Every gardener needs to learn how to add calcium to soil for tomatoes to ensure they are healthy fruits free from disease that hinders growth.
Have you noticed any small, water-filled patches at the bottom of the juicy red tomato that widened and turned into a dark patch? On touching, did you notice how they give you a sunken and leathery feeling? This tomato is suffering from blossom end rot – a common disease that prevents the proper growth of the plant.
This disease occurs due to a lack of calcium; therefore, it is vital to know the importance of adding calcium to plants.
Importance Of Calcium For Tomatoes
A healthy plant blossoms in rich soil. Tomatoes require an adequate supply of calcium, nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium for them to thrive. Adding calcium to the garden in its soluble form is easy and enters the roots of your plants, making it easy for their absorption.
There are several reasons why you will need to add calcium to your garden before growing tomatoes. They include:
- Calcium is a macronutrient used quite as much as nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous.
- It is the macronutrient of plants.
- It’s crucial to give proper health to plants and be involved with so many functions in plants, from appropriate cell wall formation to fruit production.
Plants need calcium throughout their growth period since it’s used in so many processes in the plant. Therefore, the ideal time to add calcium to the soil is throughout the plant’s growth period. Of course, you can’t keep on adding calcium to your garden soil; but the time you add depends on you.
How To Add Calcium To Soil For Tomatoes
Test Your Soil
Before planting your tomatoes, it is advisable to conduct a soil test to know what nutrients are present and which ones are missing. You can test the soil at home to determine the presence of macronutrients and soil acidity. Calcium deficiency is revealed when soil is tested in a laboratory. In extreme cases, you can get professional help to get advice on how to add calcium to your soil for tomatoes.
Add Ground Limestone And Gypsum
Lime and gypsum work well together and are good sources of calcium. To increase calcium in your soil, add limestone by spreading it all over the soil. Use a machine or hands to mix the soil and get it ready for planting. Both lime and gypsum are coated with molasses, which is an excellent source of calcium. The ground gypsum has inbuilt salt making it an excellent source of calcium. Gypsum can have a lasting effect on the soil with nutrients like magnesium, copper, phosphorous, and zinc. It should therefore be used in controlled amounts.
Soluble fertilizers can be a good source of calcium for tomatoes. Other fertilizers like soft rock phosphate are naturally rich in calcium and intended for tomatoes used. You can add these fertilizers when tilling it. For tomatoes, be careful not to disturb their roots when giving the plants fertilizer. Give them a one-time application of half a cup of 8-8-8 granular chemical fertilizer. If using organic granular fertilizer, use only 1 cup of 5-5-5 per plant. Mix this fertilizer with the top 8 inches of soil along with lime before planting your tomatoes.
Yes, you heard it right! Eggshells are rich in calcium and can be added to the soil. Grind them into a fine powder before integrating them into the soil. Unlike limestone, it must break down into the soil before the plants use it. The breakdown process might take a few months. This method remains one of the simplest and easiest methods to provide calcium to tomatoes.
Use Calcium Spray
You can spray the tomato leaves as a way to add calcium to these plants. And the most significant thing of all is you can make this spray yourself. Simply your choice of calcium solution to a gallon of water. Shower or drizzle the solution once or twice a week when the flowers are set to bloom. Ensure the spritz reaches the fruits too.
Water Your Plants Thoroughly
Water is the number 1 source of calcium. An inch of water per week is required for the growth of juicy and calcium-rich tomatoes. You can use rain or irrigation water to water your tomatoes. Note that these plants love to be deeply watered throughout, or else shallow watering will not improve the situation. Ensuring you have provided your plants with adequate water is essential to provide calcium and feed the plants.
When you use any of the methods above, your plants will not suffer blossom end rot. Pot-grown tomatoes are more prone to catching this disease than garden ones. So ensure you supply enough calcium to the potted plants too.
What Happens When You Add Calcium To Soil For Tomatoes Early?
It is the best time to add calcium to your soil as it will begin to work and stabilize the soil before planting your tomatoes. If your soil has a Ph level of 6.5 to 7.2, it is acidic and needs to be supplemented with lime. You can also add dolomite lime to improve the level of magnesium in the soil. If you forget to add lime early in the fall season, don’t worry; you can still add it in the spring season at least 2 months before planting tomatoes.
What Happens When You Add Them Late?
If you notice you are late to add calcium to the soil, it’s best to add it late than not at all. However, don’t wait until it’s too late because it will not work. Adding lime can be a great solution to eliminate the acidity of the soil. 3/4th cup of lime is enough for each plant.
Now, you are well informed about how to add calcium to tomato plants; it’s high time you do so. To prevent the tomatoes from suffering from the blossom rot disease, ensure you add calcium to your soil at the right time.
When your soil is well enriched with the right amounts of nutrients, you can now thrive in your tomato farming.