I have not used any fertilizer on my tomatoes this year
except added composted manure on top around base of
plants after planting.
I have several on the vine - green. Is there a fertilizer I
can use now to help them along?
I'm a firm believer in fertilizer using Miracle Grow liquid 12-4-8, and any granular 10-10-10. Suggest using either one of those or both.
isn't that a lot of nitrogen?
You can use any fertilizer you want. There are literally 100s of brands available, both organic and synthetic. It is a personal choice. Just get one that has micro-nutrients as well as the N-P-K.
I don't believe it's too much nitrogen. My plants are large, dark green, with lots of tomatoes. Just really healthy productive plants. I have one plant in a self-watering container, and put a full cup of fertilizer in the top of it at the beginning of the season. That plant is 6 feet tall and loaded with tomatoes and blossoms.
I've heard that fertilizer high in nitrogen this time of year can cause blossoms to drop. I've also heard going with a root n bllom this time of year is the best thing to use. For example, I use a Morbloom product that is 0-10-10 that is supposed to really boost the roots thereby supporting more blooms and fruit. I received this advice from some veteran gardeners, but I guess it could be way off.
I'm always for balanced with higher potash. Keep in mind "excess nitrogen" and similar statements have a lot to do with the soil properties, ie if your soil is very rich in nitrogen any fert with N might be "excess". But for most purposes, something like 10-10-15, 19-19-24 etc. will usually do the trick, as long as one follows given instructions (speaking of synthetic ferts). I've used 14-11-25 for the whole last season on both container and ground plants, and without knowing whats in my soil. All did very well.
As for organics, the risk of going into extremes in terms of excess nutrients is less likely because they take a relatively long time to be available to the plants (as the Soil Food Web slowly digests them). Nevertheless it doesn't mean one can just add bone and blood meal, manure etc. to whatever extent.
Is anyone familiar with the statement "P doesn't move," regarding phosphorous? I have read of large operations that do not bother to include P in their fertigation efforts, because it won't move past the immediate area where it comes out of the drip line. So I wonder, if I am dumping buckets of a product like Miracle Grow around the plants, is the P within the fertilizer a complete waste of time? I also have a heavy clay, and if P is immobile in anyone's soil, it would be in mine.
That might be why in MG liquid 12-4-8 the ratio of N-P-K is 3-1-2, with P being only 1 part. The same with Foliage Pro liquid 9-3-6. Same ratio.
The whole statement should be "P doesn't move easily", to which i might add that clay doesn't help much either, but it isn't immobile per se, and definitely not a complete waste of time (and money).
I can't talk about MG since I'm not in the USA and we don't have it on market here, but from info i've found on the web, MG Tomato fertilizer has NPK ratio 18-18-21 (http://www.scotts.com/smg/catalog/productTemplate.jsp;jsessionid=EBDF99277B61A13B7B8506D2B6F3F028?proId=prod70358&itemId=cat70048&tabs=usage).
Different plants require different nutrients. From my knowledge of tomato nutrient needs, a 12-4-8 is not really intended for tomatoes, which of course doesn't mean it can't be used on them. If i knew my soil lacks nitrogen but has enough P and K, i'd probably be using it as well. But if you don't know your soil properties or if you are growing in containers, 12-4-8 wouldn't give you as good results as that 18-18-21 would IMO.
debcoo2229 - back to your original question. If you planted at a normal time for zone 6 and you have not fed your plants anything to date then I would say they are long overdue for some sort of feeding and that they would benefit from ANY fertilizer at this point, including some nitrogen because it is so volatile. If nothing else make some composted manure (since you have it) tea and feed the roots with it.
Regardless of the type or rating of the fertilizer used, tomato plants do require some sort of supplemental feeding during the season. If your plants are in the ground then a common routine is to feed them after first fruit set and then at 6 week intervals. If they are in containers then weekly feedings or at least every 2 week feedings is usually recommended.
If you are trying to grow organically then there are many commercial brands available. If you don't care if it is organic or not then there are even more brands available. And in the long run it makes little difference which brand or what it's N-P-K ratings may be. What is important is that they do get fed something.
There are endless debates over which is the best brand and which NPK rating is best or worse. Some will swear Miracle Grow is the greatest thing since the wheel was invented and just as many folks wouldn't use the stuff if they were paid to use it.
Some will swear that a high P level is mandatory if you want to get fruit and just as many others will claim that since it is very rare to find low P soil, none is needed in fertilizers and using a fertilizer with P in it only contaminates the ground water with run off. True or not, it is one reason why so many manufacturers are now reducing or even eliminating the phosphorus in their fertilizers.
The point is, all those debates aside, unless you have your garden soil professionally tested and discover that it is high in all the basic nutrients and well-endowed with micro-nutrients, your plants will need to be fed something to do well. So you just pick one and follow the directions on the label.
Agree 100% with Djole.
In my region (7a), now is the time to supplement with fertilizer relatively high in POTASH. This is recommended to spur more fruit developement.
We use Tomato Tone Organic........3-4-6....which I apply once every 4 weeks. Every 2 weeks, I apply organic seaweed as a boost as well.
LOVE this hobby !!!!!!!!
I fertilize my tomatoes as recommended by my state agricultural university after they have done a test of my garden soil.
This year, consistent with prior years, they determined I had a deficiency of nitrogen, a surplus of phosphate, and a near toxic level of potassium.
So, they told me how much nitrogen I should add when I planted, and a schedule of how much additional nitrogen I should add, and when, through the gardening season.
They also tell me every few years I should add X amount of sulfur to reduce the pH of my garden soil.
I believe this is a better approach than having someone from 3000 miles away, who has no clue where I live tell me to put some fertilizer that works for him to dump it on my garden when he has no clue where I am or what my garden needs.
From now on, I will not recognize, or offer advice to people who refuse to provide their location.
Algoflash, for tomatoes or flowering veg works great,here's mine at one month old. But be very careful if you switch to some high-powered blooming stuff, like I just did, and now I'm worried that I may've over done it with my hose end sprayer and the 2-45-28 Kool Bloom guess I'll know in a few day....not looking good! Should have let them alone. Bummed in Bama
Agree with BubbaEarly that Algoflash Tomato Formula works unbelievably well. Formula is 4-6-8 plus a long list of micronutrients. But IMHO it's too expensive for general use, so I don't switch to the Algoflash until the first blossoms start to set.