Author: Mr. Guy Sela, CEO of SMART! Fertilizer Management software and an international expert in plant nutrition and irrigation.
The fertilizer requirements of tomato are high and it needs frequent fertilizer applications. The key for growing high-yielding tomato is applying the right fertilizer mixture, at the right rate and at the right time.
For tomato grown in soil, fertilizer recommendations should consider the yield goal, growth stage and field data, such as soil test results, water quality and tissue analysis.
For tomato grown in hydroponics, a balanced nutrient solution has to be applied. The tomato nutrient solution must contain the right rates of fertilizers, considering the nutrients already available in the water.
For optimal growth of the tomato, the right fertilizer has to be applied at the right time, according to the growth stage and phenology of the tomato plant.
Main growth stages of tomato are: Vegetative stage, flowering, fruit-set, fruit growth and harvest. The fertilizer schedule has to be adjusted according to these stages.
In most cases, the tomato grower would use the fertigation technique to apply fertilizers to . Fertilizer properties, such as solubility and compatibility have to be accounted for.
The frequency of fertilizer application, within each growing stage of the tomato, depends on the soil/substrate properties and their water holding capacity.
The tomato has to get an adequate supply of ALL the essential nutrients.
Tomato nutrient uptake rates of the three major nutrients Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium:
|Yield Goal||Nitrogen (N)||Phosphorus (as P2O5)||Potassium (as K2O)|
|130 metric ton/ha (57.2 ton/acre)||*366 (236.5)||*95 (84.75)||*635 (566.53)|
|210 metric ton/ha (92.4 ton/acre)||*540 (481.7)||*138 (123.12)||*937 (835.97)|
* Actual fertilizer application rates must be based on soil test results and water content.