Tomatoes are one of the staples in most plant-based cuisine. However, just knowing where to get them isn’t enough. If you want to have a steady supply of fresh and naturally produced tomatoes, you must also know how to grow them yourself.
When it comes to planting, composting is one of the key factors. If you’re struggling to make compost on your own, then don’t worry. We have prepared some of the key components you can take into account to help you make the best compost for tomatoes.
The rise to vegan and organic dining had people thinking where their food is coming from – a questioned answered by the Farm-to-Table movement. With that, it’ll be less of a worry for you if you planted your own fruits and vegetables.
At the very least, you get to be sure that your food won’t contain any harmful chemicals and insecticides.
Tomatoes thrive under the sunlight. In fact, they require 8 hours of direct sunlight, that is why you must place them in a strategically sunny area. They also need lots of water and aerated soil. The area must also be full of nutrients and fit for planting.
When working on the soil, include composting materials like peat moss, well-rotted manure, or leaf mold. Tomatoes grow well in soil with a pH level of 6.5 to 7.0 which is nearly neutral. You may add lime to achieve the desired acidity level.
Every plant requires a different combination of elements that will work best for them in terms of fruit yield or blossom. Fertilizers are composed mainly of three key elements: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K).
Each of these elements contributes to the fruit yield, size, plant height, and the number of branches.
One of the things you should not include is urea and ammonium nitrate in your fertilizer as they can be toxic to the seedlings. Aside from that, they may also cause plant injury when placed in close proximity to the plant.
Various key elements serve a purpose in your compost, and the elements that make up your compost will determine its composition. They’re as follows:
- Vital for plant cell growth and function
- Part of the chlorophyll component that creates the green pigment in leaves
- Speeds up the growth of shoots and buds
- Results in higher fruit yield and bigger fruit size
- Regulates protein synthesis for the plants
- Allows the plant to produce strong roots, rich foliage, and plenty of flowers
- Aids in photosynthesis and the plant’s intake of carbon dioxide
- Increases your plant’s resistance to drought and temperature changes
- Increases resistance to insects and pests
- Produces fruits that ripen evenly
- Serves as the energy source for the entire process of decomposition
- Can be taken from wood and paper inclusions
- Must work hand-in-hand with nitrogen in order to be processed properly
- Can be included through soil aeration
- Used for producing carbon dioxide
- Insufficiency of oxygen will make the process anaerobic, thereby limiting microbial activity and causing odors
Trace Minerals (Calcium, Iron, Boron, Copper, etc.)
- Aid greatly in microbial processes involved in decomposition
- Act as supplements for the main components to ensure good results
- When beginning the compost, a pH rating between 5.5 and 8.5 works best
- A controlled pH encourages the growth of mold and fungi
- Assists in the breaking down of cellulose linings
You can do your composts indoors and in your backyard depending on your space availability. However, you might wonder: why is there a need to compost?
The answer is pretty simple. Composting offers a handful of benefits aside from reducing your garbage and lowering your carbon footprint. It does the following as well:
- Reduces your use of synthetic and chemical fertilizer
- Gives you a specific disposal area for your biodegradable garbage
- Allows you to customize the nutrient composition for each plant you grow
- Produces a healthier yield due to the reduced artificial/ synthetic content
- Encourages the natural growth and production of fungi and bacteria that aid in the production of humus, a nutrient-rich material you can use for all your plants
Given the ratio of nitrogen: phosphorus: potassium, we have this to consider in the attempt to make the most effective and best compost for tomatoes. Generally included in a compost are as follows:
General Compost Inclusions
- Avian waste (poultry droppings)
- Animal waste (horse, pig, cattle droppings)
- Browns and Greens/ agricultural waste (dead leaves, grass cuttings, twigs, selected vegetables, and fruits)
Inclusions to Avoid
- Synthetic fertilizers or additives
- Dog and cat poop
- Fish and meat scraps
- Non-biodegradable material
Note: Refrain from including onions and citrus peels to your compost! Yes, they are biodegradable, but they contain chemicals that can kill microorganisms. As a result, they end up delaying the entire decomposition process.
In conclusion to a study conducted in 2013, this information contains the nutrient composition of avian waste, animal waste, and agricultural waste. The following data was published by the European Center for Research Training and Development.
Avian waste has considerably higher nitrogen (N) content, lowest phosphorus (P) content, and highest potassium (K) content out of the three.
Animal waste has the lowest nitrogen (N) content, highest phosphorus (P) content, and the lowest potassium (K) content.
Meanwhile, browns and greens have the median content for all three elements.
With this in mind, the study concludes that a higher nitrogen content should be considered in order to create the best compost for tomatoes. The compost may still include the general inclusions, but you can add a little bit more of poultry droppings for that nitrogen boost.
Things to Remember
Now you know what is basically needed in making the best compost for tomatoes, here are a few more tips and tricks to keep in mind:
- Keep the compost moist
- Avoid non-biodegradables
- Avoid leftovers and foul-smelling waste that may attract pests
- Situate the compost pit in a shady area
- Cover the pit
- You’ll know it is ready to be used once the material becomes a rich and dark-colored mush
- It takes time and may take anywhere from months to years, but it’ll be worth it
Hopefully, the information above will help you know what you need in order to make an effective compost for your tomato plants. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.
As always, thanks for reading, and don’t forget to share this information with your gardener friends!