of having tomatoes just sitting in the ground waiting for the warm weather local farmer van wysong has had his growing in a greenhouse until now that it's warm enough. Before Van does any planting he fertilizes the ground he will be planting in. A common mistake is to feed a tomato just like any other garden vegetable. Because too much nitrogen on a plant in its early stages will grow a massive plant and actually work the root structure so hard that it has a hard time producing tomatoes. Van mixes all his fertilizer for different crops. van puts together a special granular fertilizer mix with low nitrogen, high phosphate and pot ash along with a handful of trace elements of boron and magnesium and he adds pelletized lime to fight blossom end rot. You can buy these separate elements at your local farm store to mix up yourself. Here's van's fertilizer mix...
He uses a quart can...
1 can of -5-10-10
2/3rds of a can of phosphate - 0-46-0
1/3rd of a can of pot ash- 0-0-60
1 can of pelletized lime
1 can of gypsum
So after Van marks off his rows 6ft apart he then takes his granular tomato fertilizer mix and sprinkles on a foot on either side of that fertilizer string. He sprinkles it in alittle heavier than you would salt on your eggs. He then takes the tiller and tills that in about 6 inches. Next he puts back that row string and digs a hole every thirty inches. He then puts in each hole about a quart and a half of liquid fertilizer. So why use liquid when we just put down granular fertilizer? the granulated fertilizer is not available for the plant at this time. It will take awhile to break down by moisture before the plant can use it. So the liquid fertilizer is available for the plant as soon as you put it in the soil. The liquid fertilizer though only lasts about a week but by then the granular fertilizer will start being available. once the water soluble fertilizer soaks in you can put the tomato in the hole and fill the hole and tie the tomato to a stake. Later you will put a cage on the tomato. Finally cover the ground with mulch. Mulch will stop disease spores from splashing up on the plant.
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