Can You Plant Tomatoes In Just Compost?

Tomato plants have a high nutrient requirement. So it is obvious to plant the plants directly into the compost. Here you need to consider the stage of development, because the nutrient requirements change over time.


Requirements of seedlings

Although tomatoes are one of the starchy crops, they have different nutrient requirements at different stages of development. The roots of seedlings require a nutrient-poor substrate. Mature compost soil can cause the roots to burn because of the excess supply of nutrient salts. In a nutrient-poor soil, roots are spurred to grow because they must go in search of nutrients. In the nutrient-rich substrate, the nutrients inhibit root growth.

Tomato seeds need:

  • Seed or growing soil
  • a mixture of garden soil, sand and compost in equal parts
  • uniform soil with natural clay or perlite

Young plants need nutrients

In the growth phase, young plants need more nutrients, which they put into the formation of leaves and flowers. These plants can be planted directly on the compost if it is well matured and has no coarse components such as pieces of bark or other plant debris. Stale compost that has been stored for at least a year is ideal. It provides ideal water drainage and a crumbly structure that provides optimal aeration. The roots can develop unhindered in this substrate.

Nutrient requirements of fully grown tomato plants

The heavy growers require sufficient nutrients on an ongoing basis so that they can form juicy fruits. Nitrogen supports plant growth. Plants require phosphorus for flower and fruit development. This chemical compound helps form a strong root system and supports vitality. Plants become more resistant to diseases. Potassium also protects against diseases and makes plants more resistant to cold. Important for healthy growth are various trace elements such as zinc, iron, copper, manganese and boron. Compost contains all the necessary nutrients, so additional fertilizing is not necessary.

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Yellowing leaves

When the lower leaves turn yellow, it does not necessarily indicate a nutrient deficiency. The plant withdraws nutrients from the lower leaves in order to invest them in the strongly growing upper leaves. Fast-acting fertilization in this case does not improve the situation. It leads to the fact that the plant shoots up undesirably and forms thin stems.


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    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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