Looking for a way to get those struggling tomato plants in your garden to grow bigger and better?
This has been a rough year for quite a few folks when it comes to gardening. And especially for those who love to grow tomatoes.
Many gardens have been inundated with excessive rain and flooding. And many more have struggled with cooler than normal temperatures, along with a serious lack of of sunlight.
All of which, of course, are certainly not ideal conditions to grow a banner crop of tomatoes.
But if your crop happens to be lagging behind a bit, or simply not growing at all, don’t give up hope just yet.
First and foremost, there are still plenty of growing days left in the season to get that crop turned around.
And, as July & August settle in with warmer temperatures, with a few little extra tips, you can have your tomato plants growing like wild before you know it!
The Secret To Turning Around Struggling Tomato Plants
At the mid-season point, the fastest way to get struggling tomato plants to perk up is to provide them with a supercharged boost of nutrients. One that can be applied several times over the course of a short, 15 day period.
Plants that have been depleted of nutrients from saturating rains, or suffered from a lack of warmth and sunlight now need a heavy and steady dose of nutrients to jolt them into growth mode.
And the best way to do that is by using an all-natural liquid fertilizer. Liquid fertilizers are the fastest acting of all fertilizers.
They provide nutrients to plants in two quick and powerful ways:
One, via a plant’s root system as the liquid fertilizer leaches into the soil. And two, through a process known as foliar absorption, which is a plant absorbing nutrients directly through it’s leaves.
A One-Two Punch Of Nutrients To Power Weak Plants
If you have struggling tomato plants, here is a great way to revive them with a powerful two-prong approach:
#1 Mulch / Side Dress With Compost & Worm Castings
Before applying a liquid fertilizer, begin by mulching around each plant with a mixture of compost and worm castings.
Place a few shovel-fulls of compost around the main stem of each tomato plant. Along with it, mix in a cup of worm castings to the compost as well.
When complete, you should have about a 2 to 3″ thick mulch ring about 6 to 8″ in diameter around each plant. All Natural Worm Castings
The heavy mulching / side dressing of nutrient-filled compost and castings will help to insulate the plant’s roots from the hot summer sun.
But more importantly, it will soak additional nutrients into the root zone area every time you are applying the liquid fertilizer.
And if you haven’t already, now is the time to be prune the bottom of your tomato plants. See : How To Prune Tomato Plants
Not only will it help make this process easier, it will help your plant’s overall health and vitality as well.
Creating An All Natural Liquid Fertilizer To Help Struggling Tomato Plants
There are some very good all-natural organic fertilizers on the market that are perfect for creating home-made liquid fertilizers.
One of our favorites is Jobe’s Organics Plant Food Mix. It can simply be mixed with water and poured onto plants from a watering can or jug.
But you can also create your own powerful liquid fertilizer from either fresh compost (compost tea), worm castings, or a combination of both!
Compost tea is one of our favorite go-to liquid fertilizers.
To make, place fresh compost in a 5 gallon bucket about 2/3rd’s of the way from the top.
Fill with water, and stir a few times each day over the course of a few days. Then simply strain and use. You can discard the remnants right back on to your compost pile.
For worm casting tea, use one cup of worm castings to a gallon of water. Shake well, and let it steep for a few hours before using.
With either liquid, use at a rate of about one-quarter gallon per plant. Be sure to pour the liquid both over the foliage, and the around the root zones. See : How To Make 4 Great Organic Liquid Fertilizers
Boosting Struggling Tomato Plants
For a 15 day period, apply the liquid fertilizer every 3 days for a total of 5 applications.
Be sure to apply early in the morning, or later in the evening to prevent any scalding of the leaves from the sun hitting the liquid.
It is important once they begin to bounce back and grow to stop fertilizing.
If a plant continues to receive too many nutrients, it will continue to put all if it’s energy into growing foliage, and not blooms.
Here is to turning your struggling tomato plants around with a little TLC.
Oh, and yes – this will work on peppers and other struggling vegetable plants too!
Happy Gardening – Jim and Mary.
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