Natural Fertilizers For Tomatoes: 10 Home Remedies

Natural Fertilizers For Tomatoes: 10 Home Remedies

Gardening naturally and organically is in vogue. Especially those who grow vegetables in their own garden want to do without industrially produced chemical fertilizers. Kitchen and garden waste are valuable sources of nutrients that you can spread in the garden bed as a home remedy. They are not only easy on the wallet, but also on the environment: what you take from nature, you give back to it through natural fertilization, thus keeping the ecological cycle going. These 10 fertilizers are particularly suitable for tomatoes and other vegetable plants.

Nutrient requirements of tomato plants

Tomato plants are decidedly heavy feeders. By this, gardeners mean plants with particularly high nutrient requirements. In order to be able to harvest a kilogram of tomatoes, you need to supply the plants with an average of around three grams of nitrogen, 0.5 grams of phosphate, 3.8 grams of potassium and four grams of magnesium per square meter – and do so regularly. In addition to these so-called macronutrients, tomato plants also need nine other main and trace nutrients, without which the hoped-for harvest would be very meager.

For this, the tomato plant needs the four most important main nutrients:

  • Nitrogen: important for plant growth, indispensable protein and chlorophyll building block.
  • Phosphate: important for the plant’s metabolism, also helps defend against pathogens
  • Potassium: important for photosynthesis and healthy water balance
  • Magnesium: important for plant metabolism, essential component of chlorophyll

Signs of deficiency are quickly noticeable

Natural Fertilizers For Tomatoes: 10 Home Remedies

Symptoms of deficiency quickly become noticeable in tomatoes. They occur as a result of incorrect fertilization, but also when you fertilize with unsuitable means or too one-sided. Incidentally, not only an insufficient supply of nutrients leads to growth problems and crop failures, but also overfertilization can have serious consequences. Tomatoes and other garden plants depend on a balanced diet to grow healthily and produce abundant fruit. Overfeeding, in turn, weakens the plant, making it more susceptible to disease and pest infestation.

The most common problems due to incorrect fertilization:

  • Nitrogen deficiency: leaves turn yellow and die, puny growth.
  • Nitrogen excess: initially often strong shoot growth, but few flowers and fruits are formed
  • Phosphorus deficiency: dark to reddish discoloration of the leaves, poor growth
  • Phosphorus excess: practically never occurs
  • Potassium deficiency: plant dies of thirst despite sufficient watering, leaves and shoots wilt
  • Potassium excess: development of leaf margin necrosis (browning of leaf margins), but very rare
  • Magnesium deficiency: leaves turn yellow, stunted growth

Magnesium excess: poor growth

In general, yellowing, yellowish leaves often indicate a nutrient deficiency, especially if, typical for a so-called chlorosis, the leaf veins remain green. In such a case, you need to apply a fast-acting fertilizer, for which, of course, a home remedy mixed by yourself is also suitable. For the treatment of deficiency symptoms has proved particularly useful nettle liquid manure from fresh nettle leaves, mixed with primary rock flour. Dilute it in a ratio of 1:10 (1 part of liquid manure with a handful of rock flour and 10 parts of water) and water the tomato plant to be treated with it. If necessary, repeat the treatment several times at intervals of several days and weeks.

Fertilize correctly

  • Timing and quantity matter

Of course, when fertilizing tomato plants, it’s not just what you give the plants that matters. The right amount of fertilizer (keywords: under-fertilization and over-fertilization) as well as the optimal timing also play an important role in plant health. Contrary to some claims, overfertilization is possible even if the nutrition of tomato plants is purely organic and ecological.

When fertilizing your tomatoes, it is best to follow this roadmap in terms of the right amount and timing:

  • Never fertilize seeds and seedlings
  • Grow them in nutrient-poor growing soil
  • apply fertilizer for the first time only after planting in the bed
  • Prepare the bed for planting: Green manure in the fall, enrich with compost and horn shavings
  • fertilizing every two weeks
  • Quantities per tomato plant: 1 handful of compost or manure or one liter of plant liquid manure
  • Caution with horn shavings: half a tablespoon per plant every six to eight weeks
  • always water after fertilizing

The best fertilizers for tomatoes

The following ten fertilizers many garden owners have on hand anyway, some of them even come from the kitchen and are usually thrown away. These home remedies are therefore much cheaper than special tomato fertilizers from specialized stores. However, when using them, you not only save cash, but also do something good for the environment: by reusing waste, you reduce the mountains of garbage and ensure that valuable raw materials remain in the natural cycle. In addition, by using organic fertilizers you avoid a creeping poisoning of the soil by mineral, artificial means: Biologically and ecologically supplied and grown, finally also the self-harvested tomatoes taste best.

Just make sure not to use only one fertilizer. Instead, combine several components with each other or change them regularly. The principle works in much the same way as in human nutrition: variety and balance in the diet ensure an optimal supply of nutrients.


Every garden should have a compost heap where you can dispose of garden and kitchen waste. Within a few months, busy microorganisms such as worms and bacteria transform the waste into valuable, nutrient-rich soil that is perfect for nourishing garden plants. However, not everything belongs on the compost: Cooked kitchen waste as well as meat and fish leftovers should not go here, nor should the cuttings of diseased plant parts or even weeds. A varied mixture of lawn and shredded wood cuttings, leaves and other plant residues is ideal. Compost is worked into the soil at planting and every two weeks thereafter. Give tomatoes two liters per square meter, and from the beginning of flowering between three and five liters.

Horn shavings / horn meal

This is the rasped or ground hooves of slaughtered animals. The material is ideally suited for tomato fertilization, as it contains a great deal of nitrogen at a level of around ten percent. However, care must be taken with the dosage to avoid an oversupply of nitrogen: Each time at planting and then every six to eight weeks, provide the plants with half a tablespoon each; in addition, you should pass compost or manure.


A self-prepared plant liquid manure from nettles, comfrey or field horsetail does not necessarily flatter the nose, but makes a great liquid fertilizer. This can be used not only for garden, but also for potted plants (unlike compost, manure and horn shavings, for the decomposition of which living microorganisms are required in the soil) and provides the tomatoes with all the essential nutrients. The foul smell can be alleviated by adding primary rock flour, which also provides valuable minerals. And this is how you mix the proven home remedy:

  • collect about one kilogram of fresh nettles, comfrey or field horsetail
  • chop thoroughly
  • pour ten liters of hot water on it
  • leave in a dark and warm place for one week
  • cover the vat and stir the contents daily
  • add a handful of rock flour to the finished liquid manure
  • mix liquid manure and water in a ratio of 1:10
  • water tomato plants with one liter of liquid manure every two weeks


In principle, you can take any manure for your tomato plants, only it must not be fresh. The most suitable is well rotted horse or cattle manure, which was stored for a year before use. Under no circumstances should you take fresh pigeon or other poultry manure (such as from your home chicken coop), this is extremely high in nitrogen and will kill the plants within a very short time.

Guano / dry chicken manure

Chicken manure is better if you let it rot and mix it with compost. If, on the other hand, you or your neighbor do not have your own chickens, you can buy ready-made dry chicken manure in stores. This, by the way, is to be preferred to so-called guano from South America or South Africa for ecological reasons: For the extraction of guano, the breeding grounds of sea birds as well as penguins are plundered and the animals are considerably disturbed. At the same time, the expensive fertilizer imported from faraway countries is not even the best source of nutrients for your tomato plants.

Dried coffee grounds

If you drink a lot of coffee, you do not need to throw away the coffee grounds! This still contains numerous valuable vitamins, minerals and trace elements and is therefore wonderfully suitable for fertilizing garden, pot and house plants alike. However, you must never put the still moist coffee grounds into the soil, as they quickly become moldy. Dry it first, preferably well spread out on a baking sheet spread with baking paper at about 50 degrees Celsius in the oven. Work the dried coffee grounds into the soil or mix it with the watering water.

But be careful: coffee is only suitable for occasional fertilization, as permanent use lowers the pH of the soil. Mix the home remedy with some primary rock flour, then the acidifying effect will be cancelled.

Dried banana peels

Dried and crushed banana peels are also very suitable for supplementary supply of potassium to tomato plants. However, they are not suitable as a sole fertilizer.

Crushed eggshells

Natural Fertilizers For Tomatoes: 10 Home Remedies

Collect the shells of boiled or raw eggs in a sealable can, crush them and fill with water. Leave it for a few days and then water the tomato plants with the broth. Eggshells provide a balanced supply of calcium and minerals, but are not suitable as a sole fertilizer.

Onion skin

You don’t have to throw away onion skins either, you can make a decoction from them or use them to mulch the tomato plants. In combination with lawn clippings, leaves and straw – all well chopped up, of course – this makes a high-quality fertilizer that provides the plants with the most important nutrients. Fertilize additionally with horn shavings and primary rock meal to ensure an adequate supply of nitrogen and minerals.

Fish waste

Ecological-biological is also this last tip: When planting tomatoes, bury some fish waste, such as heads and bones or other scraps, in the planting hole with them. The fish contains valuable trace elements, minerals and other nutrients and makes an excellent starter fertilizer. If you have an aquarium, you can also fertilize your tomato plants with aquarium water (which would otherwise be thrown away during cleaning). This is extremely rich in nutrients and should therefore only be used with caution! It is quite sufficient if you apply about one liter of it every two weeks. An existing nutrient deficiency is also a good time to water the starving plant with fish stock or aquarium water

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